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GenderMasculine
UsageEnglish
PronouncedPron.LAW-rəns
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Meaning & History

From the Roman cognomen Laurentius, which meant "from Laurentum". Laurentum was a city in ancient Italy, its name probably deriving from Latin laurus "laurel". Saint Laurence was a 3rd-century deacon and martyr from Rome. According to tradition he was roasted alive on a gridiron because, when ordered to hand over the church's treasures, he presented the sick and poor. Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in the Christian world (in various spellings).

In the Middle Ages this name was common in England, partly because of a second saint by this name, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury. Likewise it has been common in Ireland due to the 12th-century Saint Laurence O'Toole (whose real name was Lorcán). Since the 19th century the spelling Lawrence has been more common, especially in America. A famous bearer was the British actor Laurence Olivier (1907-1989).
VariantsLauren, Lawrence
Feminine FormsLauren, Lauryn, Loren, Lorena, Laryn, Laurena
Other Languages & CulturesLaurentius Ancient Roman Llorenç Catalan Lovre, Lovrenco, Lovro Croatian Vavřinec Czech Lars, Lorens, Lasse, Laurits, Lauritz Danish Lars, Laurens, Lourens, Lau, Rens Dutch Lars, Lari, Lasse, Lassi, Lauri Finnish Laurent French Lourens Frisian Lars, Laurenz, Lorenz, Lenz German Lavrentios Greek Lőrinc Hungarian Lárus Icelandic Labhrás Irish Lorenzo, Enzo, Loris, Renzo Italian Lau, Lor Limburgish Laurynas Lithuanian Larkin, Law Medieval English Lars Medieval Scandinavian Lorencio Medieval Spanish Lars, Lorens, Lasse, Laurits, Lauritz Norwegian Wawrzyniec Polish Lourenço Portuguese Laurențiu Romanian Lavrenti, Lavrentiy, Lavrenty Russian Labhrainn Scottish Vavrinec Slovak Lovrenc, Lovro Slovene Lorenzo Spanish Renzo Spanish (Latin American) Lars, Lorens, Lasse Swedish
Same SpellingLaurence (2)

Images

Depiction of Saint Laurence by Francisco de Zurbarán (1636)Depiction of Saint Laurence by Francisco de Zurbarán (1636)

Categories

actors, currently out of the US top 1000, flora, martyrs, nature, Orthodox Saints, place names, saints, Shakespearean characters, trees
Entry updated July 2, 2017   Contribute