Etzel is the Germanic form of Attila, its most famous bearer being the 5th century leader of the Huns, an ancient Nomadic people across central Europe, and who was feared by the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. Though often depicted as savage, barbaric and merciless, these depictions were made out by his enemies; a closer look by historians reveal a more complex picture of the man. The name is of uncertain origin and meaning though it could possibly be linked to Gothic atta meaning “father” with a diminutive suffix so essentially meaning “little father”. However, it’s also possible that the name may be derived from a Turkic origin, such as Turkic *es (great, old) and *t il (sea, ocean) so the name could essentially meaning “oceanic, universal ruler”. It may also be connected to Turkic āt (name, fame) and atli (horseman, cavalier).

Etzel is the Germanic version of Attila the Hun in the Nibelungenlied, a Germanic epic poem. Etzel is also a surname, either originating from Attila or else it may have originated as a shortened form of Albrecht, the German form of Albert meaning “noble bright”.

Origin: Gothic, Turkic, Proto-Indo-European



  • Attila (Hungarian)
  • Atila (Turkish)
  • Atilla (Turkish)
  • Etzel (Germanic)
  • Etele (Hungarian)


Female forms:

  • Etelka (Hungarian)


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