About Names: A name that’s managed to stay in our good Grace(s) for centuries

Superstar Miss Grace Jones

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his October 25th column, he looks at the history of the name Grace.

Grace is from Latin “gratia,” “favor, good will.” In Christian theology, it means “God’s unmerited favor or love.”

Medieval Catholics occasionally used the term as a girl’s name. One example is St. Grace of Lérida in Spain. Born the daughter of a Muslim caliph, she was martyred in 1180. Normans brought the name Grece when they invaded England in 1066. This was probably from a Germanic word meaning “gray,” also found in the first syllable of “Griselda.” Early medieval records used “Grecia” as Grece’s Latin form. By 1250, this changed to “Gracia.” Soon, the everyday English form was “Grace.”

Grace peaked again at 13th in 2003 — though with names more varied today, it accounted for only 0.64 percent of girls born then as opposed to 1.13 percent back in 1890.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Graces in American history!