Lotharkreuz Domschatzkammer Aachen Augustus Ka...
The Cross of Lothair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ends with r names have been big for boys in recent years, as have decidedly masculine choices.  If Gunnar is back, how about this long forgotten choice?

Thanks to Charlotte for suggesting Lothair as our Baby Name of the Day.

Lothair is Germanic, and was even clunkier in his original form – Chlodochar or Chlothar.   The second syllable means army, and was once a favorite, surviving in names like Gunther, Volker, and Harold.  The first part is even more familiar to English speakers.  It means fame, and the element is found in Roger, Rowena, Robert, and my favorite, Roswitha.

Four kings of the Franks wore the name from the fifth into the eighth centuries.

Chlothar shed his ch by the early ninth century, Lothair I is Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy.  He’s also Charlemagne’s grandson, and was originally given control of a swath of land called Lotharingia.  The region’s name softened over the centuries to Lorraine.

The name was passed down, and at least four more kings answered to Lothair between the ninth and eleventh centuries.  The Cross of Lothair is a be-jeweled cross used in religious processions for centuries.  It was probably made around the year 1000.  None of the ruling Lothairs commissioned the cross, but a seal of Lothair II is incorporated into the base – hence, the name.

As the Middle Ages wane, so does the name, though:

  • You’ll find Lothar in use in nineteenth and twentieth century Germany.
  • Benjamin Disraeli penned an 1870 novel about religious themes called Lothair.  His Lothair is a nobleman searching for answers about faith.  The Anglican Church – and Lady Corisande –  eventually capture Lothair’s allegiance.  The novel has faded, though it was very popular in its time.

In German and French, the name is pronounced with a t sound, rather than a th – lo TAHR.  In Italian, he’s Lotario.  In French, he’s Lothaire.  In English, you’d get lo THAR or maybe lo THAIR.

In the early 1600s, Miguel de Cervantes uses a form of the name for a character in Don QuixoteLothario.  It’s a story-within-the-story, related to travelers at an inn. Lothario seduced his best friend’s wife.  A century later, a play called The Fair Penitent by Nicholas Rowe also casts Lothario in a similar role.  It’s since become a general term to describe a philanderer and a libertine.  It is harsher than Casanova and carries none of the romance of Romeo, either.
Did Lothario cool parents’ willingness to use the name?  Maybe.
Lothar’s only notable use in recent decades was for a Saturday Night Live sketch called Lothar of the Hill People, about a boastful barbarian chieftain.  The sketch’s name is generally assumed to be borrowed from Lothar and the Hand People, an experimental 1960s psychedelic rock band, among the first to use synthesizers.
None of this makes Lothair feel like an appealing choice to resurrect for a son circa 2012.  But let’s not be too hasty.  Ends with r names are a huge category for boys, from Xavier to Parker to Connor.  Hyper-masculine choices like Gunner, Maximus, and Killian are very much in vogue.  Lothair shares qualities of both – a stylish sound with undeniably deep roots.  If you’re after a rarity with a lot of backstory, Lothair might make for a surprising choice with a lot of masculine appeal.
Enhanced by Zemanta

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. Prenoms website listed 2 mothers who named their son’s Lothair. So it is seeing use in France.

  2. Thanks for covering this one, Abby! I like Lothair, but I do find it a bit tricky when I comes to pronunciation. It also isn’t very nickname friendly. Still, it’s a great name in many ways. I’ll keep it on my list.

  3. There is a French-Canadian actor named Lothaire Bluteau who became somewhat well-known in the 1990s. Apparently he has had more recent roles in the series ’24’ and ‘The Tudors’. I think because of him you’ll come across the occasional young Lothaire in Quebec, though they remain pretty rare.

    Hill People aside, I think I like Lothar better than Lothair, but I like Corisande even more! 🙂

  4. There is a series of paranormal romance novels by Kresley Cole, the Immortals After Dark series. One of the main characters is an ancient vampire named, Lothaire.

    He recently got his own full length novel titled, “Lothaire”.

    That was my only familiarity with the name and I’ve always liked it. Thanks!