Elder

Elder is a Portuguese male name, a variant of Hélder which either derives its name from a Dutch town called Den Helder possibly meaning “hell’s door” in Dutch, or “hill/hilly grounds”, or it could be a derived from Germanic given name Hulderic meaning “merciful ruler” or “graceful ruler” from Germanic elements hulda (merciful, graceful) and ric (power, rule). Elder is also a surname, originally used to differentiate between two men with the same name (like a father and son) and Elder would refer to the oldest (or senior). As an English word it’s used to refer to someone who is older or who had a higher rank.

Elder also refers to a type of tree as well as a flower deriving from Old English ellærn meaning “elderberry tree”. The elder tree is often depicted in folklore, associated with magic and witchcraft. One such folklore is that if a person cut down an elder tree without permission of the Elder-Mother than it would take revenge upon that person, and that witches tend to congregate under an elder tree.

Origin: Dutch, Germanic, Old English

Male forms:

  • Hélder (Portuguese)
  • Helder (Portuguese)

 

Female forms:

  • Eldra (English)