English form of Eugenius, the Latin form of the Greek name Ευγενιος (Eugenios) which was derived from the Greek word ευγενης (eugenes) meaning "well born". It is composed of the elements ευ (eu) "good" and γενης (genes) "born". This was the name of several saints and four popes.
This name was not particularly common in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. It became more popular in part due to the fame of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), a French-born general who served the Austrian Empire. A notable bearer was the American playwright Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953).