English, French, German, and Czech: one of the most enduringly successful of the Germanic personal names introduced into Britain by the Normans. It is composed of the elements ric power + hard hardy, brave, strong. It has enjoyed continuous popularity in England from the Conquest to the present day, strongly influenced by the fact that it was borne by three kings of England, in particular Richard I (1157–99). He was king for only ten years (1189–99), most of which he spent in warfare abroad, costing the people of England considerable sums in taxes. Nevertheless, he achieved the status of a folk hero, and was never in England long enough to disappoint popular faith in his goodness and justice. He was also Duke of Aquitaine and Normandy and Count of Anjou, fiefs which he held at a time of maximum English expansion in France. His exploits as a leader of the Third Crusade earned him the nickname “Cœur de Lion” or “Lion-heart” and a permanent place in popular imagination, in which he was even more firmly enshrined by Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe (1820). Cognates: Irish Gaelic: Ristéard. Scottish Gaelic: Ruiseart. Welsh: Rhisiart. Italian: Riccardo. Spanish: Ricardo. Low German: Rikert. Scandinavian: Rikard. Polish: Ryszard.
Short forms: English: Rick, ****, Rich.
English and Irish: topographic name for someone who lived by a fen or marsh, Old English fenn.