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Origin, Meaning, And History Of Russell

Russell is a Norman-originated name that stems from the surname Russell. The name is also a variation of the French name Russel, which means “red-haired.” Ireland has been native to this Norman surname since the 12th century. Huguenots with the same Old French ancestry as Roussel have helped perpetuate it in Britain and Ireland.

Traditionally, theories have been put out regarding the name’s origin. Early genealogists tracked down the surname to the Russel/Russel family of Kingston with Anglo-Norman landowners with the toponymic surname “de Rosel” or “du Rozel.” The last name is believed to be derived from Rosel, Calvados in Normandy.

This Norman name has been established in Ireland since the 12th century. It has been reinforced in Britain and Ireland by Huguenot bearers of the name Roussel. The nicknames of the name Russell include Russ, Rusty, and Russy.

The British philosopher Bertrand Russell, who published on various topics, including mathematics, logic, and epistemology, is a prominent bearer of the surname. He also participated in political activism for issues like pacifism and women’s rights. He is also credited for framing Russell’s Paradox, a mathematical set-theoretic paradox in 1901.

The name Russel has been used in fiction, in both novels and movies. Idris Elba portrayed the fictional Russell “Stringer” Bell in the American crime drama series “The Wire.” In seasons 1 and 2, he serves as a secondary antagonist. In season 3, he becomes the primary antagonist. In the novel, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, Fenchurch’s big, blow-dried sibling is called Russell. “True Blood,” an American fantasy horror drama series developed and produced by Alan Ball, features a character named Russell Edgington. It is based on Charlaine Harris’ series of novels “The Southern Vampire Mysteries.” Russell is a tea sea otter in the American adult animated online series “Happy Tree Friends,” created by Aubrey Ankrum, Kenn Navarro, and Rhode Montijo for Mondo Media.


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One who is short and red-haired
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How To Pronounce Russell?


Famous People With The Name Russell

  • Russell Lincoln AckoffAmerican organizational theorist, Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of Management Science at the Wharton School
  • Russell Earl BanksAmerican writer of fiction and poetry, known for “Continental Drift” and “Affliction”
  • Russell G. ClearyAmerican brewer, best known for building the G. Heileman Brewing Company
  • Russell HansbroughFormer American football running back, played for New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers
  • Russell Conwell HobanAmerican expatriate writer with his works spanning fantasy, science fiction, magical realism genres

Russell On The Popularity Chart

The name Russell was at its peak popularity in the 1980’s but since the starting of 2000s, it has been in a stagnant position.

Popularity Over Time

During the 1980s, there were more than 3000 babies per million registered under the name Russell. Click on the graph to know more about its popularity range.

Source: Social Security Administration

Rank Over Time

Russell was a popular name during the 1980s, but never made it to the top 1000 names in the United States in the last four decades.

Source: Social Security Administration

Names With Similar Sound As Russell

If you like the sound of Russell and want a name with a similar sound, here are some more alternatives for you.

Names With Similar Meaning As Russell

Are you in search of a name that has a meaning similar to Russell for your child’s sibling? Explore the names in this list.

Name Numerology For Russell

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