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Meaning & Origins

One of the most enduringly successful of the Old French personal names introduced into Britain by the Normans. It is of Germanic (Frankish) origin, derived from rīc ‘power’ + hard ‘strong, hardy’. It has enjoyed continuous popularity in England from the Conquest to the present day, influenced by the fact that it was borne by three kings of England, in particular Richard I (1157–99). He was king for only ten years (1189–99), most of which he spent in warfare abroad, taking part in the Third Crusade and costing the people of England considerable sums in taxes. Nevertheless, he achieved the status of a folk hero, and was never in England long enough to disappoint popular faith in his goodness and justice. He was also Duke of Aquitaine and Normandy and Count of Anjou, fiefs which he held at a time of maximum English expansion in France. His exploits as a leader of the Third Crusade earned him the nickname ‘Coeur de Lion’ or ‘Lionheart’ and a permanent place in popular imagination, in which he was even more firmly enshrined by Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe (1820).
8th in the U.S.
Scottish and northern English: very common patronymic from the personal name Ander(s), a northern Middle English form of Andrew. See also Andreas. The frequency of the surname in Scotland is attributable, at least in part, to the fact that St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, so the personal name has long enjoyed great popularity there. Legend has it that the saint's relics were taken to Scotland in the 4th century by a certain St. Regulus. The surname was brought independently to North America by many different bearers and was particularly common among 18th-century Scotch-Irish settlers in PA and VA. In the United States, it has absorbed many cognate or likesounding names in other European languages, notably Swedish Andersson, Norwegian and Danish Andersen, but also Ukrainian Andreychyn, Hungarian Andrásfi, etc.
9th in the U.S.

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