Eric Name Meaning

baby boy standing in a cot

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What Does Eric Mean? 

Eric is a typically masculine name that means “forever ruler” or “always ruler.” It’s an Old Norse name derived from the Norse word “Eirikr” which means “sole ruler” or “ever powerful”. While the name Eric can be traced to Norse origins, several cultures and traditions also lay claim to the name. 

In Ancient Germanic, it was one of the most common names for boys. Across Denmark, Norway, and Sweden several kings and members of royalty have been given the name Eric. One of the earliest bearers of the original form of the name was Eirikir inn Rauda who was also known as Eric the Red. He was a 10th-century explorer who discovered Greenland. 

Although Eric is historically a boy’s name it can be given to a child of any gender. However, feminine variations like Erica and Erika are typically preferred for girls. Eric is also a short form of the name Frederick. Eirikir is made up of two elements, “ei” which means "always or ever," and “rikr” which means "ruler."

  • Origin: Eric is an Old Norse Name
  • Gender: While Eric is typically given to boys, you can give the name to babies of any gender 
  • Pronunciation: Air-rik

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular is the Name Eric? 

Although Eric has been a historically popular name in many regions of Europe, it hasn’t always been a popular name in regions like America and England. In the 19th century, it experienced a surge in popularity. This can partly be attributed to the popularity of the children’s novel “Eric, or Little by Little” written in 1858 by Frederic William Farrar.

According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration, Eric is the 198th most common name for boys in the United States. Eric enjoyed the most popularity in the United States from the mid-sixties to the late eighties. In those years it stayed consistently on the top 25 list of most popular names for boys. The peak of its popularity was in 1970. In that year, 23,574 babies were named Eric. Eric is no longer as popular as it was a couple of decades ago, but it remains a solid choice for a baby name. 

Name Variations 

Eric has several name variations from languages and cultures all across the world. Some of the most common of them include: 

  • Arick (English)
  • Eerick (Estonian)
  • Eirik (Norwegian)
  • Eirikur (Icelandic)
  • Erich
  • Erick (English, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Slovene, Norwegian) 
  • Erico (Portuguese) 
  • Erikas (Lithuanian) 
  • Erkki (Estonian)
  • Eryk (Polish) 
  • Jerrik (Danish) 

Similar Names

If you like the name Eric, you’ll also like names like: 

  • Alexander 
  • Brandon
  • Caleb
  • Cedrick 
  • Christopher 
  • Derek
  • Ethan 
  • Evan
  • Garrett
  • Ian
  • Jeffrey 
  • Matthew 
  • Nicholas 
  • Owen 
  • Robert 
  • Russell
  • Sean

Suggested Sibling Names 

Wondering what sort of sibling names would pair great with Eric? Here are some names you could consider: 

  • Ava
  • Charlotte 
  • Elizabeth
  • Emma 
  • Lily 
  • Olivia 
  • Rose 

Famous People Named Eric    

Eric is a great name for babies of any gender. If you’ve decided to name your baby Eric, here are some famous and inspiring people who are also named Eric. 

  • Eric Andre, American comedian 
  • Eric Bana, Australian actor 
  • Eric Bazilian, American singer, and songwriter 
  • Eric Burdon, English singer, songwriter, and actor 
  • Eric Clapton, English guitarist, and songwriter 
  • Eric Gordon, American professional basketball player 
  • Eric Hutchinson, American singer, and songwriter 
  • Eric Lange, American actor 
  • Eric McCormack, American actor 
  • Eric Nam, Korean-American singer and songwriter 
  • Eric Prydz, Swedish DJ, and producer 
  • Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google 
  • Eric Staal, Canadian hockey player 
  • Eric Welsh, British chemist, and naval intelligence officer 
  • Eric Yuan, founder, and CEO of Zoom Video Communications 

Erik is the most common variation of the name Eric. If you are considering this form of the name, here are a few famous people also named Erik

  • Erik Gustaf Boström, former Prime Minister of Sweden 
  • Erik Breukink, Dutch racing cyclist 
  • Erik Durm, German footballer 
  • Erik Estrada, American actor 
  • Erik Johnson, American hockey player 
  • Erik Kynard, American high jumper 
  • Erik Satie, French composer 
  • Erik Zabel, German cyclist 

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options: 

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popularity of the name Eric.

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.