Ermengard, Friedegard, Hildegard: Lovely or Terrible?

Admittedly, I like lots of unusual names: the clunky, the old-fashioned, the word-derived, the plant-inspired, etc.

I also think I have been on nameberry so much that it has broadened my naming tastes to what some would call an alarming degree. :slight_smile:

What I call the “Anything but [name_u]Aidan[/name_u]” syndrome.

Or the “Hey, it’s better than Godd’Iss” argument.

So in that spirit I seem to have fallen in love with these three names.

I know most won’t like them, but what I am most curious about is if you see them as all the same or if some are preferable to others? Does a little [name_f]Ermengard[/name_f] look or seem different than a little [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f]? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you see them as being certain ages or appearances? [name_m]Just[/name_m] curious.

1 Like

[name_f]Ermengard[/name_f] just makes me think of the ermahgerd meme:

YES. I agree 100%.

Goodness. What a picture! Not something I had ever heard of.

I see [name_f]Ermengard[/name_f] as a beautiful blonde young girl, like the Infanta in the Velasquez painting.

[name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] I think of the attractive [name_m]German[/name_m] woman in her 30’s in the Grantchester British mystery series.

And [name_f]Friedegard[/name_f] I think of as a middle-aged plump lady of good cheer.

I do see them differently. [name_f]Ermengard[/name_f] was the name of a girl on Courage Mountain (the great sequel to [name_f]Heidi[/name_f] with [name_u]Charlie[/name_u] [name_m]Sheen[/name_m]) so I picture a lovely young [name_m]German[/name_m] girl. [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] definitely feels past middle-age and plump (no obvious reasons why) and [name_f]Friedegard[/name_f] sounds completely unusable. Maybe because it sounds like [name_f]Frieda[/name_f] and that is what my dad called all of his six daughters? “[name_f]Frieda[/name_f] [name_m]Fred[/name_m], get over here!” That kind of thing. I think Ermengarde has the softest sound so it feels most palatable to non-[name_m]German[/name_m] speaking ears. Or maybe it is just me. :slight_smile:

Interesting. [name_f]Frieda[/name_f] from Dad, wow! :slight_smile: I do confess to a small but growing liking for [name_f]Frieda[/name_f] or [name_f]Freda[/name_f], but not for every daughter.

I like some of the nicknames: [name_f]Erma[/name_f], [name_f]Freda[/name_f], [name_f]Freya[/name_f], [name_f]Freja[/name_f], [name_f]Hilde[/name_f], [name_f]Hilda[/name_f], and most of all, [name_f]Gardenia[/name_f].

I like [name_f]Ermengard[/name_f], and I see a little red haired girl. [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] is more of a blonde middle-aged woman. [name_f]Friedegard[/name_f] is a young adult, around 20-ish and has black hair. Interesting that they all have different hair colors! I think they would work well with the nicknames.

My favourite girl name is [name_f]Gertrude[/name_f], I’ve been fond of [name_f]Ermentrude[/name_f] and [name_f]Hildegarde[/name_f] since forever and just recently I’ve been crushing on [name_f]Helga[/name_f] and [name_f]Brunhilda[/name_f]. So, while your names might not appeal to me on an individual level, as a collective I like their style and ancient sophistication. [name_u]True[/name_u], they might not be for everyone but, to be honest I’m just happy that you’re not another person into [name_f]Nevaeh[/name_f], [name_u]Bryley[/name_u] or [name_f]Skylyn[/name_f]!

To me all three names fall into the same category, girl with perfect curls and dress. I think [name_f]Ermengard[/name_f] is the softest sounding name of the bunch, the other two come across as more spirited. I think they would be lovely if shortened for everyday use:
[name_f]Hildegard[/name_f]: [name_f]Hilda[/name_f]
[name_f]Friedegard[/name_f]: [name_f]Frida[/name_f]/[name_f]Frieda[/name_f] , Frede, [name_f]Freda[/name_f]
[name_f]Ermengard[/name_f]: [name_f]Erma[/name_f]

I like the forms [name_f]Irmgard[/name_f], [name_f]Hilda[/name_f], [name_f]Irma[/name_f]

Oh, I too love [name_f]Gertrude[/name_f]! And [name_f]Hortense[/name_f]. To me they are so ugly they are beautiful. :slight_smile: And [name_f]Gerda[/name_f] I adore.

[name_f]Wilhelmina[/name_f]/[name_f]Helma[/name_f] is another favorite for me too.

And yes, isn’t it nice to hear someone like real names, however strange. I’d rather be named [name_f]Brunhilda[/name_f] or [name_f]Boudicca[/name_f] than the last names you mentioned.

I think they’re usable and very nice traditional names. I know most of the USA would butcher the pronunciation and me personally would assume the child carrying this name had at least one [name_m]German[/name_m] speaking parent and spoke it herself.

Well, it sounds crazy and unbelievable but I have met women and girls named all of them. My best friend’s sister is named [name_f]Irma[/name_f]. I know her since I was five so it seems quite normal to me. It wasn’t a shock that her full name is [name_f]Ermengard[/name_f], it sounds OK to me since I’ve heard this name since childhood.
[name_f]Hilda[/name_f] is a common nickame in my country. It is a short form of many names but can be used as a full name. [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] is not a common name but I’ve heard it many times, but most go by just [name_f]Hilda[/name_f].
When my colleague’s daughter was born, she (my colleague) told me that they would call her [name_f]Frieda[/name_f]. I supposed it was a short form of [name_f]Frederika[/name_f] or Friedrike but she told me that her name would be [name_f]Friedegard[/name_f]. She and her husband used if as a combination of their mothers names, Friedrike and [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f].

I would never used them but if I had to choose, I would choose [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f]

While I would hesitate to give any of them as first names because of the apparent prejudice people in the English-speaking world have against many Germanic girls’ names, I actually like all three of them. I can’t say I have any particular association with [name_f]Friedegard[/name_f]. Ermengarde makes me think of the plump girl from The [name_m]Little[/name_m] [name_f]Princess[/name_f], so it sounds very Victorian to me. As a medievalist who did her master’s thesis on St. [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] von Bingen, [name_f]Hildegarde[/name_f] is my favorite of the three. The twelfth-century abbess is one of the coolest ladies in history–a powerful woman who wrote theological tomes, medical treatises, lots of music, and the first known morality play. She also had visions, went on preaching tours, and kept up a steady correspondence with popes and monarchs. She even upbraided [name_m]Frederick[/name_m] Barbarossa at one point. To me, [name_f]Hildegarde[/name_f] is a name that indicates strength and intelligence, and I might try to convince to convince my dh that it would make a good middle name for a future daughter.

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you like [name_f]Tilda[/name_f] and [name_f]Swanhilde[/name_f]?

I adore [name_f]Tilda[/name_f] though [name_f]Matilda[/name_f] bores me and [name_f]Swanhilde[/name_f] is pretty.

PS Re: your signature: [name_m]Crusoe[/name_m] [name_u]Salem[/name_u] and [name_f]Lark[/name_f] [name_f]Eluned[/name_f] – [name_u]LOVE[/name_u] THESE!

I like [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] quite a bit. I like [name_f]Freida[/name_f], but not Freidegard.

I’ve got a real soft spot for Ermengarde because A [name_m]Little[/name_m] [name_f]Princess[/name_f] was my favourite book when I was a little girl. Ermie, [name_f]Emmie[/name_f], or [name_f]Minnie[/name_f] soften it for a little girl as it is a bit of a mouthful.

[name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] I really associate with [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] von Bingen, which is a pretty kickass connection :smiley: And I love the nickname [name_f]Hilde[/name_f]. In fact, though the association is nice, I find [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] in full relatively unusable and if I were a [name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] or named a daughter of mine the full name, I’d use [name_f]Hilde[/name_f] in everyday life.

[name_f]Friedegard[/name_f] I find very austere, it’s my least favourite of the three.

Overall, they’re interesting names, but a bit hard to live with I think… After all, they are long, old-fashioned and clunky. Can you or your child pull them off? I’d say yes, provided you used a shortened version or a nickname in everyday life.

My family tree contains many [name_f]Irmgard[/name_f]/[name_f]Irma[/name_f]/[name_f]Ermengard[/name_f] and Hildegardes, although not any [name_f]Friedegard[/name_f]'s that I am aware of. They are all older relatives (in their 70’s+) so to me they are still old lady names. But then, the name [name_f]Karin[/name_f] is also considered an old lady name in Germany, and my 3.5 year old wears it wonderfully, so I’m not against using old lady names. I would definitely use [name_f]Hildegarde[/name_f], but the other two aren’t my favorites.

I rather like the “gard” names, but it’s a fascinating study in the old Germanic name elements. There are literally dozens more “gard” names, including the intriguing Adelgard, the soft-then-tough Lillegard, and the lovely Isengard (almost undoubtedly absconded by Tolkein, as the meaning of these two name elements are “iron” and “tower/enclosure.”)

I do see the visual similarity to the meme with spelling [name_f]Ermengard[/name_f], which makes it utterly unusable in modern times, but spelling with the I would help that, Irmengard, but it still might have to be put out of consideration since it has become an urban-culture thing. I think of the secondary character in the pay, “The Matchmaker,” better known in his musical iteration, “Hello [name_f]Dolly[/name_f].” She’s a little bit of a simpleton, but she’s also quite young and naive so you don’t hold that against her.

[name_f]Hildegard[/name_f] is probably my favorite of your three, because I like the root elements best of this one, “battle” and “tower/enclosure.”

Fridegard is likely to fall into the situation of people wanting to change it to something more familiar, which in this case would be [name_f]Freida[/name_f].

As for whether any of them is usable nowadays, I think it would take a bold namer proud of a Germanic heritage… and an adventurous partner… to be willing to consider it. Most of the Germanic-root Norse type names I pull out make my poor husband’s eyes go all deer-in-the-headlights.

You’ll be interested in this listing of other “gard” ending name element options: