14/08/2014 17:02 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

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

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

​The name Oscar originates from a combination of two Irish Gaelic words: 'os', meaning deer, and 'cara' meaning 'friend'. In Irish mysthology, Oscar was the grandson of folk hero Finn McCool.

In the 18th century, Scottish poet James Macpherson published a translation of a Gaelic language epic poem on the subject of McCool and his family, which became extremely popular, bringing the name Oscar into the mainstream. Macpherson's work was especially influential in Scandinavia, where the name Oscar was even given to two kings and remains a popular choice today.

Another theory as to the origins of the name is that it is related to the Old English 'Osgar' which means 'divine spear'.

Famous people called Oscar:
Oscar Wilde, author and wit
Oscar Hammerstein II, American musicals lyricist
Oscar de la Renta, Dominican fashion designer
Oscar the Grouch, Sesame Street puppet
Oscar de la Hoya, American boxer
Oskar Schindler, the subject of the film Schindler's List

Can be shortened to:
Ozzy, Ossie

Surnames to avoid Oscar with:
Surnames beginning with an 'R' sound, ie. Roberts or Richards, 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.

Similar names:
Foreign variants include Oskar (German/Scandinavian) and Oskari (Finnish) as well as the Scottish version, Osgar.

Similar sounding English names include Oliver and Omar.

Female variations:
English girls' names with similar meanings include Dorcas (from Greek, meaning 'doe'), Fianait (Irish, meaning 'deer') and Rae (from Scandinavian for doe).

Celebrities who named their baby Oscar:
Hugh Jackman, Dan Ackroyd