Updated June 9, 2019

Find Baby Names

Family name origins & meanings

  • English (chiefly Nottinghamshire) : nickname from the personal name Herod (Greek Hērōdēs, apparently derived from hērōs ‘hero’), borne by the king of Judea (died ad 4) who at the time of the birth of Christ ordered that all male children in Bethlehem should be slaughtered (Matthew 2: 16–18). In medieval mystery plays Herod was portrayed as a blustering tyrant, and the name was therefore given to someone one who had played the part, or who had an overbearing temper.
  • English : variant of Harold (1 or 2).
  • Greek : shortened form of Herodiadis, a patronymic from the classical personal name Hērodiōn. This was the name of a relative of St. Paul and an early Bishop of Patras, venerated in the Orthodox Church. Hērodēs ‘Herod’ is also found in Greek as a nickname for a violent man, but this is less likely to be the source of the surname.