Anselm \a-nse-lm, an-selm\ as a boy's name is pronounced an-SELM. It is of Old German origin, and the meaning of Anselm is "God's helmet". Saint Anselm (11th century) was archbishop of Canterbury during William the Conqueror's reign, and a formidable influence on medieval Christian thought. Selma, a variant of the feminine form, is more common. Painter Anselm Kiefer.