Girl Baby Name

Gertrude

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Quick Facts on Gertrude

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Dutch, English, German
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • N/A
Pronunciation:
GUR-trood
Simple meaning:
Spear of strength

Characteristics of Gertrude

  • Authoritative
  • Powerful
  • Tough
  • Tenacious
  • Wealthy
  • Problem-solver
  • Achiever

Etymology & Historical Origin - Gertrude

Gertrude is a female personal name of Germanic origin, from the components “gēr” meaning “spear” and “þrūþ” meaning “strength” hence the full meaning “spear of strength”. The name was used in the vicinity of present-day Germany and the Low Countries (the low-lying delta region around where the Rhine meets the North Sea). Saint Gertrude the Great was a prominent 13th century German mystic who gave her life over to Christ after He apparently called upon her to place her head against his breast and listen to his heartbeat. Gertrude became a well-known theologian of her day, but she is most famous for her prayers on behalf of those in purgatory. When invoked, it is said Jesus releases 1,000 souls from purgatory. Settlers from the Low Countries most likely introduced the name Gertrude to England during the prosperous cloth trade of the 16th century. Then in 1600 William Shakespeare used the name Gertrude for the character of Hamlet’s mother. Gertrude was already in consistent usage, but didn’t achieve any significant popularity among English speakers until the 19th century.

Popularity of the Name Gertrude

With all the brouhaha surrounding the revival of “old lady” names, we were surprised to see this one not make the list. Most people seem to think it’s just too grandmotherly for a young girl, but before you discount her, consider the cute pet forms such as Trudy and Gertie. Remember, Gertie was the name of Drew Barrymore’s five-year-old loveably mischievous character in the 1982 blockbuster “E.T.” Arguably the cutest character ever on film (Shirley Temple excluded). We “get it”, though. This one is just too dated for most people’s tastes. Turn-of-the-century names that are finding favor again today are more feminine like Emma, Evelyn, Grace and Olivia; rather than the older and stronger names of Germanic origin: Adelaide, Mildred, and Helga, for example. Parents prefer more flowery female names today, and Gertrude ain’t no flower – she’s got the “strength of a spear”. Plus, Gertrude is a number Eight in numerology which is the number all about strength, power and abundance. Coincidence? Perhaps not. Back in 1900, Gertrude was the 23rd most popular female name in America. In 1966, the name disappeared from the charts and has yet to return. We hope people come around to it, because we think it has a certain charm all its own. One other interesting factoid about Gertrude: St. Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of cats and mice if you’re looking for a good name for one of your own little critters.
Popularity of the Girl Name Gertrude
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Gertrude

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Gertrude

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Gertrude

    Gertrude (Hamlet) Queen Gertrude of Denmark is the mother of Hamlet in one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies written in 1600. In the play, Gertrude marries Claudius, her husband’s brother and, more importantly, his murderer (her original husband being King Hamlet, or Hamlet’s father). This, of course, makes for a rather tumultuous relationship between mother and son. She is also criticized by Hamlet for displaying an inadequate amount of guilt or sorrow over the events which took place. Old Gertrude makes few apologies for her “o'erhasty marriage” to Claudius (which occurred less than a month after her husband’s death). But the question remains: was Gertrude complicit in the murder of her husband, or was she merely a medieval Danish gal forced to adapt to the realities of a situation not of her making? Well, this question tortures poor Hamlet into madness (or is it his desperation for Ophelia’s love which serves to juxtapose his relationship with Mom?). He does proclaim at one point: "Frailty, thy name is woman!" as if to throw Gertrude into the “weaker gender” bucket. Hamlet is also overly concerned about Gertrude’s sex life in that Freudian Oedipal way; even The Ghost urges him to leave that subject alone, but Hamlet is obsessive with his thoughts. In the end, Gertrude makes the ultimate sacrifice for her son, or does she? (Perhaps the play's final scene answers all of those curious questions posed throughout the play or perhaps it only serves to complicate them even more). In the scene, Gertrude drinks from the poisoned cup intended for her son. Her dying words are vague still: "No, no, the drink, --O my dear Hamlet, / The drink, the drink! I am poison'd." Did his mother die for him as the ultimate display of her love and innocence, or did she accidentally drink the poison with no intentions of ever dying? Was she just thirsty? Let’s just say Queen Gertrude is one of the more complex characters in English literature who leaves us wondering about the true nature of her character. That’s why we admire her, even if a bit reluctantly.

  • Popular Songs on Gertrude

    Popular Songs on Gertrude

    Gertrude's Dream - a waltz by Ludwig Van Beethoven

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Gertrude

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Gertrude

    Gertrude and Reginald the Monsters Talk about Living and Nonliving (Eric Braun) - Gertrude and Reginald are both monsters that hide under beds, but they couldn't be more different. Or so they think. Come along to learn how living things are all alike, yet different from nonliving things. Recommended for ages 5-8.

    Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude (Jonah Winter) - Gertrude is Gertrude. And Alice is Alice. And Gertrude and Alice are Gertrude and Alice. And you are welcome to join them for tea. But beware, for there you will find a bear in a chair, just barely scary. And here is a beard with a man attached to it. And then, of course, some words might appear, uninvited, but delighted in spite of their light bulbs. But, but, but, but - that doesn't make any sense! Yes! In a story inspired by the oh-so-modern groundbreaking writing of Gertrude herself, not a lot makes sense. Even so, the oh-so-popular author Jonah Winter, and the ever-so-popular illustrator Calef Brown, and the most popular poodle of all time, Basket, invite you to enter the whimsical world of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Gertrude

    Famous People Named Gertrude

    Famous People Named Gertrude - Gertrude Stein (writer); Gertrude Chandler Warner (children's book author); Gertrude Abercrombie (painter); Gertrude B. Elion (Nobel-winning pharmacist) (1988); Gertrude Lawrence (actress); Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (aristocrat); Saint Gertrude (various Catholic saints)

  • Children of Famous People Named Gertrude

    Children of Famous People Named Gertrude

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Gertrude - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Gertrude.

Personality of the Girl Name Gertrude

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Variations of the Baby Name - Gertrude

  • No Variations Found.
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