Thanks to Kelly for suggesting a name that has changed into all sorts of fascinating ways. Our Baby Name of the Day is Emmerich.
Emmerich: Germanic Roots
It’s no surprise that Emmerich is Germanic. The ric ending means power, just like in so many familiar names, whether it’s at the front (Richard) or the end (Roderick).
The first element has a few possible origins:
- Ermen, as in clunky antiques like Ermintrude, great-grandmama to Emma. It means universal, or whole, and suggests that the original form of the name was probably Ermenrich. universal – cousin for Emma, Ermenrich
- Amal, the forerunner of favorites like Amelia. It means work or labor. Emmerich might have started out as Amalric, and lost the ‘l’ sound over the years.
- Heim – Drop the H sound from Heimrich, and you could get to Emmerich, too. Though we’re used to seeing Heimrich and friends as Henry, with the first element meaning home.
Chances are that lots of names combined to become Emmerich, which is also recorded as Americ, Emeric, Emmerick, and so on.
Now this is where it gets really interesting. Because if all of those various sources could lead us to Emmerich, they quickly ran off it all sorts of other directions.
- Amory, Emery, and Emory, all heard in English, along with various other spellings.
- Amaury, a French variant.
- Imre and Imrich, Hungarian and Slovak forms.
- Americo and Amerigo, Spanish and Italian forms.
They’ve influenced place names. You can find Emmerich on the map in Germany. And, of course, Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci gave two entire continents their names – North and South America, from Americus, the Latin form of his given name.
The picture is of a tall ship named in honor of Vespucci. It’s officially part of the Italian navy.
Emmerich: All About That Em
So Emmerich is everywhere, and yet the given name is … well, almost nowhere.
After years of next to zero use, there’s been the tiniest uptick in recent years. 13 boys were named Emmerich in 2013. The Emeric spelling is slightly more popular, with 23 boys born in 2013. And Emerick is the most popular of all, given to 33 boys in 2013.
What explains the rise?
Simple. We’re all about that Em.
Girls came first. We fell for Emma and Emily and Amelia – many of which belong on Emmerich’s family tree.
More recently, Em- names for boys have been on the rise:
- Emmett stands at #173, boosted by The LEGO Movie, as well as Emmitt, currently at #622.
- The romantic Emiliano is #291.
- Surname and literary name Emerson comes in at #329.
- Emory ranked #829.
Others in the boys’ US Top 1000 include the Biblical Emmanuel, ‘o’ ending Emilio, and alt spelling Emery.
Emmerich is also heard as a surname. Overall, this name has tons of potential. Unlike Emery and Emerson, it doesn’t seem likely to be borrowed by the girls. The -ric ending is familiar and the Em- sound is popular, but this particular combination is seldom heard. Even if you combine all three of the most popular spellings, this is a rare name indeed.
Speaking of spellings, Emeric and Emerick have their appeal. I’m partial to the streamlined Emeric. But all three possibilities are worth consideration.
What do you think of Emmerich? Is this name likely to catch on?