Feminine form of the rarer French masculine name Germain (Late Latin Germanus ‘brother’ the original reference may have been to the concept of Christian brotherhood). Germaine Cousin (c.1579–1601) was a Provençal saint, the daughter of a poor farmer. Her canonization in 1867 gave an additional impulse to the use of the name in France, from where it was imported into the English‐speaking world. This form of the name is now also used occasionally as a boy's name. See also Jermaine.