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Oscar


Gender: Masculine
Language
: English, Swedish
Etymology:
Oscar can come from two different sources:
1. It can be a Germanic name Ansgar, or Osgar, or Norse Asgeirr, meaning “God Spear,” from “os” (god) and “gar” (spear).
-or-
2. It can be from Irish Gaelic and mean “Dear Friend” from “os” (dear) and “cara” (friend).

History:
Osgar, an Anglo-Saxon name, was present in England before the Norman Conquest, but did not last long afterwards.

At roughly the same time, Osgar’s cousin name, the Scandinavian Ansgar, may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders, becoming Oscar. Alternately, the Irish name Oscar may have risen independently out of Irish Gaelic elements.

In any case, the name Oscar entered into Irish legend, and was given to the son of Oisín and grandson of Fionn mac Cumhail.

The Irish name Oscar was exported to the rest of Europe through the works of Scottish author James Macpherson. Mr. Macpherson adapted many Irish legends, claiming to have “translated” them from an old, native “Scottish Gaelic” written by “Ossian.” Macpherson’s stories were popular throughout Europe. His fans included Sir Walter Scott and Napoleon.

In fact, Napoleon liked them so much he named his godson Oscar (the son of King Charles XIV of Sweden). The godson eventually became King Oscar I (1799-1859) and the name spread throughout the Germanic world (Scandinavia and Germany) and became popular there.

In the United States, the name Oscar has long been common. It was at its most popular in the mid-19th century, a time of heavy German and Scandinavian immigration. Oscar still remains common today.

Pronunciation: os-kar.

Diminutives:
English: Ossie, Ossy, Os, Ocky, Ockie.
Finnish: Okko, Osku.

Alternates:
Finnish: Oskari.
French (Norman): Ansgar, Anskar.
German: Oskar.
Hawaiian: Oka.
Hungarian: Oszkár.
Scandinavian: Oskar.
Scottish Gaelic: Osgar.
Slavic: Oskar.

Surnames:
English: Angier, Angear, Aunger.
French: Anger, Anquier, Ansquer.

Famous Bearers:
Artists and Authors:
Oscar G. Rejlander (1813-1875)
Swedish painter.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900)
Irish writer.
Oscar Ivar Levertin (1862-1906)
Swedish poet.
Oscar Straus (1870-1954)
Austrian composer.
Oskar Braaten (1881-1939)
Norwegian novelist.
Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)
Austrian painter.
Oskar Maria Graf (1894-1967)
German novelist.
Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960)
American lyricist.
Oscar Niemeyer (1907-)
Brazilian architect.
Óscar Ribas (1909-)
Angolan novelist.
Oscar Peterson (1925-)
Canadian jazz musician.
Oscar Hijuelos (1951-)
American novelist.

Educators, Scholars, and Social Workers:
Oscar Montelius (1843-1921)
Swedish archaeologist.
Oscar Sonneck (1873-1928)
American librarian.
Oskar Morgenstern (1902-1977)
German-American economist.
Oscar Handlin (1915-)
American historian.

Fictional Characters:
Oscar the Grouch
From the children’s television program Sesame Street.

Miscellaneous:
Oscar Charleston (1896-1954)
American baseball player.
Oscar Robertson (1938-)
American basketball player.
Oscar de la Hoya (1973-)
American boxer.

Political Figures:
Oscar Solomon Straus (1850-1926)
American politician.
Oscar W. Underwood (1862-1929)
American politician.
Oscar Mafakafaka Mpetha (1909-1994)
South African political activist.
Oscar Arias Sánchez (1941-)
President of Costa Rica.

Religious Figures:
Saint Ansgar (801-865)
Medieval missionary and patron saint of Denmark.

Royalty:
Oscar I (Joseph-François-Oscar) (1799-1859)
King of Sweden and Norway.
Oscar II (Oscar Fredrik) (1829-1907)
King of Sweden and Norway.

Scientists:
Oskar Hertwig (1849-1922)
German embryologist.
Oskar von Miller (1855-1934)
German electrical engineer.
Oskar Bolza (1857-1942)
German mathematician.
Oskar Minkowski (1858-1931)
German physiologist.
Oscar Auerbach (1905-1997)
American pathologist.

Singers and Entertainers:
Oscar Homolka (1898-1978)
Austrian-American actor.
Oscar Cody (1907-1999)
American actor.

Popularity:
Percentage from the 1990 U.S. Census:
0.122 % named Oscar

Popularity of Oscar:
Popularity (for newborns):
In the United States...
1850: 83rd most popular.
1875: 37th most popular.
1880: 29th most popular.
1881: 28th most popular.
1882: 28th most popular.
1883: 27th most popular.
1884: 30th most popular.
1885: 28th most popular.
1886: 26th most popular.
1887: 29th most popular.
1888: 31st most popular.
1889: 32nd most popular.
1890: 29th most popular.
1891: 32nd most popular.
1892: 33rd most popular.
1893: 33rd most popular.
1894: 34th most popular.
1895: 39th most popular.
1896: 40th most popular.
1897: 37th most popular.
1898: 41st most popular.
1899: 46th most popular.
1900: 47th most popular.
1901: 47th most popular.
1902: 55th most popular.
1903: 51st most popular.
1904: 54th most popular.
1905: 56th most popular.
1906: 64th most popular.
1907: 59th most popular.
1908: 65th most popular.
1909: 70th most popular.
1910: 74th most popular.
1911: 68th most popular.
1912: 73rd most popular.
1913: 76th most popular.
1914: 76th most popular.
1915: 88th most popular.
1916: 86th most popular.
1917: 87th most popular.
1918: 87th most popular.
1919: 88th most popular.
1920: 90th most popular.
1921: 92nd most popular.
1922: 92nd most popular.
1923: 96th most popular.
1924: 99th most popular.
1925: 99th most popular.
1926: 105th most popular.
1927: 114th most popular.
1928: 122nd most popular.
1929: 116th most popular.
1930: 125th most popular.
1931: 129th most popular.
1932: 138th most popular.
1933: 142nd most popular.
1934: 143rd most popular.
1935: 143rd most popular.
1936: 152nd most popular.
1937: 154th most popular.
1938: 158th most popular.
1939: 159th most popular.
1940: 168th most popular.
1941: 164th most popular.
1942: 172nd most popular.
1943: 169th most popular.
1944: 178th most popular.
1945: 176th most popular.
1946: 181st most popular.
1947: 187th most popular.
1948: 184th most popular.
1949: 186th most popular.
1950: 193rd most popular.
1951: 199th most popular.
1952: 204th most popular.
1953: 203rd most popular.
1954: 197th most popular.
1955: 211th most popular.
1956: 217th most popular.
1957: 217th most popular.
1958: 238th most popular.
1959: 244th most popular.
1960: 245th most popular.
1961: 245th most popular.
1962: 245th most popular.
1963: 235th most popular.
1964: 243rd most popular.
1965: 232nd most popular.
1966: 230th most popular.
1967: 234th most popular.
1968: 237th most popular.
1969: 229th most popular.
1970: 225th most popular.
1971: 222nd most popular.
1972: 205th most popular.
1973: 203rd most popular.
1974: 190th most popular.
1975: 185th most popular.
1976: 183rd most popular.
1977: 182nd most popular.
1978: 180th most popular.
1979: 184th most popular.
1980: 176th most popular.
1981: 172nd most popular.
1982: 175th most popular.
1983: 183rd most popular.
1984: 178th most popular.
1985: 170th most popular.
1986: 169th most popular.
1987: 163rd most popular.
1988: 162nd most popular.
1989: 155th most popular.
1990: 123rd most popular.
1991: 122nd most popular.
1992: 120th most popular.
1993: 113th most popular.
1994: 118th most popular.
1995: 126th most popular.
1996: 124th most popular.
1997: 127th most popular.
1998: 128th most popular.
1999: 117th most popular.
2000: 123rd most popular.
2001: 117th most popular.
2002: 117th most popular.
2003: 121st most popular.
2004: 123rd most popular.

In France...
1900: 72nd most popular.
1910: 95th most popular.
1920: 139th most popular.
1930: 165th most popular.
1940: 200th most popular.
1950-1999: N/A
2000: 174th most popular.

In Sweden...
1998: 16th most popular.
1999: 12th most popular.
2000: 18th most popular.
2001: 16th most popular.
2002: 14th most popular.
2003: 22nd most popular.
2004: 18th most popular.

Popularity of Oskar:
Popularity (for newborns)
:
In Sweden...
1998: 22nd most popular.
1999: 17th most popular.
2000: 24th most popular.
2001: 25th most popular.
2002: 25th most popular.
2003: 30th most popular.
2004: 29th most popular.


Selected Sources:
The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, Withycombe, 1977, 3rd ed.
A Dictionary of First Names, Hanks and Hodges, 1990
The Penguin Dictionary of First Names, Pickering, 1999

The Social Security Administration Actuarial Note 139 (www.ssa.gov) - For popularity stats 1880-Present
The 1880 U.S. Census- For popularity stats 1850-1880, and other information (it is available on-line at www.familysearch.org)




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