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Archibald (m) Originally a Germanic name, composed
of elements meaning ‘excellent, noble, true’ and ‘bold.’
However, -bald was assumed by Gaelic-speakers to be the word ‘bald’=’hairless,’ which was the usual sign of a
tonsured monk. Archibald was therefore used to translate
the Gaelic name Gilleasbuig (Gillespie), where gille means ‘(shaven) servant or devotee.’ The latter half of
Gillespie means ‘bishop,’ and the Arch- of Archibald
was possibly thought to connect with the first element of
‘arch-bishop.’ But if the name was adopted in Scotland—
at first by the Campbell chiefs, much later by the country as a whole—for the wrong reasons, this did not prevent its becoming extremely popular.

The English comedian, George Robey (1869-1954) had a
great success with a song called Archibald, Certainly Not,
which seems to have had a highly detrimental effect on the name’s image. For some time writers, especially writers outside Scotland, have tended to use the name for characters who are meant to be upper-class idiots. The diminutive forms Arch, Archie, Archy and Airchie
fortunately manage to steer clear of such associations.
Scottish surnames such as Baldie, Baldy, Baldison may
derive from ‘descendant of Archibald,’ though the Old
English personal name Baldwin, ‘bold friend,’ may have
been the origin of such names.

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