[ 2 syll. e-ric, er-ic ] The baby boy name Eric is pronounced as EHRihK (English) or ehRIYK (French) †. Eric is largely used in the English, French, and Scandinavian languages, and its origin is Old Norse and Germanic. From Old Norse roots, its meaning is ever ruling, lone ruler, island ruler. Eiríkr (Old Norse) and Eyrekr (Old Norse) are old forms of Eric. Eiríkr or Eyrekr is composed of the first element 'ei' (meaning ever, always) or 'einn' (alone, lone), with the second element 'rikr'. Eric the Red (950-1003) was a 10th-century Norse chieftain who discovered Greenland. Several early kings of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway also bore the name. The name was introduced into Britain by Danish settlers prior to the Norman Conquest and it was used modestly throughout the Middle Ages. It was only in the 19th century that the name saw a rise in use among English speakers, mainly due to Frederic William Farrar's popular story on school life, 'Eric, or, Little by Little' (1858), and H. Rider Haggard's Norse romance set in Iceland, Eric Brighteyes (1891).
In addition, Eric is an English and French pet form of the name Frederick (English).
The name Erica (English, French, German, Scandinavian, and Scottish) is the female equivalent of Eric.
The name Eric is used to a great extent; it has 46 variants that are used in English and other languages. Variants used in English include Aaric, Aeric, Aerick, Aric, Arick, Arik, Audrick, Aurick, Erec, Ereck, Erica, Ericas, Erich (also used in Czech and German), Erickas, Erikas, Eriq, Erique, Erix, Erric, Errik, Eryc, Eryck, Ric, and Ricki. Other English forms include the pet forms Rick, Rickey, Ricky, and Rikki, and the variant spellings Erek, Erick, Erik (also used in Czech, German, Hungarian, Scandinavian, Slavic, and Dutch), and Errick.
Foreign variants of Eric include Eerikki (Finnish), Eero (Finnish), Eirik (Scandinavian), Eiríkur (Scandinavian), Elika (Hawaiian), Erico (Italian and Portuguese), Eriks (Latvian and Russian), Erki (Latvian), Erkki (Finnish), Eryk (Polish), Eurico (Spanish), Érico (Portuguese), Jerk (Scandinavian), and Jerker (Scandinavian).
Eric is popular as a baby name for boys. The name's popularity rose from the 1900s up to the 1970s. At the peak of its usage in 1972, 1.316% of baby boys were given the name Eric. Its ranking then was #16. The baby name has since experienced a loss in popularity. In 2012, its usage was only 0.179% and its ranking #107, but it was nonetheless the most popular out of all boy names in its group. In 2012, Eric was twice as popular as the next most popular name, Erick. The name Eric has predominantly been a baby boy name, though it has also been given to girls in the past century. In 1988, Eric as a baby boy name outnumbered its use as a girl name by 117 times.
† Pronunciation for Eric: EH as in "ebb (EH.B)" ; R as in "race (R.EY.S)" ; IH as in "it (IH.T)" ; K as in "key (K.IY)" ; IY as in "eat (IY.T)"
Details of famous persons named Eric:
Actor Eric Bana, born Eric Banadinovich, 9 August 1968, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Actor Eric Braeden, born Hans Gudegast, 3 April 1941, Kiel, Germany.
Actor Jamie Foxx, born Eric Bishop, 13 December 1967, Terrell, Texas.
Actor Eric Sykes, born 4 May 1923, Oldham, Lancashire, England.
Author Eric Carle, born 25 June 1929, Syracuse, New York.
Author George Orwell, born Eric Arthur Blair, 25 June 1903 - 21 January 1950, Motohari, India.
Comedian Eric Idle, born 29 March 1943, South Shields, Durham, England.
Comedian Eric Morecambe, born John Eric Bartholomew, 14 May 1926 - 28 May 1984, Morecambe, Lancashire, England.
Explorer Eric the Red (Erik Thorvaldson, Eirik Raude, or Eirik Torvaldsson), born 950 - 1003.
Rock Musician Eric Clapton, born 30 March 1945, Ripley, Surrey, England.