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Richard Knight in the US

  1. #8,820 Laura Robinson
  2. #8,821 Mary Bowman
  3. #8,822 My Tran
  4. #8,823 Pamela Adams
  5. #8,824 Richard Knight
  6. #8,825 William Pearson
  7. #8,826 Jay Jones
  8. #8,827 Kerry Smith
  9. #8,828 Margaret Scott
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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.
English: status name from Middle English knyghte ‘knight’, Old English cniht ‘boy’, ‘youth’, ‘serving lad’. This word was used as a personal name before the Norman Conquest, and the surname may in part reflect a survival of this. It is also possible that in a few cases it represents a survival of the Old English sense into Middle English, as an occupational name for a domestic servant. In most cases, however, it clearly comes from the more exalted sense that the word achieved in the Middle Ages. In the feudal system introduced by the Normans the word was applied at first to a tenant bound to serve his lord as a mounted soldier. Hence it came to denote a man of some substance, since maintaining horses and armor was an expensive business. As feudal obligations became increasingly converted to monetary payments, the term lost its precise significance and came to denote an honorable estate conferred by the king on men of noble birth who had served him well. Knights in this last sense normally belonged to ancient noble families with distinguished family names of their own, so that the surname is more likely to have been applied to a servant in a knightly house or to someone who had played the part of a knight in a pageant or won the title in some contest of skill.
200th in the U.S.

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