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Meaning and Origin of: Hillary

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First name origins & meanings:

  • Greek : Cheer

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English : from a medieval male personal name (from Latin Hilarius, a derivative of hilaris ‘cheerful’, ‘glad’, from Greek hilaros ‘propitious’, ‘joyful’). The Latin name was chosen by many early Christians to express their joy and hope of salvation, and was borne by several saints, including a 4th-century bishop of Poitiers noted for his vigorous resistance to the Arian heresy, and a 5th-century bishop of Arles. Largely due to veneration of the first of these, the name became popular in France in the forms Hilari and Hilaire, and was brought to England by the Norman conquerors.
  • English : from the much rarer female personal name Eulalie (from Latin Eulalia, from Greek eulalos ‘eloquent’, literally well-speaking, chosen by early Christians as a reference to the gift of tongues), likewise introduced into England by the Normans. A St. Eulalia was crucified at Barcelona in the reign of the Emperor Diocletian and became the patron of that city. In England the name underwent dissimilation of the sequence -l-l- to -l-r- and the unfamiliar initial vowel was also mutilated, so that eventually the name was considered as no more than a feminine form of Hilary (of which the initial aspirate was in any case variable).

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