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Christopher Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Christopher including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Christopher Overview

  • Meaning: Christopher means “bearer of Christ.”
  • Gender: Christopher is usually a male name.
  • Origin: Christopher is an Anglicized version of the name “Christophoros,” a Greek name used originally by the early Christians.
  • Pronunciation: Christopher is pronounced like “kris-TUH-fer.”
  • Popularity: As of today, Christopher continues to be in the top 50 popular boy names in the United States.
  • Nicknames: Chris, Chrissy, Critter, Kit, Toph, and Topher.
  • Variations: Christoforos, Christoffel, Christophorus, Cristóbal, Cristoforo, and Kristof.
  • Namesakes: Christopher Meloni, actor.

What Does Christopher Mean?

Christopher is the English version of the Greek boy name Christophoros, also spelled Christoforos. The name is composed of two Greek words: “Christos” and “phérein.”

“Christos” translates literally to “anointed” or “anointed one.” Culturally, it alludes to Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity.

“Phérein” is a Greek verb that means “to bear” or “hold up.” Therefore, when put together, the name Christophoros and its variations mean “Christ-bearer” (1).

What Is the Origin of the Name Christopher?

The name Christopher can be traced back to Greek-speaking early Christians, who used the name Christophoros. It was likely used to signify one’s devotion to Jesus, evoking the idea that they carry Christ in their hearts.

As Christianity gained popularity throughout the centuries, common Christian names spread to various cultures. Notably, people in England started using the name Christopher as early as the fifteenth century.

English-speaking culture even developed a mythology around the name, such as the story of Saint Christopher, who is said to have carried Jesus over a body of water (2).

How Popular Is the Name Christopher?

The name Christopher has always had some popularity since it was first used in the fifteenth century. However, the last 50 years or so have seen a notable increase in parents naming their children Christopher.

Starting around 1940, the United States naming data shows a steady rise in the popularity of the name Christopher (3). From 1979 to 1994, Christopher remained the second most popular male baby name in the country.

Today, Christopher is still ranked in the top 50 most popular male baby names.

How Do I Pronounce Christopher?

Christopher is pronounced “kris-TUH-fer.” The “ch” is pronounced like the “ch” in “chorus,” not the “ch” in “church.” And the “ph” is pronounced like the “ph” in “physics,” not like the “p” in “pen.”

Is Christopher a Boy or Girl Name?

Historically, Christopher has been a common name for boys. Although it’s possible to use Christopher as a girl name, Christopher is currently an extremely popular boy name.

If you want a more classically feminine version of the name Christopher, you could try shortening it to “Chris” or “Christy.”

Variations of Christopher

There are many variations of the name Christopher. Some variations include:

  • Christoforos (Greek)
  • Christoffel (Dutch)
  • Christophorus (Latin)
  • Cristóbal (Spanish)
  • Cristoforo (Italian)
  • Kristof (Scandinavian)

Nicknames for Christopher

Christopher is a great name for nicknames. The most common nicknames for Christopher include:

  • Chip
  • Chris
  • Chrissy
  • Christie
  • Christo
  • Cris
  • Critter
  • Kit
  • Kris
  • Stoff
  • Toph
  • Topher

Similar Names to Christopher

Whether you want another traditional Christian name or a name with similar energy, there are plenty of options from which to choose. Here are some options:

Middle Names for Christopher

Since Christopher is such a classic name, many middle names go with it well. Some ideas include:

Sibling Names for Christopher

When it comes to good sibling names for Christopher, you will have many options from which to choose.

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Christopher

There are various historical figures and celebrities with the name Christopher. Some of the most famous people named Christopher include:

  • Christopher Edwin Breaux: Musician, also known under the stage name Frank Ocean.
  • Chris Cillizza: Political commentator.
  • Christopher Columbus: Italian colonizer.
  • Christopher Cross: Singer.
  • Christopher Eccleston: Actor.
  • Chris Hayes: News anchor.
  • Chris Hemsworth: Actor.
  • Christopher Lloyd: Actor.
  • Christopher Marlowe: Playwright and poet.
  • Christopher Meloni: Actor.
  • Christopher Robin Milne: Son of A.A. Milne and namesake of the fictional character Christopher Robin.
  • Christopher Nolan: Director and producer.
  • Chris Pine: Actor.
  • Chris Pratt: Actor.
  • Christopher Plummer: Actor.
  • Chris Rock: Comedian.
  • Christopher Walken: Actor.
  • Christopher Wallace: The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Chris Wallace: News anchor and broadcast journalist.
  • Saint Christopher: Catholic and Orthodox Christian saint.

Christopher in Popular Culture

As a prevalent name in English-speaking culture, Christopher has popped up quite frequently in fictional works. Some examples of fictional characters named Christopher are:

  • Chris Comer: Character in “Friday Night Lights.”
  • Chris Griffin: Character in “Family Guy.”
  • Christopher Harris: Character in “House Party” who was often called “Kid.”
  • Chris Miles: Character in “Skins.”
  • Christopher Moltisanti: Character in “The Sopranos.”
  • Chris Ostreicher: Character in “American Pie” who went by the nickname “Oz.”
  • Chris Partlow: Character in “The Wire.”
  • Christopher Pike: Character in “Star Trek.”
  • Chris Traeger: Rob Lowe’s character in “Parks and Rec.”
  • Christopher Turk: A character in “Scrubs” that usually went by his last name, Turk.

Christopher FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the name Christopher.

Is Christopher a Good Name?

Christopher is a well-liked name with positive connotations. Aesthetic opinions of names are subjective, but Christopher has been so popular for so many years that you are unlikely to find someone who strongly dislikes it.

Why Is Christopher So Popular?

It’s hard to say why a name becomes popular, but the name Christopher does have a special meaning for Christians. Hence any region where Christianity is prevalent is likely to have more people named Christopher.

Why Do People Spell Christopher With a “K”?

There are a couple of reasons why people might spell Christopher with a “K.” If the name is spelled “Kristoffer,” that means it is the Scandinavian translation of Christopher.

On the other hand, if the name is spelled like “Kristopher,” it is likely a native English speaker making a creative choice, as the “ph” in the name follows English spelling rules.

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