On the heels of Deirdre, we have another Irish mythological choice – one we expect to gain modestly in the coming years.

Thanks to Photoquilty for suggesting Bridget as our Name of the Day.

First, we must confess that Photoquilty suggested Brighid. But every way we sliced it, this post ended up being mostly about her Anglicized sister. So here it is – all about Bridget, Brighid, Brigid, Brigit, Bridie, Biddie and so on.

Should you find yourself in Ireland, your Brighid will be the one-syllable BREED or BREEGE. In the US, it’s always a two-syllable name. Just like Kaitlyn eclipsed Caitlin, choose one of the more authentic versions and unfortunately, some will think you’ve opted for a kreeatif reinvention instead.

In the Celtic pantheon, Bridget was big noise – a popular goddess associated with fire, cows, poetry, healing and sacred wells. She’s also credited with great intelligence, so you’ll occasionally find her listed as the counterpart of Athena and Minerva.

The name has three possible sources:

  • First, from the words breo and saighit, fiery arrow. Given her dominion over flame, it’s not implausible;
  • Second, the noun brígh means strength. It’s a logical and simple source;
  • Lastly, while it lacks etymological roots, “exalted one” does match with the goddess’ reputation – and appears to be the favored meaning in most baby name guides.

Apparently, Bridget the goddess merged with the fifth century Saint Brigid of Kildare. Some call her the Irish Mary. Her popularity bridges old traditions and the new faith. While Bridget was considered too sacred to bestow on a daughter for centuries, by the early Renaissance, she was fairly common.

There was a second Saint Bridget – though she was born Birgitta of Sweden. While it seems likely that the fourteenth century saint’s name has different roots, they’re unclear, and the two monikers are effectively merged. Between the Irish and the Swedish figures, it’s little wonder that Bridget translates to virtually every European language and beyond.

In the US, she remains colored emerald green. In nineteenth century American slang, Bridget’s diminutive Biddy meant servant. A similar history hasn’t held back Abigail, but we think you’d best look elsewhere for a nickname.

Bridget is big in pop culture. There’s the flawed-but-lovable Bridget Jones; actresses Bridget Fonda and Bridget Moynahan; and a generation of girls is growing up with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ Bridget “Bee” Vreeland.

We think Bridget’s appeals stems not just from her story, but because she’s one of the -et girls. Call it an antidote to years of ends-in-a choices for our daughters.

Colorful Scarlett ranks #219 (variant Scarlet is #723) and starbaby Violet is right behind at #231. We’re also seeing the rise of Juliet (#516, with Juliette at #595).

At #357, Bridget has fallen from her peak of #112 in 1973. But she hasn’t fallen too far, and we hear her considered more and more often. After all, the -ets are an exclusive club. True there’s Ayelet, Nicolette and Harriet. But after those three, we’re stuck with noun names like Poet and Velvet or that Malibu surfer girl, Gidget. So if Scarlett and Violet continue their trek up the charts, we suspect Bridget will fare well, bolstered by her history of use.

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 love the name Bridget and its a name off my family tree. Although its not popular its familiar…but is it too run of the mill for me? Not sure
    In a post ‘all about’ the name family I would have like more words on the nicknames. I went to eatly primary school with a Bridie (not sure if it was short for Bridget or not) and always wondered if it is a nickname for Bridget, how they came to have the different sound

  2. My name is Brigitte, and I rarely meet people who’s name is also Brigitte, none the less spelled the way I spell it. When I was about 6, I really hated my name and I’d always introduce myself as Lucy (my middle name). But as I got older I really learned to love it. Once I started high school, my friends started to give me really weird nicknames. I had always been called Bridge, Briggy, brigbrig, etc, but then my friends started to go out of control and call me weird names like Brarge, (rhymes with Marge), Brargy, Brishata, bribbit, brub, brib and started to pronounce my name with spanish, german and french accents. Now, my spelling; Brigitte, is the french way, which suits me, considering I am french. But I honestly love their nicknames for me. I could do without the weird accents, but still. I think that I would like to start to get called Bri (bree). when I was little my favourite babysitters name was Bree and it never occurred to me that I could use that as a nickname.

  3. hi im brigid and i love my name it was my great grandmothers. She lived in ireland and my name took after her. i dont mind the name and i think its great. I also think that the name brigid actually does make you strong and brave because i believe i am and other brighid’s i know are as well. Anyways i think brighid is a great name and i dont agree with Emmy Jo because i think brigid is all out a beautiful!

  4. My little sisters name is Bridget. I have only met one other. Her nn have been Bridie, Bridge and Birgitta. She loves her name but the only down side is the teasing potential as it rhymes with Bird ‘poop’ lol.