Old French name, of Germanic (Frankish) origin, originally a short form of compound names such as Ermintrude containing the word erm(en), irm(en) ‘entire’. It was adopted by the Normans and introduced by them to Britain, but its popularity in medieval England was greatly enhanced by the fact that it had been borne by the mother of Edward the Confessor, herself a Norman. In modern times, it was only in moderate use early in the 20th century but rose sharply in favour in the 1970s and has since remained perennially popular.
Catalan, French, English, German (also Romann), Polish, Hungarian (Román), Romanian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian: from the Latin personal name Romanus, which originally meant ‘Roman’. This name was borne by several saints, including a 7th-century bishop of Rouen.