Baldwin \b(a)-ld-win, bal-dwin\ as a boy's name is of Old French and Old German origin, and the meaning of Baldwin is "bold, brave friend". Adopted by the Normans and introduced by them to Britain. In the Middle Ages, it was rather common, and gave rise to a surname. It was borne by Norman crusader Baldwin of Boulogne, who was elected first king of Jerusalem in 1100. It continued to be used by some families in England into the 17th century, but in modern times it usually represents a transferred use of the surname rather than a direct revival of the Norman given name. Baudoin is a royal name in Belgium. Baldovino is the Italian form. Author James Baldwin.