The masculine given name Bernard has a German origin, but was early adopted in France also. The meaning of the name is from an Old German compound meaning "bear-hardy", or "brave as a bear". St Bernard of Menthon is the patron saint of mountaineers after whom the St Bernard dog used in mountain rescue work is named. It is very uncommonly used for German children, and other languages have variants. The feminine given name from the same cognate is Bernadine. Nicknames include Barney (masculine), Bernie (unisex), and Bern (masculine). Bernard is also a common surname.