Nicolaides (Greek: Νικολαΐδης) is patronymic of the personal name, Nikolaos (Greek: Νικόλαος), a common Greek first name which means "victory of the people" or "power of the people". In addition, "laos" or "λαὸς" in Greek, originates from the word root "-las", as found in the word "λα-τομεῑο" meaning "stone" or "rock" (in Greek Mythology, Deucalion and Pyrrha recreated the people after they had vanished in a catastrophic deluge, by throwing stones behind their shoulders while they kept marching on). The name became popular through Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia, the inspiration for Santa Claus.
The customary English version of spelling "Nicholas", using an "h", is derived from one way of transliterating the diacritic on the 'o' of the original Greek word Νικόλαος. The name is believed to have first come into use in the 12th century and to have been firmly established by the time of the Reformation. Nonetheless, the spelling "Nicolas" without "h" (as well as Nikolas) is occasionally found in English speaking countries. In 2006, Nicholas – and its variations – was the 17th most popular male name given to babies in the USA. Roughly 0.7151% of the baby boys born that year, or 15,414, were given that name. It is decreasing in popularity, from a high in 1997, when 27,248 US males were given the name Nicholas. That year was the most popular year for Nicholas since 1880, when U.S. records were kept for given names.
The Eastern & Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Anglican Churches celebrate Saint Nicholas every year on December 6, which is the name day for "Nicholas". In Greece, the name and its derivatives are especially popular in maritime regions, as St. Nicholas is considered the protector saint of seafarers.