masc. proper name, from Latin Antonius, name of a Roman gens (with an unetymological -h- probably suggested by many Greek loan words beginning anth-, such as anthros "flower," anthropos "man").
St. Anthony (4c.), Egyptian hermit, was patron saint of swineherds, to whom one of each litter was usually vowed, hence Anthony for "smallest pig of the litter" (1660s; in condensed form tantony pig from 1590s). St. Anthony's Fire (1520s), popular name for erysipelas, is said to be so called from the tradition that those who sought his intercession recovered from that distemper during a fatal epidemic in 1089.
updated on September 23, 2022