EmmerichSome names solidify into one dominant form. Others splinter.

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.

Emmerich: Cousins

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.

English: Italian tall ship Amerigo Vespucci at...This name’s likely cousins include:

  • 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?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I’m late to this party, but my favorite Em name for boys is the Welsh Emrys.

    I also do really like Emery/Emory. But Emrys is on my short, short, short list.

  2. Is the pronunciation EM-erick or more like e_mer_ick? It’s not a name I have heard before but I think I like it.

    1. In Germanic, the emphasis would be put on the first syllable: EM-e-rich.
      However, interestingly, the Italian version of the name is pronounced am-er-EE-go.

  3. I love this name with the Emeric spelling! One of my favorites. I also love Emmett, Emery / Emory (I never can pick which spelling), and Emil.

  4. I can’t believe Emmerich is featured today! I was just discussing it yesterday, and I’m surprised it’s not more popular. I guess people just don’t know about it? It’s a fascinating name with great history and a great sound.

    I’m a fan. And it’s a family name on my husband’s side. I’m just afraid that with our German last name, it sounds too old-school German. I also like Emery and Emory, which are also on my family tree.

    1. Sort of funny. I heavily associate Emeric with the filmmaker Emeric Pressburger, one half of The Archers with Michael Powell. I’m a fan of their movies, so it’s definitely a positive association for the name for me.