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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

masc. proper name, German, from Old High German Uodalrich, literally "of a rich home," from uodal "home, nobility" (related to Old English æðele "noble," Old Norse oðal "home").


Ulrich , formerly Huldrich or Huldrych, is a Germanic name, derived from Old High German Uodalrich (uodal- meaning "heritage" and -rich meaning "powerful"). It is also common as a surname, which includes the following Germanic variants: Ullrich, Urich, Ulich, Ulerich/Ullerich, Ulricher/Ullricher, Ulrisch/Ullrisch, Ulrych/Ullrych, Ulman/Ullman, Ulmann/Ullmann, Uler/Uller, Uli, Ülke, Ützle, Utz, Utzmann, Olrich/Ollrich, Oelrich and Ahlrich.

The surname "Ulrich", and its variants, spread across Europe during the middle ages. This was largely in devotion to Saint Ulrich, Bishop of Augsburg (c. 890 - 4 July 973) who twice defended Augsburg from hostile attacks by pagan Magyars. Saint Ulrich was known for his courage, high moral standard, and loyalty to Emperor Otto I ("Otto the Great"). As a result, it is not uncommon to find variants of the surname "Ulrich" (as identified below) in non-German speaking lands, including England, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and the Scandinavian countries.

Other language variants of the surname "Ulrich" include the following: Ulric/Ullric (English), Ulrick (English), Alaric/Allaric (English), Alarich (English), Alarick (English), Aleric (English), Alerick (English), Alrick (English), Wolrich/Wollrich (English), Woolrich (English), Woolrych (English), Yulrich (English), Ulric (English and French), Ueli (Scandinavian), Ulrik/Ullrik (Scandinavian), Ulrike/Ulrikke (Scandinavian), Ulrica/Ulrika (Scandinavian), Alarik (Scandinavian), Alrik (Scandinavian), Ulloriaq (Greenlandic, Scandinavian), Ulderico/Ullderico (Italian), Ulrico/Ullrico (Italian), Huldericus (Latin), Oldřich/Oldrich (Czech, Slovak), Volek/Vollek (Slovak, Czech), Ulryk/Ullryk (Polish), Ulryc (Polish), Ryczek (Polish), Ódor (Hungarian), Uldis/Ulldis (Latvian), and Odalric (Catalan).

Usage examples of "ulrich".

Loeche impassable, the father and his three sons go away and leave the house in charge of the old guide, Gaspard Hari, with the young guide, Ulrich Kunsi, and Sam, the great mountain dog.

By degrees the young guide, Ulrich Kunsi, a tall, long-legged Swiss, left old man Hauser and old Gaspard behind, in order to catch up the mule which bore the two women.

Old Gaspard spent his afternoons in watching the eagles and other rare birds which ventured on those frozen heights, while Ulrich returned regularly to the Gemmi Pass to look at the village.

For three weeks Ulrich had not been to the edge of the precipice from which he had looked down on the village, and he wanted to go there before climbing the slopes which led to Wildstrubel.

His soul, almost before it was released, had taken its flight to the inn where Ulrich was sleeping, and it had called him by that terrible and mysterious power which the spirits of the dead have to haunt the living.

And Ulrich felt that it was there, quite close to him, behind the wall, behind the door which be had just fastened.

But suddenly the strident cry of the other evening pierced his ears, and it was so shrill that Ulrich stretched out his arms to repulse the ghost, and he fell backward with his chair.

One evening, however, Ulrich heard nothing more, and he sat down, so overcome by fatigue, that he went to sleep immediately and awoke in the morning without a thought, without any recollection of what had happened, just as if his head had been emptied during his heavy sleep, but he felt hungry, and he ate.

And her mother declared that it was Ulrich, although his hair was white.

Assuredly there was a disturbing element in the forest, and Ulrich could guess the quarter from whence it came.

In the pain and languor that Ulrich himself was feeling the old fierce hatred seemed to be dying down.

Georg Znaeym was silent for so long that Ulrich thought, perhaps, he had fainted with the pain of his injuries.

There was silence again for some minutes, and then Ulrich gave a joyful cry.

Ulrich, Duke of Brandenburgh, I proceed to the solemn duty that hath devolved upon me.

Ulrich Endelbert speaks of him as: Uir in omni scientia adeo divinus, ut nostri temporis stupor et miraculum congrue vocari possit (De summo bono, III, iv).