From Old French Perceval, name of a knight in a twelfth century Arthurian romance by the French poet Chrétien de Troyes. Shaped like Old French perce (“pierce”) + val (“valley”), but probably representing some Gaulish or Old Welsh name, possibly related to Welsh Peredur, from ber (“spear, lance”), from Proto-Celtic *beru (“spit”) + dur (“hard metal, steel”). Cognate with German Parsifal.
- 1953 Agatha Christie, A Pocket Full of Rye, page 20:
- Lancelot Fortescue! What a name! And what was the other son - Percival? He wondered what the first Mrs Fortescue had been like? She had a curious taste in Christian names...