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Philip Name Meaning (Origin, Popularity & Nicknames)

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

Philip Overview

  • Meaning: Philip means “friend to horses” or “lover of horses.” It can also mean “horse friend” or “wild horse.” Philip is composed of the Greek “philos,” meaning “dear,” and “hippos,” meaning “horse.”
  • Gender: Philip is a male name that pairs with the female Philomena.
  • Origin: Philip is the English version of the Greek Philippos, meaning “friend of horses.” It was heavily influenced by Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great’s father. From ancient military heroes to the kings of Europe, Philip has continuously been associated with royalty and power.
  • Pronunciation: Philip is pronounced “FIHL-uhp” in English.
  • Popularity: Philip was a top 100 name for U.S. boys in the 19th- and 20th-centuries. It recently ranked in the top 500th to 600th names in the U.S.
  • Nicknames: Filbert, Filly, Fip, Fips, Flip, Lip, Phil, Philly, Philo, Pip, Piper, Pipkin, Pippin, Plip.
  • Variations: Felip, Felipe, Filib, Filip, Filipp, Filippi, Filippos, Fülöp, Philipose, Philipp, Philippe, Philippus, Phillip, Phillipp, Pilib, Pilypas, Piripi, Pothen, Pyllyp, Vilppu.
  • Namesakes: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Philip Glass, American composer and pianist known for his minimalistic scores.

What Does Philip Mean?

Philip is a male name originating from the Greek name Philippos, meaning “horse-loving” or “fond of horses.” Other variations of the meaning include “lover of horses” and “friend to horses.” It derives from the Greek “philos,” meaning “dear,” “loved,” and “loving,” and “hippos,” meaning “horse” or “wild horse.”

What Is the Origin of the Name Philip?

Philip derives from the Latin Philippus and Greek Philippos, which means “friend of horses.” It dates back to the 4th century BCE as the name of Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II of Macedon. Philip was a traditional name in ancient Greece due to the importance of horses in daily and military life. Numerous military heroes and the kings of Macedon used it.

During the Middle Ages, Philip became one of the most popular royal names for kings throughout Europe, especially France, Spain, and Portugal. Philip also appears as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic surname MacFhilib, meaning “son of Philip.” The country known as the Philippines was named so by the Spanish Empire after King Philip II of Spain.

How Popular Is the Name Philip?

Philip has endured as a top 100 boys’ name in the U.S. from the 1800s through 1990. However, its popularity has declined steadily since the start of the 21st century. In the last few years, Philip has ranked between 500th and 600th among U.S. boys’ names. It also ranked 66th in Sweden in 2019, 36th in Denmark in 2015, and 16th in Norway in 2010.

How Do I Pronounce Philip?

Philip is pronounced “FIHL-ihp” in English.

Is Philip a Boy or Girl Name?

Philip is traditionally a boy’s name, while the female equivalent is Philomena.

Variations of Philip

Philip appears in nearly every country on Earth in one form or another:

  • Felip (Polish)
  • Felipe (Spanish)
  • Filib (Scottish)
  • Filip (Slavic)
  • Filipp (Russian)
  • Filippi (Italian)
  • Filippos (Greek)
  • Fülöp (Hungarian)
  • Philipose (Indian)
  • Philipp (German)
  • Philippe (French)
  • Philippus (Latin)
  • Phillip (English)
  • Phillipp (English)
  • Pilib (Irish)
  • Pilypas (Lithuanian)
  • Piripi (Maori)
  • Pothen (Indian)
  • Pyllyp (Ukrainian)
  • Vilppu (Finnish)

Nicknames for Philip

There are some extraordinarily adorable nicknames for Philip:

  • Filbert
  • Filly
  • Fip
  • Fips
  • Flip
  • Lip
  • Phil
  • Philly
  • Philo
  • Pip
  • Piper
  • Pipkin
  • Pippin
  • Plip

Similar Names to Philip

Choose one of these masculine yet dignified names which may remind you of Philip:

Middle Names for Philip

Philip can partner with a good number of different middle names:

Sibling Names for Philip

Philip can enjoy a brother or sister using any of these beautiful names:

Famous People Named Philip

From royals to actors, there are many famous people named Philip:

  • Philip Carey: American actor on the soap opera “One Life to Live.”
  • Philip Chen Nan-lok: Hong Kong CEO of Cathay Pacific.
  • Philip Craven: English president of the International Paralympic Committee.
  • Philip Dulebohn: American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist.
  • Philip Erenberg: American gymnast and Olympic silver medalist.
  • Philip Farkas: American horn player for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Philip Glenister: English actor appearing on the series “Life on Mars.”
  • Philip Gunawardena: Sri Lankan founder of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.
  • Philip Hamilton: American poet and son of Alexander Hamilton.
  • Philip Hearnshaw: Australian producer of “Happy Feet 2” (2011).
  • Philip Jalalpoor: German basketball player on the Iran national team.
  • Philip K. Dick: American science fiction writer of “The Man in the High Castle.”
  • Philip Perry: Associate Attorney General of the U.S.
  • Philip Pullman: English writer of “His Dark Materials.”
  • Philip Rivers: American football player with the New York Giants.
  • Philip Roller: Thai footballer with the Thai national team.
  • Philip Roth: American writer of “The Plot Against America.”
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman: American actor known for “The Master” (2012).
  • Philip Webster: English editor at The Times.
  • Philip Wong: Hong Kong deputy of the National People’s Congress.

Philip in Popular Culture

Find out how often Philip has occurred within popular culture:

  • Philip: Main character in the Japanese series “Kamen Rider W.”
  • Philip Banks: Character appearing on the 1980s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
  • Philip Bauer: Name of Jack Bauer’s father in the TV series “24.”
  • Philip J. Fry: Main character in the animated series “Futurama.”
  • Philip Kiriakis: Villain on the American soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”
  • Philip Lenox: Character from the 2001 film “Little Secrets.”
  • Philip “Lip” Gallagher: Character in the American-English series “Shameless.”
  • Philip Mannering: Character from the children’s book “The Adventure Series.”
  • Philip Marlowe: Detective character created by author Raymond Chandler.
  • Philip Reardon: Known as the Ten-Eyed Man, a character in DC Comics.
  • Philip the Diesel Boxcab: Character on the children’s series “Thomas and Friends.”
  • Philip Traum: Character in Mark Twain’s “The Mysterious Stranger.”
  • Philip Wittebane: Character from the animated TV series “The Owl House.”

Philip FAQs

Philip has appeared in unique ways throughout history as a name and surname.

What Does Philip Mean in the Bible?

In the New Testament of the Bible, Philip is one of Christ’s 12 apostles. Philip is known for handing out food to the 5,000 whom Jesus miraculously fed with just five loaves and two fish. He was also known as Philip the Evangelist because he spread the word about Christianity. The name Philip also then became the name for many later Christian saints.

What Does the Name Phillips Mean?

The patronymic surname Phillips stems from the first name Philip and originated in England in the 13th-century. It means “son of Philip,” also based on the Greek Philippos, meaning “friend of horses.” It’s a common surname in Wales and is an Anglo form of the Gaelic MacPhilib or McPhillips.

What Clan Is Philips?

The Clan Philips/Phillips originated in Scotland and dates back to the 13th century. They were ancient Britons who were pivotal in the growth of Scotland as a nation and also appeared in Wales. Later descendants of the Philips/Phillips include James Philipps, a 17th-century Welsh politician in the House of Commons.

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.