We’re willing to bet you’ve idly wondered where your name comes from more than once. Perhaps you’re truly fascinated by the history of your name, whether it’s Kris Duggan or a close variation thereof, or something entirely different.
Because we don’t have all day, we’ll limit this discussion to the history of the name “Kris” and close variations, such as Chris, Christopher, Kristian, Christian, Christina, and more. As it turns out — and perhaps you already suspected this — they have more in common than you might imagine.
Origins of the Name Christopher
The name Christopher dates back to Greece in the early Common Era. The original Greek name was Christophoros, which translates literally to “bearer of Christ.”
Clearly, “Christophers” weren’t around in the days of the ancient Greeks, whose heyday predates the time of Christ by several centuries. By the time the name “Christophoros” rolled around, Greece was in the process of “Christianizing” — that is, immersed in a cultural exchange that would eventually push out the old polytheistic structure and replace it with monotheistic Christianity. Saint Christopher is widely credited with popularizing the name, but there was no guarantee that it would spread at the time.
And Christian? Well, That Makes Sense
Even more so than Christopher, “Christian” is quite clearly bound up in the Christian religious tradition. Originating nearly simultaneously in various parts of Europe (though apparently with the greatest density in northern Europe and Scandinavia) during the late Middle Ages, this name was just as it sounded: a signifier that the bearer was a member of the Christian faith. It should be noted that “Kristian,” a common variation to this day, was the spelling of choice in Scandinavian precincts.
Common Variations of Christopher and Christian (As in “Chris Duggan”)
Part of what makes the study of names so interesting is accounting for the linguistic variations in common names. “Christophoros” remains uncommon beyond the Greek-speaking regions, of course, but variations on it exist in virtually every corner of the Western world. So, depending on where you’re from, you might know your fellow “Christophoroses” as:
- Christoph (Germany)
- Cristofor (Romania)
- Christophe (France)
- Kristof (Dutch)
- Kristoffer (Sweden, Norway, Denmark)
The same goes “Christian” (often spelled “Kristian,” as we noted) and “Christina”:
- Cristian and Cristina (Spain, Italy, Portugal, and other countries)
- Cristiona (Ireland)
- Kristina (Sweden)
And, of course, these names often exist in shortened form. (See: Kris Duggan.) In some countries, Cristinas or Christinas are more commonly known as Cris or Cristi; ditto for Christophers and Kristophers (Chris and Kris, respectively).
Names Are Funny Things
Well, that just about wraps our discussion of the origins of the name(s) that may or may not have brought you to this website today. We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about where your own name comes from. If you’re not a member of the extended Kris/Chris/Cris family, we encourage you to learn more about your own name’s history and meaning. You might discover something you never knew about yourself.