English, Welsh, French, South Indian, etc.: from the personal name George, Greek Geōrgios, from an adjectival form, geōrgios ‘rustic’, of geōrgos ‘farmer’. This became established as a personal name in classical times through its association with the fashion for pastoral poetry. Its popularity in western Europe increased at the time of the Crusades, which brought greater contact with the Orthodox Church, in which several saints and martyrs of this name are venerated, in particular a saint believed to have been martyred at Nicomedia in AD 303, who, however, is at best a shadowy figure historically. Nevertheless, by the end of the Middle Ages St. George had become associated with an unhistorical legend of dragon-slaying exploits, which caught the popular imagination throughout Europe, and he came to be considered the patron saint of England among other places. As an American family name, this has absorbed cognates from other European languages, including German Georg and Greek patronymics such as Georgiou, Georgiadis, Georgopoulos, and the status name Papageorgiou ‘priest George’. In Englishspeaking countries, this surname is also found as an Anglicized form of Greek surnames such as Hatzigeorgiou ‘George the Pilgrim’ and patronymics such as Giorgopoulos ‘son of George’. It is used as a given name among Christians in India, and in the U.S. has come to be used as a surname among families from southern India.