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This name derives from Old High German name “Gislin”, which in turn derives from the Ancient Germanic element “*gīslaz” (pledge, hostage). The meaning is sometimes interpreted as "sweet friend". Saint Ghislain was a confessor and anchorite in Belgium. He died at the town named after him, Saint-Ghislain (Ursidongus). He was probably of German origin. Ghislain lived in the province of Hainaut in the time of Saint Amand (died 679) and Saints Waudru, Aldegonde, and Madelberte.

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