Thierry is a male first name used in France and French speaking countries.
Thierry used to be a "fashionable" first name. There are two kinds of first names.
Some have always been more or less popular, e.g Pierre and Marie in France.
Others are subject to fashion: they rise quickly and spread out from well-educated
urban families to worker classes. They usually disappear after a few years.
Thierry belongs to the second category. Before the 50s, Thierry was a very
rare first name. Thierrys aged more than 50 are bourgeois or blue-bloods. It
grew quickly until the mid-60s. In 1964, it was given to 25 266 babies, which
made it the most popular first name. At the same moment, a TV series called
"Thierry la Fronde" narrated the story of a young Middle Ages dispenser of
justice whose only weapon was a sling. Then Thierry slowly declined over the
years. Today, it's only the 358th first name for babies (2000). 266 284 Thierrys
were living in France by the beginning of 2001.
Thierry derives from the old German words theud ("people"; see Deutsch) and rik ("king").
Other first names that derive from the same root include Terry and Theodoric
(but not Theodore, which has Greek origins).
Because this first name was extremely rare before World War II, there are very few
famous Thierrys in history. However several Merovingian French Monarchs bore
this name. Thierry III (674-681) and Thierry IV (721-737) were called
"rois fainéants". In modern French, this phrase means "lazy
kings", but the actual meaning here is "kings who do nothing" (fait néant):
the real master of the country was not the king, but the "maire du
palais", who was the equivalent of the shogun in ancient Japan. One of
these "maires du palais" eventually took over the throne in year 751 and
established the Carolingian Dynasty.