Pope Gregory I (ca. 540–12 March 604), by Francisco de Zurbarán
Gregory is the English form of the Latin Gregorius, which in turn comes from the Greek Gregorios. The original roots are gregoros (alert, watchful) and gregorein (to watch). Thanks to folk etymology, the name also became associated with the Latin grex (stem form greg), which means “herd” or “flock.”
Thus, there arose an association with a shepherd carefully guarding his flock, and led to the name’s great popularity among popes and monks. To date, 16 popes have taken the name Gregory, tying it with Benedict as the next-most popular papal name after only John.
Austrian geneticist Gregor Mendel, 1822–1884
Because of the many saints, monks, and popes bearing this name, it’s been widely used through the Christian world for almost 2,000 years. In England, it’s been used since the 12th century. However, it had become much more uncommon by the late 19th century.
In 1880, it was #909 in the U.S., and was on and off the chart until it permanently came to stay in 1892. It gradually rose and fell until 1924, when it began picking up speed and moving up slowly but consistently. In 1945, it entered the Top 100 at #96.
Gregory leapt to #56 in 1946, and #33 in 1947. It entered the Top 25 in 1950, and remained there till 1967. In 1971, it again was #25. The name gradually descended, and had fallen to #361 by 2016.
The name’s rise to popularity was due to American actor Gregory Peck.
Gregory Peck, 1916–2003
Other forms of the name include:
1. Gregor is German, Icelandic, Slovak, Slovenian, and Scottish.
2. Grégoire is French.
3. Gregorio is Spanish and Italian. The alternate form Gregório is Portuguese.
4. Grigor is Bulgarian, Macedonian, Eastern Armenian, Albanian, and Welsh.
5. Krikor is Western Armenian.
6. Grigol is Georgian.
7. Gligor is Macedonian and Romanian.
8. Greger is Swedish and Norwegian.
9. Grigoriy is Russian. Nicknames include Grisha, Grishechka, and Grishenka.
10. Grigore is Romanian.
Henri Jean-Baptiste Grégoire (Abbé Grégoire), bishop, politician, reformer, abolitionist, revolutionary leader, 1750–1831
11. Gregers is Norwegian and Danish.
12. Griogair is Scottish.
13. Gréagóir is Irish.
14. Grzegorz is Polish. Nicknames include Grześ and Grzesiek.
15. Grega is Slovenian.
16. Řehoř is Czech.
17. Grigorijs is Latvian.
18. Grigalius is Lithuanian. Other Lithuanian forms are Grigorijus, Gregoras, and Gregas.
19. Hryhoriy is Ukrainian.
20. Reijo is Finnish.
Comedic Romanian actor Grigore Vasiliu Birlic, 1905–1970
21. Reko is another Finnish form.
22. Gregoor is a rare Dutch form.
23. Gergely (GER-gay) is Hungarian. The nickname is Gergő.
24. Grigorios is modern Greek.
25. Girgor is Maltese.
26. Gergori is Basque.
27. Drigo is Mordvin.
28. Grégori is Gascon. The alternate form Gregori is Catalan.
29. Gregoriu is Sardinian.
30. Gregorije is Serbian. Another Serbian form is Gligorije.
The Venerable Dr. José Gregorio Hernández (1864–1919), a Venezuelan national hero and folk figure
31. Guergorio is Aragonese.
32. Hrehary is Belarusian.
33. Kelekolio is Hawaiian.
34. Kӗrkuri is Chuvash.
35. Reigo is Estonian.
36. Grgur is Serbian and Croatian. The nickname is Grga.
37. Gërgur is Albanian.
38. Ryhor is Belarusian.
39. Grækaris is Faroese.
40. Gregors is Latvian.
Grigorios Xenopoulos (1867–1951), Greek writer and journalist
41. Grigorij is Macedonian.
42. Gregoria is an Italian, Spanish, and English feminine form.
43. Gregorie is a German feminine form. The variant Grégorie is French.