c. 1200, Brutaine, Britaine, from Old French Bretaigne, named for 5c. Romano-Celtic refugees from the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain who crossed the channel and settled there (see Britain). The Little Britain or Less Britain (lasse brutaine, c. 1300) of old, contrasted with the Great Britain. As a name for girls (variously spelled) it was all but unknown in U.S. before 1970, then a top-10 name for babies born between 1986 and 1995. The Brittany spaniel dog breed is attested by 1929.
updated on October 24, 2022