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PronouncedPron.AHR-thər English
AR-TUYR French
AR-tuwr German
AHR-tuyr Dutch

Meaning & History

The meaning of this name is unknown. It could be derived from the Celtic elements artos "bear" combined with viros "man" or rigos "king". Alternatively it could be related to an obscure Roman family name Artorius. Arthur is the name of the central character in Arthurian legend, a 6th-century king of the Britons who resisted Saxon invaders. He may or may not have been a real person. He first appears in Welsh poems and chronicles (some possibly as early as the 7th century) but his character was not developed until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth.

The name came into general use in England in the Middle Ages due to the prevalence of Arthurian romances, and it enjoyed a surge of popularity in the 19th century. Famous bearers include German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), mystery author and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), and science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008).
VariantsArtur German Artur Swedish
DiminutivesArt English Tuur Dutch
Other Languages & CulturesArtur Catalan Artur Czech Artur Estonian Artturi, Arto, Arttu Finnish Artur Galician Artúr Hungarian Arturo Italian Artūrs Latvian Tuur Limburgish Artūras Lithuanian Artur Polish Artur Portuguese Artur Romanian Artur Russian Artair Scottish Arturo Spanish


Depiction of Arthur receiving Excalibur, by N. C. Wyeth (1922)Depiction of Arthur receiving Excalibur, by N. C. Wyeth (1922)


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Entry updated July 2, 2017   Contribute