From the Old French aristocratic and saint's name Hughe, brought to England by Normans, from a short form of Germanic names beginning with Proto-Germanic *hugiz (“heart, mind”), such as Hubert. Cognate with Old English hyġe (“mind, spirit, intellect”). More at high, how.
- A male given name from the Germanic languages.
- c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii]:
- I will rather trust a Fleming with my butter, Parson Hugh the Welshman with my cheese, an Irishman with my aqua-vitae bottle, or a thief to walk my ambling gelding, than my wife with herself.
- 1600 Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker's Holiday:
- Cold's the wind, and wet's the rain, / Saint Hugh be our good speed. / Ill is the weather that bringeth no gain, / Nor helps good hearts in need.
- 1894 W. H. Miller, J. Mcaulauy, W. Stevens, The Leisure Hour, Richard Jones (1894), page 651:
- "You are engaged to Mr. Harden, I suppose?" "Yes, Mr. Harden. I call him Hugh, his second name. I like the name of Hugh. The exquisite long vowel pleases me―Hugh! Hugh!".
- 1996 Ian Rankin, Let It Bleed, Thorndike Press (2000), →ISBN, page 68:
- Hugh McAnally was universally known as "Wee Shug". He didn't know why people called Hugh always ended up nicknamed Shug.
- 2011 Hughie Boy Levoy, Chicago Kid, Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN, page 151:
- What I had noticed all of my young life, from as early as five years old, was that very few people outside my family knew how to pronounce my name―or spell it. "Hue, Hug, Huge, Huh, Hugo. Everything but my name, HUGH!" - - - I grew up thinking that I was the only Hugh in the world, and all my life I'll be meeting people who will have trouble pronouncing my name.
- (rare compared to given name) A patronymic surname.
- Has been used as a transliteration of Aodh, and of other Gaelic names, in Scotland and Ireland.
- Popular given name in medieval England, partly due to the fame of Saint Hugh, bishop of Lincoln. In quiet use today, more common in the U.K. and Ireland than in the U.S.A.