Boy name origins & meanings
- German : Bold as a bear
Boy name variations
Family name origins & meanings
- English, French, Dutch, Polish, Czech, and Slovenian : from a Germanic personal name (see Bernhard). The popularity of the personal name was greatly increased by virtue of its having been borne by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (c.1090–1153), founder and abbot of the Cistercian monastery at Clairvaux.
- Americanized form of German Bernhard or any of the other cognates in European languages; for forms see Hanks and Hodges 1988.
- The first bearer of the name in Canada was from the Lorraine region of France. He is documented in Quebec city in 1666 as Jean Bernard. He and some of his descendants bore the secondary surnames Anse and Hanse, because his original forename must have been Hans (the German equivalent of French Jean, English John). Another bearer, from La Rochelle, is documented in Quebec city in 1676; and a third, from the Poitou region of France, was also documented in Quebec city, in 1713, with the secondary surname Léveillé. Other documented secondary names are Jolicoeur, Larivière, and Lajoie.