masc. proper name, from French Léopold, from Old High German Leutpald, Liutbald, literally "bold among the people," from leudi, liut "people," from PIE root *leudh- (2) (see lede (n.2)) + bald "bold," from Proto-Germanic *baltha- (see bold (adj.))
"a people, nation, race; the subjects of a lord or sovereign; persons collectively" (as in all lede "all the world"); obsolete, from Old English leod "nation, people," leode (Northumbrian lioda "men, people," cognate with German Leute "nation, people;" Old High German liut "person, people," from PIE root *leudh- (2) "people" (source also of Old Church Slavonic ljudu, Lithuanian liaudis "nation, people").
Old English beald (West Saxon), bald (Anglian) "stout-hearted, brave, confident, strong," from Proto-Germanic *balthaz (source also of Old High German bald "bold, swift," in names such as Archibald, Leopold, Theobald; Gothic balþei "boldness;" Old Norse ballr "frightful, dangerous"), perhaps from PIE *bhol-to- suffixed form of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell."
Meaning "requiring or exhibiting courage" is from mid-13c. Also in a bad sense, "audacious, presumptuous, overstepping usual bounds" (c. 1200). From 1670s as "standing out to view, striking the eye." Of flavors (coffee, etc.) from 1829. The noun meaning "those who are bold" is from c. 1300 in both admiring and disparaging senses. Old French and Provençal baut "bold," Italian baldo "bold, daring, fearless" are Germanic loan-words. Related: Boldly; boldness.