Naming a Baby Boy Nicholas

The name Nicholas is better known as St. Nick or Santa Claus, the patron saint of children, merchants, and sailors, and especially well known for his generosity.

Gender –  Masculine and feminine name Nicola.

Pronunciation –  NI-ko-las in English, nee-Ko-LA in French

Etymology – The name Nicholas comes from the Greek meaning “victory of the people”.

Origins and History

Nicholas goes way back to the 4th century where he was a bishop from Anatolia, and the legend was told that he save a poor man’s daughters from prostitution. Another legend says Saint Nicholas (270-310) was a bishop of Myra, a place in Asia Minor which is now known to us as Turkey. The bishop was well know for his generosity, especially toward children. Pope Saint Nicholas of Rome would later carry on this namesake and became known for his establishing the importance of the Papacy during the Middle Ages. His birth is unknown, but he died November13,1867.

The story of Saint Nicolas goes back to the Dutch who celebrated the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas on Dec. 6. However, when the Protestant Reformation came about in the 16th century, this was outlawed. When the Dutch emigrated to the United States, specifically “New Amsterdam”, which is now New York ( 17th century), they revived this celebration and brought back the custom of “Sinter Klaas”, later becoming Santa Claus.

Because of the generosity of Saint Nicholas, he later became depicted as an older man in flowing white beard, rewarding good children with gifts, and bad children sometimes with lumps of coal ( created by parents of course!). Later, this custom became more connected to the birth of the baby Jesus, and from there this appealed to Christian families who celebrated December 24th.

Since then, the chain of Nicholas has carried on to include two characters in Shakespearean plays by that name. Five popes, one anti-pope, two Czars, one king of Denmark, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, 13 saints, 1 blessed, 1 explorer, 1 notable artist, 1 philosopher, and even a tropical storm that has carried on the legacy of St. Nick!


From 1900-1980’s, the name of Nicholas stayed in the 20% range for popularity. After that, it soared to #17 out of 1000 names. Nicholas is not so popular in England and Scotland, probably due to religious reasons. 


* Nikolas – English, Greek
* Nikki – English
* Nicole – French, Dutch, England
* Nick – English
* Klaus – German, Dutch
* Claus – German, Dutch
* Collin – English

Nicholas of the world are considered masculine, strong, classic, formal, refined, serious,
upper class, and wholesome.


* Nicolas Cage – actor
* Nick Wheeler – singer in All American Rejects
* Nicholas Sparks – author
* Nicholas Tse – actor/singer
* Nicholas Colasanto ( Jan. 19,1924-Feb. 12, 1985)- actor, Coach Ernie Pantusser on “Cheers”
* who also directed series “Starsky and Hutch” and “CHIPS”
* Nicholas is the son of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
* Nick Nolte – actor

Places With the Name of Nickolas:

* San Nicolas – Argentina
* Sank Nikolai – Australia
* Sint Nicolaas – Aruba
* Sint-Niklaas – Belgium
* Saint- Nicolas – Quebec, Canada
* Saint-Nicolas-de-Port- France
* San Nicola la Strada – Italy
* San Nicolas – Phillipines
* San Nicolas Island, California
* Saint Nicolas – Wales
* Nicholas County – West Virginia

Facts and Fun Information:

You can’t have a pizza parlor without one being called “Nick’s” which is found in San Jose, called Nick’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant. Besides pizza, Nick’s also serves the very best roast beef in Philly, Pennsylvania.

In some circles, the devil is known as Old Nick.

Nicholas Owens ( 1550) was a Catholic male who was the size of a dwarf and was famous for building places with which to hide clergyman after the Anglican Church was founded. His family would rather pay fines every Sunday than to attend an Anglican Church, therefore his loyalties to the Catholic clergymen.

Before Heath Ledger’s death, he was very obsessed with the story and music of Nick Drake, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 26, in 1974. Nick’s song called “Black Eyed Dog” engaged Heath so much, he made a video of it in Jan. 22, 2008.

Nicholas seems to be a heroic and noble name for many fictional characters in books. Nicholas Flemmel in Harry Potter’s The Sorcerer’s Stone was actually a real French Alchemist who made a philosopher’s stone. Nicholas Nickleby was a character in the Charles Dickens book.

Sir Nicholas Winton is a British stockbroker who organized the Kindertransport to save Jewish children from Czechoslovakia and Austria after Kristallnacht.

For fans of the Backstreet Boys, Nick Carter was named Ambassador of the Year of the Dolphin.