The Meaning of the Name Arnold History, Origins, and Significance

Arnold is a popular name that has been around for centuries. It has Germanic origins and means “ruler,” “eagle power,” or “strong as an eagle.” In this article, we’ll explore the meaning and history of the name Arnold, its significance in various cultures, and some notable people who bear the name.

What is the origin of the name Arnold?

The name Arnold has Germanic origins and has been in use since at least the 8th century. It comes from the Old High German name Arnwald, which is derived from “arn” (meaning “eagle”) and “wald” (meaning “ruler” or “power”). The name was brought to England by the Normans after the Norman Conquest in 1066 and became popular during the Middle Ages.

Who bears the name Arnold?

The name Arnold has been borne by many notable figures throughout history, including:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger: Austrian-American actor and former governor of California
  • Arnold Palmer: American professional golfer
  • Arnold Bennett: English writer and novelist
  • Arnold Toynbee: British historian and philosopher
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Austrian composer and music theorist

What is the significance of the name Arnold in various cultures?

In addition to its Germanic roots, the name Arnold has taken on different meanings and associations in various cultures. Here are some examples:

  • In Norse mythology, the god Odin had two ravens named Huginn and Muninn (thought and memory) who would fly around the world and report back to him. One theory suggests that the name Arnold may have originated from the Old Norse name Arnvaldr, which means “eagle ruler” and may have referred to Odin.
  • In Christian tradition, Saint Arnold of Soissons was a 6th-century monk who founded several monasteries in France and Belgium. He is venerated as the patron saint of brewers, as he is said to have convinced the local people to drink beer instead of water during a plague outbreak.
  • In African American culture, the name Arnold has been associated with success and achievement, thanks in part to figures such as Arnold Rampersad, an author and scholar who has written biographies of Langston Hughes and Jackie Robinson.

Pros and Cons of the Name Arnold

Like any name, the name Arnold has its pros and cons. Here are some examples:


  • It has a strong, masculine sound and connotes power and strength.
  • It is a classic name that has stood the test of time.
  • There are many notable figures who bear the name, which may provide inspiration for parents considering it for their child.


  • It may be too old-fashioned or uncommon for some parents.
  • It may be associated with specific individuals (such as Arnold Schwarzenegger) or cultural references (such as the Nickelodeon cartoon Hey Arnold!), which could be a positive or negative depending on one’s perspective.
  • It may be difficult to spell or pronounce correctly, particularly for non-native English speakers.

How to Choose the Name Arnold for Your Child

If you’re considering the name Arnold for your child, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Consider the sound and meaning of the name: Does it fit with your family’s values and traditions? Do you like the way it sounds when spoken aloud?
  2. Think about potential nicknames and variations: Are there any common nicknames or shortened forms of the name that you like or dislike?
  3. Research the name’s history and associations: Are there any cultural or historical meanings or associations that you find appealing or off-putting?
  4. Consult with family and friends: Get feedback from people you trust to see if they have any strong opinions about the name.
  5. Practice saying the name aloud: Make sure it rolls off your tongue and sounds natural when you say it out loud.

Alternatives to the Name Arnold

If you’re not sold on the name Arnold but still want something similar, here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Archer: Similar to Arnold in its association with strength and power, this name means “bowman.”
  • Alistair: This Scottish name means “defender of the people” and has a similar sound to Arnold.
  • Augustus: This Latin name means “great” or “magnificent” and has an old-fashioned charm similar to Arnold.
  • Alden: This English name means “old friend” and has a similar sound and feel to Arnold.
  • Abelard: This French name means “noble strength” and is a more unique option for parents who like the sound of Arnold but want something less common.

Step-by-Step Guide to Naming Your Child Arnold

If you’ve decided that Arnold is the perfect name for your child, here’s a step-by-step guide to naming them:1. Consider the meaning and sound of the name: Think about what the name means and if it fits with your family’s values and traditions. Say the name aloud to get a sense of how it sounds.

  1. Research the name’s history and associations: Look up any cultural or historical meanings or associations that might influence your decision.
  1. Brainstorm potential nicknames and variations: Consider if there are any common nicknames or shortened forms of the name that you like or dislike.
  1. Get feedback from family and friends: Share your top choices with people you trust and see what they think.
  1. Say the name aloud in different contexts: Practice saying the name in different situations, such as introducing your child or calling them in for dinner, to make sure it feels natural and comfortable.
  1. Make a final decision: Once you’ve considered all the factors and gathered feedback, make a final decision on whether Arnold is the right name for your child.

Comparing Arnold to Other Popular Names

If you’re considering the name Arnold but want to compare it to some other popular names, here are some examples:

  • William: This classic English name means “resolute protector” and has been popular for centuries.
  • Jacob: This Hebrew name means “supplanter” and has been a top choice for parents in the United States for decades.
  • Ethan: This Hebrew name means “strong” or “firm” and has risen in popularity in recent years.
  • Noah: This Hebrew name means “rest” or “comfort” and has become increasingly popular in many countries around the world.
  • Alexander: This Greek name means “defender of the people” and has a similar connotation of strength and power to Arnold.

Tips for Naming Your Child Arnold

If you decide that Arnold is the right name for your child, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Give your child a middle name: Consider pairing Arnold with a middle name that complements it well or provides some balance.
  1. Be prepared for mispronunciations and misspellings: While Arnold is a fairly common name, it may be unfamiliar to some people or difficult to spell correctly.
  1. Embrace the name’s history and associations: Talk to your child about the meaning and significance of their name and help them understand its cultural and historical context.
  1. Don’t worry too much about popularity: While Arnold may not be as popular as some other names, it has a classic appeal that will never go out of style.
  1. Enjoy the process: Choosing a name for your child is an exciting and meaningful decision. Embrace the process and have fun exploring all your options!


The name Arnold has a long and rich history, with origins in Germanic and Norse mythology. It connotes strength and power, making it a popular choice for parents who want to instill these qualities in their child. Whether you choose Arnold or another name, remember that the most important thing is to find a name that feels right for your family and reflects your values and traditions.


  1. What is the meaning of the name Arnold?

The name Arnold has Germanic origins and means “ruler,” “eagle power,” or “strong as an eagle.”

  1. Who are some famous people named Arnold?

Some notable figures with the name Arnold include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold Palmer, and Arnold Bennett.

  1. Is the name Arnold still popular today?

While it may not be as popular as some other names, Arnold has a classic appeal that has kept it in use for centuries.

  1. What are some alternatives to the name Arnold?

Alternatives to the name Arnold could include Archer, Alistair, Augustus, Alden, or Abelard.

  1. How do I choose the perfect name for my child?

Choosing a name for your child is a personal decision that depends on many factors, including the meaning and sound of the name, its history and associations, and your own cultural and family traditions. Take your time, do your research, and trust your instincts!

I am Patricia Mann, an experienced professional in the art of naming children. With a wealth of knowledge in the field of baby names, I aim to assist parents in choosing a meaningful and beautiful name for their little ones. My expertise lies in the Name Meaning section, where I delve deep into the origins and significance of names, providing valuable insights that I hope will be beneficial for parents.

Understanding the profound impact a name can have on a child's life, I strive to offer comprehensive guidance. The Name Meaning section is not just a repository of information but a resource where parents can discover the rich tapestry of meanings associated with different names. It is my belief that a child's name is more than just a label; it encapsulates the desires, hopes, and love of the parents.

In this journey of baby naming, my goal is to make the process enjoyable and meaningful for parents, ensuring that the chosen name resonates with the family's values and cultural background. I invite you to explore the Name Meaning of Impeccable Nest section as we embark on the delightful and important task of naming the newest members of your family.

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