Gender Feminine
Usage Welsh
Pronounced Pron. GWEHN-də-lin(English)
  [key·IPA]

Meaning & History

Possibly means "white ring", derived from Welsh gwen meaning "white, fair, blessed" and dolen meaning "ring, loop". This name appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th-century chronicles, written in the Latin form Guendoloena, where it belongs to an ancient queen of the Britons who defeats her ex-husband in battle [1]. Geoffrey later used it in Vita Merlini for the wife of the prophet Merlin [2]. An alternate theory claims that the name arose from a misreading of the masculine name Guendoleu by Geoffrey [3].

This name was not regularly given to people until the 19th century [4][3]. It was used by George Eliot for a character in her novel Daniel Deronda (1876).

Related Names

VariantGwendoline
DiminutiveGwen
Other Languages & CulturesGuendoloena, Guendolen(Arthurian Romance) Gwendolyn, Gwen(English) Gwendoline(English (British)) Gwendoline(French)

People think this name is

classic   mature   formal   upper class   natural   wholesome   refined   strange   complex   serious   nerdy  

Categories

Sources & References

  1. Page at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Six_Old_English_Chronicles/Geoffrey%27s_British_History/Book_2.
  2. Page at https://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/vm/vmeng.htm.
  3. Page at https://medievalscotland.org/problem/names/gwendolyn.shtml.
  4. Withycombe, Elizabeth Gidley. The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names. Oxford, 1945, page 63.
Entry updated January 21, 2022