masc. personal name, from French Georges, Late Latin Georgius, from Greek Georgos "husbandman, farmer," properly an adjective, "tilling the ground," from gē "earth" (see Gaia) + -ergos "that works," from ergon "work" (from PIE root *werg- "to do").
The name introduced in England by the Crusaders (a vision of St. George played a key role in the First Crusade), but not common until after the Hanoverian succession (18c.). St. George began to be recognized as patron of England in time of Edward III, perhaps because of his association with the Order of the Garter (see garter). His feast day is April 23. The legend of his combat with the dragon is first found in "Legenda Aurea" (13c.). The exclamation by (St.) George! is recorded from 1590s.
The cult of George reached its apogee in the later Middle Ages: by then not only England, but Venice, Genoa, Portugal, and Catalonia regarded him as their patron: for all he was the personification of the ideals of Christian chivalry. ["The Oxford Dictionary of Saints"]
updated on September 19, 2021