A Dictionary of Names with Name Meanings and Name Origins
The Name Peter - Origin and Meaning of Peter

The Name Peter - Origin and Meaning of Peter



Origin of the Name Peter


Usage of the Name Peter

English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovak, Slovenian, Biblical

Meaning of the Name Peter

The name Peter is derived from the Greek word "petros" meaning "stone, rock". The name is most commonly associated with St. Peter, one of Jesus' twelve apostles. He was originally Simon son of Jona (or Jonah), a fisherman from Galilee. Peter lent Jesus the use of his boat from which Jesus would give sermons. Since he was one of two Simons among the apostles, Jesus renamed him Cephas (Aramaic for "stone") to designate him as a leader, the rock on which he would build his church. Cephas was translated to Petros when the New Testament was written in Greek. Simon Cephas is traditionally regarded as the founder of the Christian Church. He is also regarded as the first Pope by the Roman Catholics. The name Peter was first used as a personal name in 13th-century England, and has been in continuous use since then.

Interesting Facts about Peter

- The name Peter is etymologically related to the word petrify ("to turn to stone") and the prefix petro- (for example, petroleum "oil", petroglyph "stone writing"). Related places include the ancient Roman province Petraea and the city of Petra, Jordan.
- Since the biblical Peter was a fisherman, there are many words and phrases related to boats and fishing that include the name Peter. For example, St. Peter's fish (which has two spots, one on each side, said to be St. Peter's fingerprints) and Peter's bark or boat or ship (the Catholic Church).
- The phrase "rob Peter to pay Paul" means borrowing from one to pay another.

Famous Bearers

Bearers of the name include Peter Ustinov (1921 - 2004), an English actor and writer; Peter Falk (1927 - 2011), an American actor; Peter O'Toole (born 1932), an American actor; Peter Boyle (1935 - 2006), an American actor; Peter Yarrow (born 1938), an American musician; Peter Jennings (1938 - 2005), a Canadian-American journalist; Peter Fonda (born 1940), an American actor; Peter Gabriel (born 1950), an English musician; Peter Frampton (born 1950), an English musician; Peter Jackson (born 1961), a New Zealand film director; Peter Vidmar (born 1961), an American Olympic gymnast.

In literature, the most famous character is Peter Pan, created by Scottish author J. M. Barrie (1860 – 1937). In the children's composition Peter and the Wolf by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891 - 1953) the main character is also Peter.

Names Related to Peter

List of names related to Peter.
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