From the Germanic
meaning "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod
"fame" and beraht
"bright". The Normans
introduced this name to Britain, where it replaced the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht
. It has been a very common English name since that time.
The name has been borne by two early kings of France, two Dukes of Normandy, and three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce who restored the independence of Scotland from England in the 14th century. The author Robert Browning (1812-1889) and poets Robert Burns (1759-1796) and Robert Frost (1874-1963) are famous literary bearers of this name. Other bearers include Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), the commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War, and American actors Robert Redford (1936-), Robert De Niro (1943-) and Robert Downey Jr. (1965-).