Usage: Barbara, of Latin origin, is a very popular first name. It is more often used as a girl (female) name.
People having the name Barbara are in general originating from Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, United Kingdom, United States of America.
The Growth number corresponding to this first name is 7.
The name Barbara is ranked on the 122nd position of the most used names. It means that this name is very frequently used.
We estimate that there are at least 1975600 persons in the world having this name which is around 0.059% of the population.
The name Barbara has seven characters. It means that it is relatively medium-length, compared to the other names in our database.
The graph below represents the number of people who were given the name Barbara for each year since 1900 in the U.S.A.:
History and Origin
Barbara is a female given name used in numerous languages. It is the feminine form of the Greek word barbaros (Greek: βαρβαρος) meaning “foreign”. In Spanish, Portuguese and Italian it means barbarian or barbaric. In Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox tradition, Saint Barbara was martyred by her father, who was then punished with death by lightning. As such, St. Barbara is a protectress against fire and lightning. Other saints of this name include Barbara Avrillot (Barbe Aurillot, known as Marie of the Incarnation) and Barbara Koob (Marianne Cope).
Today, Barbara remains among the top 100 most popular names for female babies born in Chile, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. It is among the top 10 names given to baby girls born in both the Czech Republic and Georgia in 2012. The Russian variant Varvara is also returning to popularity in former Soviet republics such as Estonia, where it ranked among the top names for girls in 2012, and in Russia, where it was the ninth most popular name for girls born in 2012 in Moscow. Its popularity in the United States has declined from third place, in the 1930s, to 900th place, in 2012, when it was used for 288 newborn American girls. The Russian form of the name, Varvara, was given to just 16 American girls in 2012.
In Italy Barbara was particularly popular during the 1970s: it is among the top 10 names given to girls born from 1969 to 1977, rising to 2nd place (behind Maria) in 1971. In the same year it was the most common name for girls born in Rome and in Bologna.
English, German, and Polish: from Latin, meaning ‘foreign woman’ (a feminine form of barbarus foreign, from Greek, referring originally to the unintelligible chatter of foreigners, which sounded to the Greek ear like no more than bar-bar). St Barbara has always been one of the most popular saints in the calendar, although there is some doubt whether she ever existed. According to legend, she was imprisoned in a tower and later murdered by her father, who was then struck down by a bolt of lightning; accordingly, she is the patron of architects, stonemasons, and fortifications, and of firework makers, artillerymen, and gunpowder magazines. The name is now occasionally modishly spelled Barbra, notably in the case of the actress and singer Barbra Streisand (b. 1942).
Cognates: Irish Gaelic: Bairbre. Scottish Gaelic: Barabal. Swedish: Barbro. Czech: Barbora. Russian: Varvara. Hungarian: Borbála.
Short forms: English: Barb (mainly U.S. informal). French: Barbe.
Pet forms: English: Barbie, Babs. Irish Gaelic: Baibín. German: Bärbel. Polish: Basia. Czech: Bára, Bora, Bar(čin)ka, Barun(k)a, Baruška.
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