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Meaning & History

From the Late Greek name Χριστοφορος (Christophoros) meaning "bearing CHRIST", derived from Χριστος (Christos) combined with φερω (phero) "to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.

As an English given name, Christopher has been in general use since the 15th century. In Denmark it was borne by three kings (their names are usually spelled Christoffer), including the 15th-century Christopher of Bavaria who also ruled Norway and Sweden. Other famous bearers include Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), English playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), English architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723) and the fictional character Christopher Robin from A. A. Milne's 'Winnie-the-Pooh' books.
DiminutivesChip, Chris, Kit, Kris, Topher, Kester
Other Languages & CulturesHristofor, Hristo Bulgarian Kristofor, Krsto Croatian Kryštof Czech Kristoffer, Christoffer, Kris Danish Christoffel Dutch Risto Finnish Christophe French Christoph German Christoforos Greek Kristóf Hungarian Críostóir, Christie, Christy Irish Cristoforo Italian Christophoros Late Greek Christophorus Late Roman Kristaps Latvian Kristupas Lithuanian Hristofor, Hristo, Risto Macedonian Kristoffer, Christoffer Norwegian Krzysztof, Krzyś, Krzysiek Polish Cristóvão Portuguese Christie, Christy Scottish Krištof Slovak Krištof Slovene Cristóbal Spanish Kristoffer, Christoffer Swedish


Depiction of Saint Christopher by TitianDepiction of Saint Christopher by Titian


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Entry updated December 8, 2017   Contribute