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Arnold is a masculine German, Dutch and English given name.  It is composed of the Germanic elements arn "eagle" and wald "power, brightness".


The name is first recorded in Francia from about the 7th century, at first often conflated with the name Arnulf, as in the name of bishop Arnulf of Metz, also recorded as Arnoald. Arnulf appears to be the older name (with cognates in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse), and German (Frankish) Arnold may have originally arisen in c. the 7th century as a corruption of Arnulf, possibly by conflation of similar names such as Hari-wald, Arn-hald, etc.


The name is attested with some frequency in Medieval Germany during the 8th to 11th centuries, as Arnold, Arnalt, Arnald, Arnolt.


It was occasionally spelled Harnold, Harnald, and the name may have been conflated with an independent formation containing hari- "host, army".


Its etymology ceased to be evident from an early time, and it was sometimes folk-etymologized as Ehrenhold in the early modern period.


The French form Arnaud is recorded from the 10th century, and may have reinforced and been reinforced by cognates in England after the Norman conquest, such as the Anglo-Saxon form Earnweald (Doomsday Book Ernehale; Ernaldus 12th century).


However, the Norman spelling did not survive into the modern period (other than a possible survival in surnames such as Arnall, Arnell, although these names could be of multiple origins, most lilely the Old English), and once standardised spelling swept England, the form Arnold gradually became the norm. In most of the English speaking world, the name regained popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries.


In the United States, Arnold had a relative surge of popularity at the beginning of the 20th century, peaking as the 89th most commonly given masculine name in 1916, but it dropped again below rank 200 by the 1950s.


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