Nils Name Meaning & Origin

Nils

Pronunciation: NEELZ (key)

Origin of the name Nils:

Danish and Swedish cognate of the Greek Nikolaos (victory of the people) a compound name composed of the elements nikē (victory) and laos (the people). The name was borne by St. Nicholas, a 4th-century bishop of Myra about whom many legends have grown. He is known to children as the bringer of gifts on Christmas.

From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.

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Comments and insights on the name Nils: | Edit

I've only known one person with this name, and he pronounced it with the i sounding like the i in "it" rather than the e sound it says in the pronunciation guide here.

On Top Chef Masters, swedish chef Nils Noren also pronounced the i in his name like the i in "it" rather that the pronounciation given here. This is because of Nils' almost unnatural obsession with hedgehogs.

The pronunciation (when we lived in Norway) was definitely 'Kneels', though I have to agree that this is the proper way, and not quite as daft as the swedish way, which sounds more like a jazz musician falling down some stairs. My son has the same dilemma, that where we live people hardly even know the name and it is colloquially said 'Nills', though in saying that I think he is more comfortable being a 'Nills' than a 'Kneels' so it hardly matters!

My name is Nils, and I pronounce it 'Nillz', like the plural of nil. People definitely have trouble with the pronunciation. I get Niles, Niels, Nills, and my nephew for a while called me Uncle Nails. Most people however, just shout verbal abuse as soon as they learn my name.

Personal experiences with the name Nils: | Edit

My beautiful son is a Nils. He is tall, strong, a real athlete, and handsome, every bit the Viking Nils!
It is a lovely strong name - we lived in Scandinavia, and in some areas it is still a popular name choice, quite common in older age groups.
I love the name.

I'm named after Nils Carlson the Elf from a Swedish children's story of the same name. People constantly mispronounce the name, but I enjoy having it. It makes me feel out of the ordinary, which is a good thing. It's not the easiest to make fun of, but boy do people have a hard time spelling it, even though it's phonetic.

Nicknames for Nils: | Edit

Nilsy; NooNoo; Nilsybub (mothers - these are cute when they are FIVE, and a great way to embarrass them when they are SIXTEEN!); Arsebandit

Meanings and history of the name Nils: | Edit

This is anecdotal, but I was told by a dear old Norwegian lady that it was a viking name, a proud, strong male name from the days when the Vikings took to the waters - originally driven out of hunger and a need to feed their children and families, rather than bloodlust.
Norwegians today are such a lovely people - I cant imagine their period in time when a good portion of the world quaked in fear at their mention.
If this snippet of history is true, it makes it all the more interesting, but either way it's a great name.

Sources I've seen say it means 'Champion'.

Famous real-life people named Nils: | Edit

Nils Noren, VP of of culinary arts the French Culinary institute in New York. Contestant on Top Chef Masters.

Nils Petter Molvær, Norske jazz trumpeter, Oslo, Norge.

Nils Lofgren, guitarist with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band

Nils Abrahamsson, friend with famous Swedish YouTuber.

Nils Allen 'Booboo' Stewart Jr, American actor

Nils in song, story & screen: | Edit

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is a book by Selma Lagerlöf. It has been made into movies and the character is even featured on the reverse side of the Swedish 20 krona banknote (according to Wikipedia).

Also, in the original Rescuers book, there is a heroic Norway rat named Nils.

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67
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Smart?

73
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Sexy?

64
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Friendly?

65
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Creative?

63
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Strong?

59
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Young?

63
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Sophisticated?