The meaning of the given name Osmar

Don't get me wrong. I didn't build this page to boast about my name. I get many e-mail requests asking me about the meaning or origin of the name "Osmar". The fashion today is to use the Internet to look for names, the origin of some names, or searching for family members. Apparently a search for "Osmar" on most search engines leads to my pages, and people think I am an authority on this matter. Go figure. I already had a good idea since my mother told me how she chose the name when she was a young girl in Germany based on its meaning and origin and decided to give it to one of her future sons, me. :-). I did further research and I found some conflicting answers. However, most explanations converge to the German or English origin. I built this page in the hope that I'll get less questions in the future. ;-)

The name Osmar is a Germanic name (old German or old English). It is becoming rare in Europe but is very common in Latin America like in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, perhaps brought by the wave of European immigrants in the beginning of the 1900s. Many believe that Osmar is Arabic because of its resemblance to Omar (long-lived in Arabic or Gifted Speaker in Hebrew) and Othman (Turkish - Othoman Empire), but it is not.

Apparently Osmar means "Divinely Glorious" or "Glory of God." Os means "Divine" or "God" in old Germanic, while Mar is "Glorious" (Aus dem Germanischen. Bedeutung: ans = "Gott" und mari (althochdeutsch) = "berühmt" - from the German first names web page). Osmar (and its variations) is also common worlwide as a surname (see below).

There are many other names with Os as a prefix. Here are some examples:

  • Osbeorht (or Osbart, Osbert, Osburt) "Divinely brilliant"
  • Osburn (or Osborn, Osbourne) "Divine warrior"
  • Oscar (or Oskar, Osgar) "God's spear"
  • Osman (or Osmen, Osmin) "Godly protection" (also Osmanek in Polish)
  • Osmond (or Osmont, Osmund) "Divine protector" (also Osmondo in Spanish)
  • Osraed (or Osred, Osrid, Osryd) "Divine counselor"
  • Osric (or Osrick) "Divine ruler"
  • Oswald (or Osweald, Oswell) "Divinely powerful" or "Power of God"
  • Oswin "God's friend"
  • Osgood "Divinely good"

    These first names have commonly the diminutive (i.e. nickname) "Ozzi", "Ozzie", or "Ozzy".

    Osmar exists also as a family name. The Mormon Church in Salt Lake City (Family Search) has a long list of members of the Osmar family in the United States and around the world, including variations on the name, such as Osemar, Osmer, Ossmer, Ossmar, Osmore, Osmur, Oesmer, Osmeyer, Usmar, Usmer, Asemar, Hosomer, Hasemer, Hesmer, Hosmar, and Hosmere. The US census of 1920 reports many Osmars in the US.

    Another close first name is Ottomar, Ottmar, or Otmar, also old Germanic, meaning "Glorious or Famous Prosperous One."

    In Brazil, where Osmar is a very common first name, it also mutated into other variations such as Osmaro, Osmarino and Osmario.


    Other facts from the surname database
    Osmar comes from the Old English pre 7th Century male personal name Osmaer, "oss" meaning god and "maer" fame; hence "god-fame". The name Osmar and Osmer (without surname) appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, for Leicestershire and Devonshire respectively but the surname doesn't appear until the early part of the 13th Century. On July 15th 1571, Mary Hosmer, daughter of Richard Hosmer, was christened in Brenchley, Kent, and on September 18th 1580, a Jane Hosmer was christened there also. In April 1635, one, James Hosmer, a clothier, aged 28, his wife Ann and two daughters Marie, age 2, and Ann, (3 months) embarked from London on the "Elizabeth" bound for New England. They were among the earliest recorded name bearers to settle in America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Osmere, which was dated 1230, in the Pipe Rolls of Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

    Interestingly, there is a village in Bulgaria called Osmar (Village of Osmar). Osmar is home to Bulgaria's second largest winery which exports all over the world. The bitter wine "Osmar Pelin" is apparently known worldwide.

    There is also a town in Spain called El Burgo de Osma, the third largest municipality in the province of Soria. It is there that we can find the famous Mappa Mundi by Saint Osma Beatus from the 11th century.


    Now Osmar has nothing to do with Project Ozma, a project carried out between April and July 1960 by DR. Frank Drake at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, West Virginia, USA. [Drake, F. D. "Project Ozma," Physics Today, 14, 140 (1961)]. The project was humanity's first ever attempt to detect interstellar radio transmissions in search for extraterrestrial intelligence. It is this very project that brought about all other famous SETI programs today. Project Ozma was named after queen Ozma of the imaginary land of Oz by L. Frank Baum the author of the Wizard of Oz.
    The link with me, however, is that Dr. Frank Drake began Project Ozma on April 11, 1960. April 11th is my birthday. What a coincidence. ;-)
    If you have comments or more information, let me know.

    Maintained by: Osmar R. Zaïane <zaiane@cs.ualberta.ca>