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Adolf (also spelt Adolph or Adolphe, Adolfo and when Latinised Adolphus) is a given name used in German-speaking countries, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Flanders, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America and to a lesser extent in various Central European and East European countries with non-Germanic languages, such as Lithuanian Adolfas and Latvian Ādolfs. Adolphus can also appear as a surname, as in John Adolphus, the English historian. The female forms Adolphine and Adolpha are far more rare than the male names.

The name is a compound derived from the Old High German Athalwolf (or Hadulf), a composition of athal, or adal, meaning "noble" (or had(u)-, meaning "battle, combat"), and wolf. The name is cognate to the Anglo-Saxon name Æthelwulf (also Eadulf or Eadwulf). The name can also be derived from the ancient Germanic elements "Wald" meaning "power", "brightness" and wolf (Waldwulf).

Due to negative associations with Adolf Hitler, it has declined in popularity since the end of World War II.

Siegel Adolf von Nassau Posse.JPG
PronunciationGerman pronunciation: [ˈaːdɔlf]
Language(s)German, French, Italian, Spanish, Welsh, Portuguese
MeaningNoble wolf, Wolf power or Bright wolf
Other names
Variant form(s)Adi (nickname), Addie (nickname), Ady (nickname), Addy (nickname), Alf (short), Alfie (nickname), Adolff, Adolph, Adolphe, Ādolfs, Adolphus, Adolfo, Aatu, Dolfy (nickname), Dolphy (nickname), Adalwolf, Waldwolf

Popularity and usage[edit]

During the 19th and early 20th century, Adolf was a popular name for baby boys in German-speaking countries and to a lesser extent also in French-speaking countries (spelled there as Adolphe). Due to negative associations with Adolf Hitler, it has declined in popularity as a given name for males since the end of World War II.[1] After Hitler came to power, Adolf became popular again, especially in 1933-1934 and 1937. From 1942, when more and more Germans began to suspect that the war Hitler had started could end in disaster, Adolf's share of all boys' first names plummeted steadily.[2] It remains common among men born before 1945. Adolf Dassler, the founder of Adidas, used his nickname, 'Adi', in his professional life and for the name of his company.[3] After 1945, a few German people have been named Adolf due to family traditions.[4]

Similarly, the French version, Adolphe—previously a fairly common name in France and the name of a classic French novel—has virtually disappeared, along with Italian Adolfo.

However, the Spanish and Portuguese version, Adolfo, has not become stigmatised in the same way. It is still in common use in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries across the world.[5]

Monarchs and nobles[edit]


People with the given name in any variant[edit]










People with the surname Adolf or Adolphus[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Name Adolf statistics and meaning / Vorname Adolf * Statistik und Bedeutung". Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Einer war sogar beliebter als Adolf: Wie die Nazis die Namen ihrer Kinder auswählten". Focus (in German). 2018-11-23.
  3. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  4. ^ "Adolf? Im Ernst?". Der Spiegel (in German). 2017-06-22.
  5. ^ "Adolfo - Baby Boy Name Meaning and Origin". Oh Baby! Names. Retrieved 2017-06-06.