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Updated May 8, 2024

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Boy name origins & meanings


What does Henry mean and stand for?


  • Germanic: Ruler of the household
  • French: Home ruler


Gender: Male

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Henry is pronounced hen-ree

The name Henry is of Germanic origin, meaning "ruler of the household". It's a name that has been borne by kings, princes, and other nobles throughout history, denoting power and leadership. The French variant of the name, Henri, shares a similar meaning, emphasizing the name's association with rulership and governance. This name has been a classic throughout centuries, maintaining its charm and appeal across generations.

How Popular Is The Name Henry

Family name origins & meanings


English and French: from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements haim, heim "home" + rīc "power", "ruler", introduced to England by the Normans in the form Henri. During the Middle Ages this name became enormously popular in England and was borne by eight kings. Continental forms of the personal name were equally popular throughout Europe (German Heinrich, French Henri, Italian Enrico and Arrigo, Czech Jindřich, etc.). As an American family name, the English form Henry has absorbed patronymics and many other derivatives of this ancient name in continental European languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988.) In the period in which the majority of English surnames were formed, a common English vernacular form of the name was Harry, hence the surnames Harris (southern) and Harrison (northern). Official documents of the period normally used the Latinized form Henricus. In medieval times, English Henry absorbed an originally distinct Old English personal name that had hagan "hawthorn." Compare Hain as its first element, though there has also been confusion with Amery.

Irish: the Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hInnéirghe, meaning "descendant of Innéirghe", which is also a byname based on the word éirghe, meaning "arising." Additionally, Henry is a form of the Gaelic Mac Éinrí or Mac Einri, patronymics from the personal names Éinrí, Einri, the Irish forms of Henry. It is also found as a variant of McEnery.

Jewish (American): Americanized form of various like-sounding Ashkenazic Jewish names.

Canadian: A bearer of the name from the Touraine region of France is documented in Quebec city in 1667. Another bearer (also called Laforge), from the Champagne region, is documented in Montreal in 1710. Other secondary surnames include Berranger, Labori, Livernois, and Madou.


Famous people with this first name

Henry in Pop Culture

Do you know these fictional characters that share this first name?

  • Henry Jones Jr. from Indiana Jones - Renowned archaeologist and adventurer.
  • Henry Mills from Once Upon A Time - The young boy who believes in fairy tales and is proven right.
  • Henry DeTamble from The Time Traveler's Wife - A librarian with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictly.
  • Henry Jekyll from Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - A kind scientist who transforms into his evil alter ego.
  • Henry Hart from Henry Danger - A teenage superhero who fights crime under a secret identity.

Popularity of the Name Henry

According to Social Security Administration data, the name Henry has seen a resurgence in popularity, maintaining a strong presence in the top 20 names for boys in recent years. This classic name has stood the test of time, appealing to parents looking for a name with historical depth and modern charm.

Henry's popularity can be traced back to many notable historical figures, including several kings of England, making it a name associated with strength and royalty. Henry Ford, the American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, is another significant bearer of the name, known for revolutionizing transportation and American industry.

In the realm of arts and literature, Henry has been a prominent name as well. Henry James, an American-British author, is renowned for his contributions to 19th-century literary realism. Famous Henrys include actor Henry Cavill, director Henry Selick, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau. Fictional characters with the name have made appearances in literature and film, such as in The Secret History, Henry V, and Firewatch.

Where Is the Name Henry Popular?

This name is most popular across certain states in the U.S., including those highlighted on the map below.

Nicknames for Henry

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Hank
  • Harry
  • Hen
  • Henny

Henry Pairs Well With These Middle Names

Looking for a middle name that fits perfectly? Consider these!

People Who Like the Name Henry Also Like

Check out these names that are similar, but still unique to your baby.

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