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Peter Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Peter Overview

  • Meaning: Peter means “rock” and “stone.”
  • Gender: Peter is traditionally a boy’s name.
  • Origin: Peter is taken from Petros, a Greek title. Peter is also connected to Kefa, the Aramaic title first appearing in the Bible.
  • Pronunciation: Peter is pronounced “PEE-ter.”
  • Popularity: Peter is popular in the United States and across the pond. Peter was most popular in 1955, but remains a top 300 pick for American boys.
  • Nicknames: Pete, Petey, Peeta, Pete-O.
  • Variations: Pedro, Pierre, Piers.
  • Namesakes: Peter, patron saint of fishermen and netmakers. Pete Postlethwaite, English actor. Pete Murray, Australian singer-songwriter.

What Does Peter Mean?

Peter means “rock” or “stone,” giving it a steadfast feel. In the Bible, Simon bar Jonah, one of Christ’s disciples, was renamed Peter. Christ christened him Peter, saying in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock, I will build my church.” Peter was the author of two New Testament books and was one of the Twelve Apostles.

Simon Peter later became the patron saint of fishermen, locksmiths, and netmakers. Many consider Peter the first bishop or pope of Rome, playing a vital role as an early Christian leader. He was also admired for his boldness. It’s said that Saint Peter holds the keys to heaven, adding to this title’s religious interpretation.

What Is the Origin of the Name Peter?

Peter has Greek roots and comes from Petros, a derivative of Petra. Peter is also connected to Kefa, the Aramaic title featured in the New Testament. Peter was first used in England, where it appeared as Piers. With the Norman Invasion, Piers died out, and Peter became the preferred spelling.

How Popular Is the Name Peter?

Due to its biblical connection, Peter is well-known worldwide. Peter is particularly prevalent in America, where it peaked in 1955, ranking among the top 35 boy names. Though Peter isn’t as famous as it once was, it’s still among the top 300 names for American boys.

How Do I Pronounce Peter?

Peter is pronounced “PEE-ter” worldwide.

Is Peter a Boy or Girl Name?

Peter is primarily a boy’s forename, but it’s also a cool middle name.

Variations of Peter

Check out these adorable variations of Peter.

  • Pathrus (Hindi)
  • Pedro (Basque, Filipino, Galician, Spanish)
  • Petro (Greek)
  • Petrus (Latin)
  • Piarus (Irish)
  • Pierre (French)
  • Piers (Old English)

Nicknames for Peter

Try one of these cute nicknames for Peter.

  • Peep
  • Peeta
  • Peppi
  • Pete
  • Pete-O
  • Pete-Pete
  • Petey
  • Petey-Pie
  • Pip
  • Sweet Pete

Similar Names to Peter

Here are some names that have similar endings and origins to Peter’s.

Middle Names for Peter

Try one of these brilliant middle names for Peter.

Sibling Names for Peter

Check out these adorable sibling names for Peter.

Famous People Named Peter

Here’s a list of Peter’s most famous namesakes.

  • Peter: Apostle of Christ and the patron saint of fishermen.
  • Peter Alonso: American baseball player.
  • Peter Bartsocas: American musician.
  • Peter Capaldi: Scottish actor known for his role in “Dr. Who.”
  • Peter Chandler: American football player.
  • Peter Frame: American ballet dancer.
  • Peter Jennings: American news anchor.
  • Peter Linde: Swedish sculptor.
  • Peter Sinfield: English poet and songwriter.
  • Peter Wallis: British diplomat.

Peter in Popular Culture

Keep an eye out for these references to Peter in pop culture.

  • Peter: Character and goatherder in the hit novel “Heidi” by Swiss author Johanna Spyri.
  • Peter Brady: Character in the popular American sitcom The Brady Bunch.
  • Peter Griffin: Leading character in TV’s “Family Guy.”
  • Peter Hale: Character in MTV’s hit show “Teen Wolf.”
  • Peter Pan: Character in the namesake book and Disney film.
  • Peter Parker: Alias for Marvel Comics’ “Spider-Man.”
  • Peter Pettigrew: Character in the Harry Potter franchise.
  • Peter Rabbit: Beloved character in children’s books.

Peter FAQs

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the name Peter.

What Is Peter Known For?

When people think of Peter, they’re reminded of the biblical figure who later became a Saint. Simon Peter was among Christ’s most controversial disciples, but ultimately, his loyalty transformed him into a spiritual hero.

Catholics, in particular, associate Peter with sainthood, as Saint Peter is one of the church’s most popular icons. Fans of childhood whimsy may think of Peter Pan or the lovable Peter Rabbit.

What Is the Female Version of Peter?

The female version of Peter is Petra, which also means “stone” and “rock.” Like Peter, Petra is derived from Petros. You’re not likely to see Petra in America, but it’s all the rage in Germany, Hungary, and Slovakia. Fun fact: Petra was also the title of a popular Christian 80s hairband.

What Is a Nickname for Peter?

Peter has many adorable nicknames, including Pete and Petey, which are the most popular. Less common options include Peeta, Petey-Pie, Pete-O, and Sweet Pete. Of course, you can always go with P, an old standby that keeps things short and sweet.

What Does Peter’s Name Mean In the Bible?

Peter is mentioned throughout the New Testament as a disciple of Christ. He was initially named Simon bar Jonah, but Christ dubbed him Peter in Matthew 16. Peter means “rock” or “stone,” but its biblical meaning is more profound. Christ’s renaming of this beloved disciple showcased his importance to God’s kingdom. Some believe Christ was foretelling the impact that Simon Peter would eventually have on Christianity.

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About the Author

Cate Hoepner

Cate Hoepner is a professional blogger and freelance writer of seven years. Before transitioning into a writing role, she worked in finance and customer service. Cate enjoys DIY projects, old movies, music, and a good cup of coffee. In her free time, you'll find her homeschooling her three kids, crafting her dream homestead, and reading anything she can get her hands on.