Mildred is a female given name in English-speaking countries that means "gentle strength." The name comes from the Old English name Mildðryð, comprising the words "mild" and "ðryð," meaning "power" or "strength." The popularity of the name originated with 8th century English abbess Saint Mildred, who was the daughter of a Mercian king and a Kentish princess.
Although "Mildred" existed as a somewhat uncommon female name throughout the Anglosphere from the Middle Ages through the 19th century, it suddenly zoomed to popularity in the early 20th century; from 1903 through 1926, it was in the top ten baby girl names in the United States every single year.
The incredible popularity of the name ultimately proved its undoing, as in the latter half of the 20th century there were vast numbers of grandmothers named "Mildred," and nothing is more fatal to a name than becoming known as an "old lady" or "old man" name. In 1983, Mildred fell out of the top 1000 names, and has never returned.
That said, by now almost everyone who was born between 1903 and 1926 has already passed away, so the "old lady" stigma will eventually pass, and it may not be long before a classic name like Mildred starts to make a comeback.
Famous "Mildreds" include: