Nigel Gender Male Origin Word/Name Niall -> Njáll -> Neel, Niel, Nihel -> Nigellus -> Nigel Region of origin Normandy, England
Nigel (pronounced /ˈnaɪdʒəl/) is an English masculine given name. The name is derived from the Latin Nigellus. This Latin word would seem to derive from the Latin niger, meaning "black"; however this is thought to be an example of an incorrect etymology created by French speaking clerics, who knew Latin as well, to translate the Norman first name Neel in the Latin written documents. Indeed, the Latin word nigellus gave birth to Old French neel (modern nielle), meaning “black enamel” (same word as niello) and it explains the confusion, because the clerics believed it was the same etymology as the first name Neel, spelled the same way.
In fact, the Old Norman first name Neel (modern surname Néel) derives itself from the Norse Njáll. The Norse Njáll, in turn, is derived from the Gaelic Niall. The English Nigel is commonly found in records dating from the Middle Ages, however it was not used much before being revived by 19th century antiquarians, such as Sir Walter Scott who published The Fortunes of Nigel in 1822. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published Sir Nigel in 1905/06. Nigel was a common name for boys born in England and Wales during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (see below).
Nigel has never been as common in other countries, but has been among the thousand most common names for boys born in the United States since 1971 when 94 births were recorded with the name. Numbers peaked in 1994 when 447 were recorded (it being the 478th most common boys name that year). There were 244 in 2009. The peak popularity at 0.02% of boys names in 1994 compares to a peak popularity in England and Wales of about 1.2% in 1963, 60 times higher.
England and Wales
Year Number 1840 1 1850 2 1860 1 1870 7 1880 8 1890 10 1900 18 1910 24 1920 71 1930 164 1940 445 1950 1943 1960 4383 1963 5529 1970 2469 1980 413 1990 125 2000 25 2010 18
Notable men named Nigel
- Nigel D'Oyly (Néel d'Ouilly), Anglo-Norman lord
- Nigel d'Aubigny (Néel d'Aubigny), Norman nobleman
- Nigel, Bishop of Ely (Néel d'Ely ) (died 1169), Anglo-Norman bishop
- Richard FitzNeal or Richard FitzNigel (Richard Fitz-Néel ) (died 1198 ), his son, bishop of Ely
- Nigel Ayers, multimedia artist
- Nigel Barker, fashion photographer
- Nigel John Taylor, bass player of Duran Duran
- Nigel Benn, British boxer
- Nigel Bennett, actor, director, and writer
- Nigel Benson, writer and illustrator
- Nigel Bond, snooker player
- Nigel Bruce, actor
- Nigel Clough, British footballer
- Nigel Dick, director, writer, and musician
- Nigel Edwards, former Welsh professional footballer
- Nigel Evans, British politician
- Nigel Farage, British politician, MEP (UKIP)
- Nigel Godrich, recording engineer and record producer
- Nigel Gresley, steam locomotive engineer
- Nigel Havers, actor
- Nigel Hawthorne, actor
- Nigel Haywood, Governor of the Falkland Islands
- Nigel Hess, British composer
- Nigel Horspool, Invented the Boyer–Moore–Horspool algorithm
- Nigel Holmes, graphic designer
- Nigel Irens, yacht designers
- Nigel Keay, violist and composer
- Nigel Kennedy, violinist and violist
- Nigel Kneale, scriptwriter
- Nigel Latta, psychologist
- Nigel Lawson, British politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Nigel de Longchamps, 12th-century English poet
- Nigel Lythgoe English television, film director and producer
- Nigel Mansell, British racing car driver
- Nigel Martyn, British football goalkeeper
- Nigel Marven, British wildlife television presenter, television producer, author, and hobby ornithologist
- Nigel McGuinness, professional wrestler
- Nigel Melville (born 1961), English rugby union player, coach, and administrator
- Nigel Mitchell, British television presenter and radio presenter
- Nigel Morris, cofounder of Capital One
- Nigel Olsson, drummer for Elton John, solo recording artist
- Nigel Pivaro, An English actor famous for his role as Terry Duckworth in Coronation Street
- Nigel Planer, actor
- Nigel Reo-Coker, An English footballer currently playing for Bolton Wanderers
- Nigel Short, chess player
- Nigel Smart, Australian rules footballer
- Nigel Stock, actor who played Dr Watson
- Nigel Watson, British blues-rock guitarist
- Nigel West, pen name of Rupert Allason
- Nigel Winterburn, former Arsenal and England footballer
- Nigel Worthington, footballer and subsequently manager for, in turn, Blackpool, Norwich City, Leicester City and Northern Ireland
- Sir Nigel Thornberry, fictional wildlife documentary producer from The Wild Thornberrys
- Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist for the fictional band Spinal Tap
- Nigel Olifaunt, Lord Glenvarloch, main character of Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Fortunes of Nigel'
- Sir Nigel (Loring), a novel by Arthur Conan Doyle
- Nigel Pargetter, a character on the BBC radio soap opera The Archers
- Nigel Forrester, a character from Bratz Rock Angelz whom Cloe falls in love with
- Nigel Uno, a fictional character from Codename: Kids Next Door
- ^ Origine et histoire des noms de famille, Marianne Mulon, editions errance, 2002. p 119.
- ^ "Neill Name Meaning and History". Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com/facts/Neill-name-meaning.ashx. Retrieved 2 August 32009. For the etymology of the surname Neill this web page cites: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4.
- ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia (2006). Hardcastle, Kate. ed. Oxford Dictionary of Names (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1.
- ^ Popular baby names
- ^ Macquarie Australian English Dictionary, Macmillan Publishers Australia 2010
- ^ Extracted from indexes of births registered in England and Wales in www.ancestry.co.uk. Numbers for some years may contain some duplication with boys appearing twice in the index.
- ^ ONS Spreadsheet
- ^ ONS Spreadsheet
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