[ 2 syll. den-nis, de-nn-is ] The baby boy name Dennis is pronounced in English and German as DEHN-ihS †. Dennis is used predominantly in the Dutch, English, French, and German languages, and its origin is Old Greek. The name's meaning is follower of Dionysos. Dionysios (Old Greek) and Dionysius (Latin) are original forms of Dennis. Dionysios was the god of wine and poetic inspiration in Greek mythology; he was also the son of Zeus and Semele. His name is from the elements 'dios' and 'nysa'; the latter being the mythical place name where Dionysios was raised. The name was borne by several early saints and popes, the most notable being the 3rd-century Saint Dionysius or Denis, the patron saint of Paris who converted the Gauls and who is venerated as one of the 14 Holy Helpers. The form Denis first derived as a French corruption of the saint's name Dionysius, and it became popular among Normans due to the cult following of the saint. It was later introduced into England by the Normans in the 11th century. In recent times, the name is known from the mischievous boy of the comic strip Dennis the Menace (1951-). The name Denise (English, French, and German) is the female version of Dennis.
The name Dennis is widely used; it has 53 variants that are used in English and other languages. Variants used in English include Dannis, Dannys, Deion, Denea, Denee, Deney, Deni, Denie, Denies, Denijs, Denis (used in French, Irish, and Russian too), Deniss, Dennas, Dennea, Dennee, Dennet, Denney, Dennison, Deny, Deon (used in Greek too), Dionte, Dye, Tenney, and Tennyson. Other English forms include the contractions Den and Dion (used in French, and German too), the diminutive forms Denni, Dennie, Dennies, Denniz, Denny, and Dennys, and the variant spelling Denys (used in French, Russian, and Ukrainian too).
Foreign variants of Dennis include Dainis (Latvian and Russian), Denes (Hungarian), Deniz (Turkish), Denka (Russian), Dennes (Hungarian), Denya (Russian), Dénes (Hungarian), Dinis (Portuguese), Diniz (Portuguese), Dione (French), Dionigi (Italian), Dionis (Spanish), Dionisie (Romanian), Dionisio (Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish), Dionisiy (Russian), Dionys (German), Dionysius (German), Dionysus (German), Donnchadh (Irish), and Nicho (Spanish).
Dennis is a classic favorite. Today it is still a fairly popular baby name for boys, though not to the extent it was in the past. Its usage peaked in 1946 with 1.299% of baby boys being given the name Dennis. It ranked at #17 then. The baby name has since experienced a steep fall in popularity, and is currently of occasional use. In 2012, its usage was only 0.032% and its ranking #427, but it was nonetheless the most popular among all boy names in its group. In 2012, Dennis was thrice as popular as the next most popular name, Sidney. The name Dennis has been mostly given to baby boys, though it has also been used as a girl name in the past century. In 1943, the name Dennis was given to 206 times as many baby boys than girls.
† Pronunciation for Dennis: D as in "day (D.EY)" ; EH as in "ebb (EH.B)" ; N as in "knee (N.IY)" ; IH as in "it (IH.T)" ; S as in "see (S.IY)"
Details of famous persons named Dennis:
Actor Dennis Franz, born Dennis Franz Schlacta, 28 October 1944, Maywood, Illinois.
Actor Dennis Hopper, born 17 May 1936, Dodge City, Kansas.
Actor Dennis Quaid, born 9 April 1954, Houston, Texas.
Author Dennis Wheatley, born Dennis Yates Wheatley, 8 January 1897 - 10 November 1977, London, England.
Basketball Player Dennis Rodman, born 13 May 1961, Trenton, New Jersey.
Cricketer Brian Close, born Dennis Brian Close, 24 February 1931, Rawdon, Leeds, England.
Playwright Dennis Potter, born Dennis Christopher George Potter, 17 May 1935 - 7 June 1994, Gloucestershire, England.
Politician Dennis Kucinich, born 8 October 1946, Cleveland, Ohio.
Pop Musician Dennis Wilson, born 4 December 1944 - 28 December 1983, Hawthorne, California.
TV Personality Dennis Miller, born 3 November 1953, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.