Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Gunnar

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • Nordic
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 396
GOO-nar; GUN-ner
Simple meaning:

Characteristics of Gunnar

  • Communicative
  • Creative
  • Optimistic
  • Popular
  • Social
  • Dramatic
  • Happy

Etymology & Historical Origin - Gunnar

One might think that Gunnar is related closely to the name Gunner, when in fact each name has distinctly different etymologies. While Gunner (with an “e”) is the transferred use of an English surname, Gunnar (with an “a”) comes from an Old Norse personal name “Gunnarr” (related to Günther). Gunnar is derived from the Old Norse elements “gunnr” meaning “war” and “arr” meaning “warrior” so the name essentially means “warrior”. Gunnarr is also a character in Norse mythology; he was the son of Gjuki and Grimhild (the King and Queen of the Burgundians); he was also the brother of beautiful Gudrun; the best friend of hero Sigurð, and the husband of female warrior Brünhildr. The most prominent of Gunnar legends revolves around his wife. Brünhildr was a beautiful female warrior and powerful Valkyrie who was cursed by the Norse god Odin after she disobeyed his wishes during battle. Brünhildr was put under a sleeping spell and her castle was encircled by a Ring of Fire. She could only be freed by the most valiant warrior willing to cross the flaming ring and rescue her. Sigurð spotted the beauty, crossed the fire and fell in love with her, but Gunnar’s mother (Grimhild) wanted Sigurð to marry her daughter Gudrun and so concocted a magical love potion that would make him forget about Brünhildr and fall in love with Gudrun. In the meantime, Gunnar wanted the fair maiden Brünhildr for himself (although he and his horse were unable to cross the Ring of Fire). Through the use of Grimhild’s magic again, Sigurð was briefly transformed into Gunnar and sent through the flames to fetch the sleeping beauty. After Gunnar and Brünhildr were married, she discovered that she had been tricked. Furious with Sigurð – the one truly worthy of her hand – she asked her husband to kill his own BFF. But since Gunnar and Sigurð had sworn an oath of brotherhood, Gunnar would be breaking his pledge by murdering his friend. Instead, he conspired to have someone else kill Sigurð (with friends like this, who needs enemies, right?). Distraught by the death of her one true love, Brünhildr committed suicide at Sigurð’s funeral. In the end, when Gunnar refused to disclose where he had hidden Sigurð’s treasure to Atli (Old Norse name for Attila the Hun); Gunnar was thrown into a pit of venomous snakes, and Gudrun threw her brother a harp. He played that harp so beautifully that he enchanted all the snakes to sleep...except for one. And it was this last adder who killed Gunnar. As a given name, Gunnar is ϋber-popular in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. It’s not as high ranking in other Nordic countries today.

Popularity of the Name Gunnar

Gunnar first came onto the American male naming scene in 1991. Despite the name’s evidence rooted in ancient Nordic mythology, Gunnar is a relatively new name for Americans. In fact, we can’t help but wonder if some parents are confusing it with Gunner (we almost did). Gunnar is not a particularly popular name in the United States but it is familiar and used with very mild moderation. Some people are not huge fans of the “tough-guy” image portrayed by the “gun” suffix, but in reality, as a Nordic name, Gunnar is not pronounced like Gunner (GOO-nar vs. GUN-ner, respectively). While Gunner has its etymological roots in “heavy artillery”, Gunnar is equally as masculine with its “warrior” meaning. But we would argue that Gunnar is slightly more dimensional given his mythological background.
Popularity of the Boy Name Gunnar
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Gunnar

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Gunnar

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Gunnar

    Gunnar We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Gunnar.

  • Popular Songs on Gunnar

    Popular Songs on Gunnar

    Gunnar - We cannot find any popular or well-known songs featuring the name Gunnar.

  • Famous People Named Gunnar

    Famous People Named Gunnar

    Famous People Named Gunnar - Gunnar Björnstrand (Swedish actor); Gunnar Hansen (actor); Gunnar Gunnarsson (author)

  • Children of Famous People Named Gunnar

    Children of Famous People Named Gunnar

    Famous People Who Named Their Son Gunnar - Ricky Nelson (singer/musician); Boomer Esiason (former football player turned sports commentator)

  • Historic Figures

    Gunnar - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Gunnar - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Gunnar.

Personality of the Boy Name Gunnar

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Variations of the Baby Name - Gunnar

  • No Variations Found.
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