St. Brigid of Kildare, painted by Patrick Joseph Tuohy
One needn’t be a passionate Hibernophile to be aware Bridget is one of the most quintessential of Irish names. And unlike most Celtic names, this one spread to many other languages instead of staying a primarily native product.
Brighid means “exalted one” and “power, strength, virtue, vigour.” Brighid was a goddess of fire, poetry, and wisdom.
Another beloved bearer was the abovepictured St. Brigid of Kildare, who lived in the 5th century and became one of Ireland’s patron saints. However, because this was the name of a saint, it was considered too sacred for normal use. Only in the 17th century did Brighid, or Brigid, become popular.
As Brigitta, this name has also long been popular in Scandinavia. The 14th century St. Brigitta is Europe’s patron saint.
The most common English form is Bridget, which has never been in the U.S. Top 100. Its highest rank to date was #112 in 1973.
Beata Brigida, painting of St. Birgitta of Sweden, done between ca. 1534–66 by Jerónimo Cosida
Other forms of this popular name include:
1. Bridgette is English.
2. Brigitte is French.
3. Brigita is Latvian, Slovak, Czech, Slovenian, Sorbian, Kashubian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Romanian, and Croatian. The variant Brígida is Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese.
4. Berit is Scandinavian.
5. Brygida is Polish.
6. Birita is Faroese.
7. Brigitta is German, Dutch, Hungarian, Italian, and Russian.
8. Bríd is modern Irish.
9. Brìghde is Scottish.
10. Birgithe is a rare Scandinavian variant.
1924 self-portrait of U.S. miniature painter Birgitta Moran Farmer (1881–1939)
11. Birgit is Scandinavian and German.
12. Ffraid is Welsh.
13. Piritta is Finnish. Nicknames include Pirkko, Priita, Pirjo, and Riitta.
14. Breeshey is Manx.
15. Birte is Norwegian.
16. Bergit is Scandinavian.
17. Berc’hed is Breton.
18. Birgitte is Norwegian.
19. Britta is German and Scandinavian.
20. Birkide is Basque.
German actor Brigitte Helm (1908–1996)
21. Bregida is Occitan.
22. Brigyta is Lithuanian.
23. Bríxida is Galician.
24. Bedelia, or Bidelia, is an Irish diminutive.