Happy Name Day, George! Here are a Few Things You May Not Know about your Name



George or Giorgos or Georgios (Γιώργος ή Γεώργιος) is the most popular Greek male name, and the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Saint George on April 23rd. Saint George is also the patron saint of the Greek Army.

There are some facts and legends about the name that not everyone who goes by that name knows. Let’s see some of them:

The feast of St. George is set on April 23, the date of his passing. However, when this date falls within Lent, the feast is transferred on the second day of Easter.

The traditional picture of Saint George on his horse slaying the dragon has a striking resemblance to the mythical story of Bellerophon, son of Poseidon and the queen of Corinth, who killed Chimera, the mutated monster that had the head of a lion and blew flames. Young Bellerophon managed to kill the beast with his spear.

The roots of the name are obviously Greek. It is from Γη and Έργο, meaning earth and work. So essentially Γεώργιος is a man who works the earth, or farmer. According to English Wikipedia, the name comes from the ancient times when Greeks worshipped the twelve gods of Olympus. The word appeared in the plays of Aristophanes. It was also attributed to Zeus (“Zeus Georgos”), as one of the god’s duties was the protection of the crops.

As a historical person, Saint George was born in Palestine in 280 AD, the son of a Greek nobleman from Cappadocia. He became a martyr in 303 and that earned him “popularity”  in the Eastern Roman Empire. At a young age, George joined the Roman army, where he was distinguished for his boldness, but when he confessed his Christian faith, Emperor Diocletian was enraged and submitted him to a series of horrific tortures, stabbing and having his flesh torn with a special wheel with attached knives, then he was thrown in a lime pit wearing burning metal shoes, and ultimately he was beheaded on April 23, 303. Later, legends were created around his name, with the dominating one being the victory against the dragon that guarded a fountain in Libya.

In Greece, there is only one proverb with the name Giorgos. “Opou Giorgos kai malama,” Greeks say, meaning that wherever there is a George, he can only do good things.

There are millions of Greeks around the globe who answer by the first name of Giorgos.  Giorgos is followed in popularity by the names: Dimitris, Kostas, Giannis and Nikos.

In the U.S., George is the 166nd most popular name, and it was among the five most popular one century ago, most likely because of first president George Washington. In Britain, the name became even more popular from the 18th century onwards, when King George was crowned King. Note, however, that the English name “George” is given (less often) to women as well.

Let’s see how Giorgos is called in other languages: English: George, Arabic: Girgis, Basque: Gorka, Bulgarian: Georgi, French: Georges, German: Georg, Jörg, Jürgen, Jörgen, Georgian: გიორგი (Giorgi), Danish: Jørgen, Estonian: Spanish, Portuguese: Jorge, Italian: Giorgio, Catalan: Jordi, Lithuanian: Jurgis, Norwegian: Jørgen, Georg, Dutch: Joris, Sjors, Hungarian: György, Polish: Jerzy, Portuguese: Jorge, (Yury), Yegor, Slovak: Juraj, Swedish: Göran, Jörgen, Örjan, Georg, Czech: Jiří, Finnish: Jyrki, Yrjö.

Finally, let’s take a look at numerology and the name George. George is 1, which means he has the personality of a leader, he is imposing, takes initiatives, is determined, but at the same time he is selfish.