14/08/2014 17:01 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

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

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The name Eric is the preferred English spelling of the Old Norse name: Eirikr, which is derived from the words 'ei' meaning ever, and 'rikr,' which means ruler.

The name was introduced to England during the Middle Ages by Viking invaders and Scandinavian settlers. A contemporary celebrity who bore the name was Erikr inn Rauda (Eric the Red) who is credited with discovering Greenland and founding the first Norse settlement there.

The name rose to popularity in England in the 19th century, due to the success of a children's novel called Eric, or, Little by Little by Frederic William Farrar. It was first published in 1858 and became one of the most popular boys' books in Victorian Britain. The novel is a moral tale, in which the protagonist, Eric Williams, a 12-year-old boy, succumbs to peer pressure and partakes in various acts of 'folly and wickedness' such as drinking, smoking and cheating, before facing his comeuppance.

Famous people called Eric:
Eric Clapton, musician
Eric Cantona, French footballer
Eric Burdon, singer The Animals
Eric Carle, author The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Idle, comedian, member of Monty Python's Flying Circus (and fellow Python Terry Jones wrote and directed the film Eric the Viking)
Eric Arthur Blair, real name of author George Orwell
Eric Morecambe, comedian

Can be shortened to: Rick, Ric, Rik Surnames to avoid pairing Eric with:
If your surname is Ericsson or Erikson you may not want to pick Eric as a first name, to avoid the 'so good they named him twice' jokes!

Similar names:
Erich, Derek, Frederick, Rick

Feminine variants:
Erica, Erika

Celebrities who named their baby Eric:
Simon Cowell, music industry mogul
Donald Trump, American property entrepreneur
Chuck Norris, actor