What does the baby name Nelson mean? Learn about what Nelson means, its history & origin, popularity in our random name database, pronunciation, similar names, nicknames & spelling variations.

Nelson - Name Meaning, Origin & Popularity

Spelling of Nelson
N-E-L-S-O-N, is a 6-letter male given name.
Pronunciation of Nelson
NEL sun
Meaning of Nelson
Son of neil, son of neil or nell, neil's son, son of neal.
Origin of Nelson
The name 'Nelson' originates from the English language and has its roots in the surname 'Nelson', which means 'son of Neil'. Neil is a Gaelic name derived from the Old Irish name Niall, meaning 'champion' or 'cloud'. The name 'Nelson' first emerged as a surname in Scotland and Ireland, where it was used to identify a person as the son of Neil.
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Popularity of Nelson
The popularity of the name 'Nelson' has fluctuated over time. In the 19th century, the name experienced a notable spike in usage due to the admiration for British naval hero Admiral Horatio 'Nelson'. His heroic actions during the Napoleonic Wars made him a national hero and a symbol of bravery and leadership. Many parents named their sons 'Nelson' in honor of the famous admiral.
Nelson currently has 121 likes, and is in the top 3% of liked boy's names. The name Winston is slightly more popular than Nelson.

Etymology of Nelson

The etymology of the name 'Nelson' can be traced back to the Old Irish name Niall, which means 'champion' or 'cloud'. The name Niall has deep roots in Celtic mythology and was associated with kingship and nobility. Over time, the name Niall evolved into Neil, and the surname 'Nelson' emerged as a patronymic form, meaning 'son of Neil.'

Cultural Significance of Nelson

The name 'Nelson' holds cultural significance in various contexts. In African-American culture, the name 'Nelson' became popular during the Civil Rights Movement as a tribute to 'Nelson' Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and statesman. Mandela's fight against racial segregation and his advocacy for equality inspired many parents to name their children 'Nelson', symbolizing their hope for a more just and inclusive society.