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ScriptsДенис Russian
PronouncedPron.DU-NEE French
DEN-is English
DE-nis German

Meaning & History

From Denys or Denis, the medieval French forms of DIONYSIUS. Saint Denis was a 3rd-century missionary to Gaul and the first bishop of Paris. He was martyred by decapitation, after which legend says he picked up his own severed head and walked for a distance while preaching a sermon. He is credited with converting the Gauls to Christianity and is considered the patron saint of France.

This name was common in France during the Middle Ages, and it was imported by the Normans to England. It is now regularly spelled Dennis in the English-speaking world. A notable bearer was the French philosopher Denis Diderot (1713-1784).
VariantsDennis English Dennis German Dionýz Slovak Dionisie Romanian
DiminutivesDen, Denny English
Feminine FormsDenise French Denice, Denise English Denisa Czech Denisa Slovak Denisa Romanian
Other Languages & CulturesDeion, Deon African American Dionysios, Dionysius, Dion Ancient Greek Dionysius Biblical Dennis Dutch Dionysios Greek Dionysos Greek Mythology Dénes Hungarian Dionisio Italian Tenney Medieval English Dionísio Portuguese Dênis, Diniz Portuguese (Brazilian) Dinis Portuguese (European) Dionisio Spanish Denys Ukrainian
Same SpellingDênis


Statue of Saint Denis (middle) at Notre Dame, ParisStatue of Saint Denis (middle) at Notre Dame, Paris


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Entry updated December 8, 2017