Fertility

Origins & Meanings: The Top 100 Popular German Baby Names

Updated on 18 August 2021 • 9 minute read
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Overview

Did you know that German citizens can’t just name their babies anything they like? 

In Germany, they have to get baby names approved by the local Standesamt (civil registry office). (1)

It should follow certain rules, such as the following:

  • It should be a recognized given name, not a family name (surname).
  • It shouldn’t be a name of a brand, place, or object.
  • It shouldn’t be associated with evil (such as Judas or Satan) or religious feelings (such as Jesus or Allah).
  • It should be a gender-specific name.
  • It shouldn’t be cross-gender, except for Maria, which can be used for baby boys.
  • Gender-neutral first names should come with a gender-specific second name.

 

But suppose you’re a foreigner who simply wants to pick a German name for your baby. In that case, you can still do so because Germany doesn’t put restrictions on non-Germans who want to use German baby names.

If you need traditional German baby names to follow these rules, you can find our top 100 popular baby names below. 

 

Popular German Baby Names for Boys

In Germany, people usually have multiple names. This practice is often done to honor the baby’s parents, grandparents, or someone special in the family’s lives.

The gender-specific second names are also useful if you want to name your baby with a gender-neutral first name.

Like in many languages, the “o” at the end of the name usually indicates a masculine name, while an “a” is usually used for feminine names. It’s not always the case, but it’s a handy guide if you’re unsure about a name’s gender assignment.

The following are our top choices for the most popular German baby names for boys:

 

Adelino

  • Origin: Old German and Portuguese 
  • Meaning: Noble and kind
  • Variations/Synonyms: Adellino
  • Description: It’s often picked for a boy of noble descent. 

 

Adelmo

  • Origin: Old German and Italian
  • Meaning: Noble protector
  • Variations/Synonyms: Adelmar and Adelhard 
  • Description: It’s a strong name for your baby boy.

 

Ademaro 

  • Origin: Old German
  • Meaning: Glorious in battle
  • Variations/Synonyms: Ademaru
  • Description: It can be a brave name for your baby.

 

Adler

  • Origin: German and American
  • Meaning: Eagle
  • Variations/Synonyms: Addler
  • Description: It’s a strong and modern German name with an American twist (a reference to an animal usually not allowed in German naming rules).

 

Adolf

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Noble wolf
  • Variations/Synonyms: Adolph, Adolphe, and Adolphus
  • Description: It comes from the Old High German names “Athalwolf” or “Hadulf.”

 

Albrecht

  • Origin: Old High German
  • Meaning: Noble, bright, and famous
  • Variations/Synonyms: Albert and Adalbrecht
  • Description: It comes from the combination of “adal” (noble) and “berht” (bright or famous).

 

Andel

  • Origin: German, Czech, and Greek
  • Meaning: God’s messenger
  • Variations/Synonyms: Angel
  • Description: It comes from the Greek word “angelos” (angel).

 

Ansel

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: With divine protection
  • Variations/Synonyms: Ansell
  • Description: It can also mean “follower of a nobleman.”

 

Arnold

  • Origin: English and German
  • Meaning: Strength of the eagle
  • Variations/Synonyms: Arnie, Arne, Ari, and Arnwald
  • Description: It can also mean “power and brightness.”

 

Axel

  • Origin: German, Hebrew, and Old Norse
  • Meaning: Father is peace
  • Variations/Synonyms: Axl, Axle, and Axxel
  • Description: It’s from the Old Norse name “Ásketill.”

 

Bernard

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Strong and brave as a bear
  • Variations/Synonyms: Bhernard, Bernhard, and Barnard
  • Description: It’s a strong name.

 

Bruno

  • Origin: Old High German
  • Meaning: Brown
  • Variations/Synonyms: Brun and Brüno
  • Description: It’s the one used by American pop singer Bruno Mars.

 

Carlin

  • Origin: German and Irish
  • Meaning: A man
  • Variations/Synonyms: Carl and Carllin
  • Description: It can also mean “little champion.”

 

Danner

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Dancer by the fig tree
  • Variations/Synonyms: Daner and Denner
  • Description: It can also mean “dweller of the fig tree.”

 

Dietrich

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Ruler of the people
  • Variations/Synonyms: Tederich and Dieter
  • Description: It can also mean “keeper of the keys.”

 

Dirk

  • Origin: German, Dutch, and English
  • Meaning: Famous ruler
  • Variations/Synonyms: Dierk, Dirks, Dierk, and Dierks
  • Description: It can also mean “gifted ruler.”

 

Ernst

  • Origin: German, Dutch, and Scandinavian
  • Meaning: Serious business or battle
  • Variations/Synonyms: Ernest
  • Description: It comes from the Ancient Germanic word “ernustuz.”

 

Friedrich

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Peaceful ruler
  • Variations/Synonyms: Fritz, Fred, Frederick, Rick, and Rich
  • Description: It comes from Germanic elements “frid” (peace) and “ric” (power).

 

Godfrey

  • Origin: German and Old French 
  • Meaning: God’s peace
  • Variations/Synonyms: Godefroy
  • Description: It comes from the Old French name “Godefroy.”

 

Günther

  • Origin: German, Old Norse
  • Meaning: Warrior
  • Variations/Synonyms: Gunther, Gunter, Günter, Gunner, and Gunnar
  • Description: It comes from “gund” (battle) and “hari” (army).

 

Hans

  • Origin: Scandinavian, German, Hebrew, and Danish 
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Variations/Synonyms: Hansel, Hannes, and Jan
  • Description: It’s a Christian name.

 

Heinrich

  • Origin: Old German
  • Meaning: Home ruler
  • Variations/Synonyms: Heino, Heinz, and Henry
  • Description: It’s the German version of “Henry.”

 

Johann

  • Origin: German, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Variations/Synonyms: Johan, Johannes, Yohan, Yohann, and Yoan
  • Description: It can also mean “God pardoned.”

 

Jürgen 

  • Origin: Dutch, German, and English
  • Meaning: Farmer
  • Variations/Synonyms: Jurgen and Jurg
  • Description: It’s the German form of “George.”

 

Karl

  • Origin: German, Swedish, and English
  • Meaning: A free man or warrior
  • Variations/Synonyms: Carl, Karel, Carlo, Charles, Charlie, and Carlos
  • Description: It’s the Germanic version of Charles.

 

Kaspar

  • Origin: Hebrew, German, and Persian
  • Meaning: Treasure bearer
  • Variations/Synonyms: Casper, Caspar, Kasper, Gaspar, and Jesper
  • Description: It’s the traditional name of Gaspar, one of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

 

Kiefer

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Pine tree
  • Variations/Synonyms: Keefer and Keefir
  • Description: It can also mean “barrel-maker.”

 

Klaus

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Victory of the people
  • Variations/Synonyms: Nicholas and Nikolaus
  • Description: It can be a nickname for Nikolaus.

 

Konrad

  • Origin: German, Scandinavian, and Polish
  • Meaning: Brave or wise counsel
  • Variations/Synonyms: Conrad, Kondrat, and Konrád
  • Description: It’s from “kuoni” (experienced) and “rad” (counsel).

 

Kurt

  • Origin: German and English
  • Meaning: Counselor
  • Variations/Synonyms: Curt, Curtis, Kurtis, and Kurtiss
  • Description: It can also mean “wolf.”

 

Leon

  • Origin: German, Greek, Irish, and Spanish
  • Meaning: Lion
  • Variations/Synonyms: Lyon
  • Description: It can also mean “legion.”

 

Leopold 

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Brave people
  • Variations/Synonyms: Leo, Leopald, and Léopold
  • Description: It’s from the Germanic name “Luitbald.”

 

Lothar

  • Origin: German and Scandinavian
  • Meaning: Famous warrior
  • Variations/Synonyms: Lotar, Luther, and Lothaire
  • Description: It’s from “hlud” (famous) and “hari” (army).

 

Ludwig 

  • Origin: Old High German
  • Meaning: Famous fighter
  • Variations/Synonyms: Chlodwig and Hludwig
  • Description: Ludwig van Beethoven was a world-famous German composer.

 

Lukas

  • Origin: Greek, Latin, and German
  • Meaning: Bright one
  • Variations/Synonyms: Luke and Lucas
  • Description: It’s from the Latin name “Lucanus.”

 

Manfred

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Man of peace
  • Variations/Synonyms: Mannfred, Manfried, Mannfried, and Manny
  • Description: It comes from “man” (man) and “fridu” (peace).

 

Matthias

  • Origin: Greek and German
  • Meaning: Gift of God
  • Variations/Synonyms: Mathias, Matthew, Mathew, and Matt
  • Description: It’s the German form of “Matthew.”

 

Otto 

  • Origin: Old High German
  • Meaning: Wealth 
  • Variations/Synonyms: Oto, Odo, Ottis, and Otis
  • Description: It can also mean “prosperity.”

 

Reiner 

  • Origin: German and Scandinavian
  • Meaning: Counsel and army
  • Variations/Synonyms: Rainer, Reyner, and Ragnar
  • Description: It can also mean “edge or embankment.”

 

Sigmund

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Protection through victory
  • Variations/Synonyms: Siegmund, Siggi, and Ziggy
  • Description: Sigmund Freud was a famous Austrian psychologist.

 

Stefan

  • Origin: Greek and German
  • Meaning: Crown
  • Variations/Synonyms: Stephen, Stefen, and Stefano (Italian)
  • Description: It’s from the Greek word “stéphanos” (crown).

 

Theobald

  • Origin: German and Old French
  • Meaning: Courageous people
  • Variations/Synonyms: Tebald and Tibalt
  • Description: It’s from the Old French name “Teobaud.”

 

Udo

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Power of the wolf
  • Variations/Synonyms: Udi, Ido, and Ado
  • Description: It can also mean “peace.”

 

Ulrich

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Mighty ruler
  • Variations/Synonyms: Ulrick, Aldrich, and Ulreich
  • Description: It can also mean “heritage.”

 

Uwe

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Universal ruler
  • Variations/Synonyms: Oowe
  • Description: It can also mean “inheritance.”

 

Völker

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: People’s warrior
  • Variations/Synonyms: Volker and Folker
  • Description: It’s from “folk” (people) and “her” (army).

 

Walden

  • Origin: German and Old English
  • Meaning: Powerful
  • Variations/Synonyms: Waldon and Valden
  • Description: It can also mean “wooded valley.”

 

Walter

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Commander of the army
  • Variations/Synonyms: Walt
  • Description:  It’s from “wald” (rule) and “heri” (army).

 

Werner

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Defender
  • Variations/Synonyms: Warner, Wernher, and Verner
  • Description: It’s from “war” (guard) and “heri” (army).

 

Wolfgang

  • Origin: Old High German
  • Meaning: Path of the wolf
  • Variations/Synonyms: Wolf, Wolfi, Wulf, and Wulfgang
  • Description: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a famous Austrian composer.

 

Popular German Baby Names for Girls

The following are popular German baby names that you can pick for your little girl:

 

Adelheid

  • Origin: Dutch and Old German
  • Meaning: Noble
  • Variations/Synonyms: Adelaide, Heide, Heidi, and Adelina
  • Description: It’s the German form of Adelaide.

 

Agata

  • Origin: German, Czech, Greek, and Polish
  • Meaning: Good-hearted
  • Variations/Synonyms: Agatha
  • Description: It’s from the Greek word “agathos” (good).

 

Albrun

  • Origin: Old High German
  • Meaning: Supernatural being
  • Variations/Synonyms: Albruna
  • Description: It can also mean “secret magic.”

 

Aloisa

  • Origin: German and Irish
  • Meaning: Renowned warrior
  • Variations/Synonyms: Louisa and Eloise
  • Description: It can also mean “miracle.”

 

Amalfrieda

  • Origin: Old High German
  • Meaning: Mighty friendship
  • Variations/Synonyms: Amalfreda
  • Description: It can also mean “peace.”

 

Andrea

  • Origin: German and Greek
  • Meaning: Brave
  • Variations/Synonyms: Andrei and Andreas
  • Description: It’s the German feminine form of “Andrew.”

 

Angelika

  • Origin: German, Greek, and Latin
  • Meaning: Angelic
  • Variations/Synonyms: Angelica
  • Description: It’s from the Greek word “ángelos” (messenger).

 

Anja 

  • Origin: German and Russian
  • Meaning: Grace
  • Variations/Synonyms: Ann, Anna, Anne, and Anya
  • Description: It’s the German form of “Anna.”

 

Anneliese 

  • Origin: German, Dutch, and Nordic
  • Meaning: Favor
  • Variations/Synonyms: Annaliese, Annelies, and Annalies
  • Description: It can also mean “graced with God’s bounty.”

 

Annika

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Gracious or mercy
  • Variations/Synonyms: Annike, Anika, Anike, and Anneke
  • Description: It can also mean “little Grace.”

 

Barbara

  • Origin: German, Greek, and Latin
  • Meaning: Foreign woman
  • Variations/Synonyms: Bärbel and Barbra
  • Description: It can also mean “the exotic woman.”

 

Beatrix

  • Origin: German and Latin
  • Meaning: Happy
  • Variations/Synonyms: Beatrice
  • Description: This popular German name comes from the Latin word “beatus” (happy).

 

Belinda

  • Origin: Old High German
  • Meaning: Pretty one
  • Variations/Synonyms: Berlinda
  • Description: It comes from the Old High German name “Betlinde.”

 

Bertina

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Bright and intelligent
  • Variations/Synonyms: Bertine and Bertie
  • Description: It can also mean “famous.”

 

Clarissa

  • Origin: German and Latin
  • Meaning: Bright and clear
  • Variations/Synonyms: Clarisse and Claire
  • Description: It comes from the Latin word “clārus” (clear).

 

Dorothea

  • Origin: Greek and German
  • Meaning: Gift of God
  • Variations/Synonyms: Dorothee and Dorothy
  • Description: It’s the German form of “Dorothy.”

 

Elisabeth

  • Origin: German and Hebrew
  • Meaning: God’s promise
  • Variations/Synonyms: Lisbeth and Elizabeth 
  • Description: It’s from the Hebrew name “Elisheva.”

 

Elke

  • Origin: Low German and East Frisian (an old Germanic dialect)
  • Meaning: Noble
  • Variations/Synonyms: Elka, Alke, and Elkie
  • Description: It can also mean “kind.”

 

Emma

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Whole
  • Variations/Synonyms: Emme
  • Description: It comes from the Germanic word “ermen” (universal).

 

Felicie

  • Origin: German and French
  • Meaning: Happy
  • Variations/Synonyms: Felicity
  • Description: It can also mean “good fortune.”

 

Florentia

  • Origin: German, Latin, and Roman
  • Meaning: Flourishing or prosperous
  • Variations/Synonyms: Florence
  • Description: It’s from the Roman name “Florus.”

 

Frieda

  • Origin: German and Norse
  • Meaning: Peaceful ruler
  • Variations/Synonyms: Freya, Freda, Frida, Frinta, and Freida
  • Description: It’s from “fried” (peace).

 

Fritzi

  • Origin: Old German 
  • Meaning: Peaceful ruler
  • Variations/Synonyms: Frietzi and Fritzie
  • Description: It can also mean “peace-keeper.”

 

Geraldine

  • Origin: German and Old French
  • Meaning: Ruler with a spear
  • Variations/Synonyms: Jeraldine, Jeraldin, and Geraldin
  • Description: It’s the female form for “Gerald.”

 

Gertraud

  • Origin: Old German
  • Meaning: Strong spear
  • Variations/Synonyms: Gertraude, Gertraut, Gertrud, and Gertrude
  • Description: This Old Germanic name meaning comes from “gēr” (spear) and “prûþi” (strength).

 

Gisele

  • Origin: French and German
  • Meaning: Bright pledge
  • Variations/Synonyms: Gisela, Giselle, and Gisselle
  • Description: It’s from the Germanic word “gisil” (bright pledge).

 

Gretta

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Pearl
  • Variations/Synonyms: Greta
  • Description: It can also be a nickname for “Margarethe” or “Margaret.”

 

Heidi 

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Noble
  • Variations/Synonyms: Heide, Heidrun, Heidelinde, and Adelheid
  • Description: It can also mean “kind.”

 

Ilse 

  • Origin: German and Hebrew
  • Meaning: Pledged to God
  • Variations/Synonyms: Elsa, Else, and Ilsa
  • Description: It’s from the Hebrew name “Elisheba” (God’s promise).

 

Ingrid

  • Origin: German, Scandinavian, and Old Norse
  • Meaning: Beautiful
  • Variations/Synonyms: Ingiríðr, Ingrida, and Ingirid
  • Description: It’s the female form of “Ing,” the Norse god of peace and fertility.

 

Johanna

  • Origin: Hebrew and German
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Variations/Synonyms: Johannah, Johanne, Joanna, and Joanne
  • Description: It’s the female form of “Johann.”

 

Jutta 

  • Origin: Hebrew and German
  • Meaning: Descendant
  • Variations/Synonyms: Judith, Jude, and Judy
  • Description: It’s the German form of “Judith.”

 

Karin

  • Origin: German, Swedish, and Greek
  • Meaning: Pure
  • Variations/Synonyms: Karen
  • Description: It can also mean “dearest little one.”

 

Katharina

  • Origin: Greek, German, and Swedish
  • Meaning: Pure
  • Variations/Synonyms: Katja, Käthe, Katarina, Käthlyn, Catherine, and Katherine
  • Description: It’s from the Greek word “katharós” (pure).

 

Klara

  • Origin: Latin and German
  • Meaning: Clear, bright, and famous
  • Variations/Synonyms: Clara, Klaire, Claire, and Clare
  • Description: It’s from the Latin word “clarus” (clear).

 

Lina

  • Origin: German and Arabic
  • Meaning: Tender
  • Variations/Synonyms: Linna
  • Description: It can also mean “united.”

 

Lorelei

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: The enchantress
  • Variations/Synonyms: Lorelie
  • Description: It can also mean “mermaid.”

 

Lotte 

  • Origin: French and German
  • Meaning: Strong
  • Variations/Synonyms: Lottchen and Lottie
  • Description: It can also mean “God is my oath.”

 

Louisa

  • Origin: French and German
  • Meaning: Famous warrior
  • Variations/Synonyms: Eloise, Luisa, Luise, and Louise
  • Description: It’s the female form of “Louis.”

 

Margarethe

  • Origin: Greek and German
  • Meaning: Pearl
  • Variations/Synonyms: Margo, Margaret, and Margarete
  • Description: It’s from the Greek word “margarī́tēs” (pearl).

 

Mathilde

  • Origin: German and Old English
  • Meaning: Mighty in battle
  • Variations/Synonyms: Matilda and Mechtild
  • Description: It’s the German form of “Matilda.”

 

Mia

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Queen
  • Variations/Synonyms: Maya
  • Description: It can also mean “ocean goddess” or “guardian of justice.”

 

Monika

  • Origin: Latin and German
  • Meaning: Advisor
  • Variations/Synonyms: Monica
  • Description: It’s from the Latin word “monere” (to advise).

 

Rheta

  • Origin: German and Greek
  • Meaning: Eloquent speaker
  • Variations/Synonyms: Reta
  • Description: It can also mean “pearl.”

 

Sabine

  • Origin: German and Latin
  • Meaning: Woman of Sabine (ancient Italian tribe)
  • Variations/Synonyms: Sabina
  • Description: It’s from the Latin name “Sabini.”

 

Sascha

  • Origin: German and French
  • Meaning: Defender
  • Variations/Synonyms: Sasha
  • Description: It’s considered a female variation to “Alexander.”

 

Stefanie

  • Origin: Greek and German
  • Meaning: Victorious
  • Variations/Synonyms: Stephanie
  • Description: It can also mean “crown.”

 

Truda

  • Origin: German and Polish
  • Meaning: Fighting woman
  • Variations/Synonyms: Trudy
  • Description: It can also mean “spear strength.”

 

Ursula

  • Origin: German, Scandinavian, and Latin
  • Meaning: Little she-bear
  • Variations/Synonyms: Urzula
  • Description: It’s from the Latin word “ursa” (bear).

 

Zelda

  • Origin: German and Yiddish (a German dialect)
  • Meaning: A strong woman
  • Variations/Synonyms: Zelde, Selig, and Griselda
  • Description: It can also mean “blessed” or “happy.”

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://www.germany.info/us-en/service/04-FamilyMatters/name/902854

 

 

 

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