Pronounced RICH-ard (English), ree-SHAR (French), ree-KARD or ri-KARD (other variants)

Richard is a name of Germanic (Teutonic) origin meaning "strong ruler" (or alternatively hard, powerful, noble, rich, brave, or stern ruler). The etymology of the name is:

History attributes the Normans with bringing this name to England where it gained in popularity. Three English kings had this name including Richard I (Richard the Lion-hearted - leader of the Third Crusades in the 12th century), and later kings Richard II and III who were made famous by Shakespeare.

Other Languages, Shortened Forms, and Nicknames

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Last Names based on Richard

Circular Meanings

As seen in the american underworld dictionary writeup above, Richard can mean policeman. This is believed to have come from the phrase private dick (e.g., Dick Tracy), a term meaning private detective. Since Dick is a nickname for Richard, this term has gone from "Richard" (the name) to "Dick" (the nickname) to "private dick" (in another form) back to "Richard" (new meaning) simply from common use.

It should be noted that in the military, lower ranking (male) individuals are sometimes referred to as swinging richards which is another circular reference to a different meaning of the word "dick". Swinging Richards is also a common name for gay bars.

Richard is also said to mean turd in Cockney rhyming slang where Richard = Richard the Third = Richard the Turd, as in "That's guy's is a complete Richard."

See also: Fredrick - ruler of peace