Although the Romanians know him up to this day as “Vlad Tepes” – nickname acquired because of his unusual cruelty and his favorite method of torture, foreigners often refer to him as “Vlad Dracula” even since he was still alive.
This nickname remains one of the most controversial; even more as the Irishman Bram Stoker named one of the main characters of the famous horror novel “Dracula” after Vlad Tepes [Vlad the 3rd], son of Vlad Dracul.
That is why Westerners are so familiar with the legends spread about him in medieval times.
By examining documents that have survived the centuries, historians have noted that the name “Dracula” was used in combination with all three sons of Vlad Dracul, thus deducing that the latter was inherited, in order to highlight the relationship of family the royal family. By adding a final “a” to the word “Dracul” we could assume that it meant “son of Dracul”.
No, not “son of the devil” as you may find on many sites… that is just a bad assumption based on the translation of “Dracul” – indeed Romanian for devil.
In this example, Vlad Dracula was the son pf Vlad Dracul and grandson of Mircea cel Batran [the Elder].
His father received the name “Vlad Dracul” among the peasants he ruled because he belonged to the Order of the Dragon, and linguists come to conclude that the Latin “draco” [dragon] gave in Romanian “devil“, and in time it gained and meaning of “demon“.
Some linguists [including Romanian Vasile Bogra] believe that that nickname means “damned man” and quote an excerpt from the notes of a former British consul named William Wilkinson which stated:
In the Wallachian language “Dracula” means “devil”. At that time Wallachs made a habit of giving this nickname to all who were distinguished in battle due to courage, cruel actions or skill.