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Bernard (M)>

Bernard (male)

Synonym(s):Brian (M)
Variants:Bearnard (M) Bernardino (M) Bernardo (M) Bernat (M) Bernd (M) Berndt (M) Bernhard (M) Bernhardt (M) Bernt (M)
Pet Name(s):Barney (M) Barny (M) Bernie (M)
Derivative of:Beornheard (M)
Feminine form:Bearnas (F) Bernadette (F) Bernardette (F)
Source(s): The Oxford Names Companion, OUP
"Scottish Forenames" - Donald Whyte, FGH, FSG
Rootsweb Y-IRL Discussion Group [BM2 & KD]

English and French, from the Old German "stern/brave/noble bear". The Old English name was Beornheard.

A correspondent [BM2] has noted that Brian and Bernard can be interchangeable, especially in Irish Catholic families.  A correspondent [KD] suggests the reason is that Bernard is a recognized Catholic saint whereas Brian is not.