01/07/2014 22:34 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Wilbur - The Meaning, Origin And Other Facts About The Name

Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd / Alamy


The name Wilbur was originally an English surname.

Like many other surnames, it derives from a nickname. Before the Norman Conquest, it was common for people, especially those of the lower classes, to go by a first name only. Descriptive nicknames were often used to differentiate between several bearers of the same name.

When having both a first and last name become the norm, these nicknames were often turned into surnames - some common examples are Short, Young and Brown. Wilbur derives from the medieval nickname 'wildbor', which means 'wild boar'. The wild boar was considered one of the most difficult creatures to hunt, indicating that the bearer was particularly tough or strong.

Wilbur is also a name in Old German, meaning 'resolute' or 'brilliant'.

Famous people called Wilbur:
Wilbur Wright, one half of pioneering aviators the Wright brothers
Wilbur Smith, bestselling South African novelist
Wilbur Ware, Amercan jazz musician
Wilbur, porcine hero of Charlotte's Web

Can be shortened to: Will, Willie

Surnames to avoid Wilbur with:
Surnames beginning with an 'R' sound, ie. Richards or Ross, might cause problems as when said aloud this combination of sounds may result in elision – when two words slurred together end up sounding like one. However, this didn't hold Wilbur Wright back!

Similar names:
Names with a similar meaning include Everard (Old English: brave boar), Ebbe (Old German: boar) and Aran (Hebrew: wild goat). Similar English names include Wilmer, William and Wilfred.

Female variations:
Girls' names with similar meanings include Agrippa (Greek: wild horse) and Sheriden (Scottish: the wild one). Names with similar sounds include Wilhelmina, Wilona and Winter.

Celebrities who named their baby Wilbur:
Kate Silverton