Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Anna

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Hebrew, Latin
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 35
AN-a; AHN-a
Simple meaning:
Grace, graciousness

Characteristics of Anna

  • Communicative
  • Creative
  • Optimistic
  • Popular
  • Social
  • Dramatic
  • Happy

Etymology & Historical Origin - Anna

Anna is the Latinate form of Anne which is an English equivalent of Hannah (losing the original “h”s on both ends). Hannah comes from the Hebrew Channah (חַנָּה) which literally translates to “grace, graciousness” from the root “hanan” meaning “he was gracious, showed favor”. This etymology makes perfect sense if you are familiar with Hannah’s story in the Bible (1 Samuel 1-2). Unable to bear children “because the Lord closed her womb,” Hannah prayed mightily to the Lord for a son promising to “give him to the Lord all the days of his life.” God hears Hannah’s prayers and “favors” her with a son (Samuel), hence the meaning of the name. After the child is weaned (about the age of four or five in Biblical times), Hannah does as promised and turns her son over to the priest Eli to raise Samuel in the service of God. It’s a good thing that God listened to the prayers of Hannah because Samuel would go on to become one of Israel’s greatest leaders and usher in the Israel monarchy by anointing its first kings, Saul and then David. Aside from Anna’s etymological connection to Hannah, it is also a name that appears briefly in the New Testament (Gospel of Luke) belonging to a devoutly religious prophetess who recognized the baby Jesus as the Messiah. However, Anna’s key importance lies in Christian tradition not officially contained in the Bible, but in the apocrypha – the Gospel of James –believed to have been written around the middle of the 2nd century. James’s gospel deals with the birth and childhood of the Virgin Mary and we are introduced to Mary’s parents, Anna and Joachim (which would make Anna Jesus’ grandmother). Anna’s story closely mimics Hannah’s from the Old Testament in that she is barren, prays to God for a child, and promises to dedicate said child to the Lord in return for His “grace, favor”. Because the Gospel of James is not supported by factual, historic hard evidence, the legend of Anna and Joachim has become more of a Christian tradition rather than the official Biblical “word of God”. As the ostensible parents of the Virgin Mary, Anna and Joachim have been held on the proverbial pedestal as a model for all parents. In other words, Anna and Joachim must certainly have built a loving family structure through their devotion to God and their foundation of faith. Such an upbringing would have allowed Mary to give herself over to God and then to bravely stand by her son at His crucifixion. Not surprisingly, Saint Anne (as she is now known) is the Patron Saint to all Christian mothers and to women in labor. Catholics parents pray to Saint Anne for the strength to be good, faithful parents. Now you can see fully why Hannah/Anna are names that spread in popularity within Judeo-Christian tradition in Western Culture. Hebrew Hannah –> Latin Anna –> English Anne, and so on in other languages. A favorite name among medieval French nuns, the Normans brought Anne to England in the 13th century; although the English dropped the “e” in favor of Ann at first. The two-syllable Latinized Anna is still gigantically popular throughout the Western World. It’s a Top 10 choice in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. It is also a favorite in Italy, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Poland. Not to mention Catalonia, Canada, Scotland, the United States, Belgium and France. A true international gem.

Popularity of the Name Anna

In the English-speaking world, Anna came into general use in the 18th century, joining Ann and Anne. Today Anna is a common female name in most European languages. At the turn of the 20th century in America, Anna averaged at position #3. Its lowest point of popularity was during the 1950’s and 1960’s (and even still she was quite common). Today, the name Anna sits high on the list of most popular female baby names and it surpasses the one-syllable versions of Ann and Anne. The elegant simplicity of the name is what probably appeals to most parents (similar to Emma, Ava or Leah). These are names we expect to see around for another 100 years.
Popularity of the Girl Name Anna
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Anna

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Anna

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Anna

    Anna (Anna and the King of Siam) Anna is a central character in Margaret Landan’s semi-fictionalized biographical novel, “Anna and the King of Siam” (1944). In the early 1860s, Anna Leonowens was a widow with two young children who was invited to Siam by King Mongkut. As royal governess, The king wanted Anna to teach his children the English language and British customs. Her experiences during the five years she spent in Siam were detailed in memoirs which Landan took and embellished with more details about the Siamese people and culture. Her novel was the inspiration behind the extremely successful stage musical “The King and I.”

    Anna (Anna Christie) Anna Christie is a main character in a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Eugene O'Neill of the same name (1921). Anna is a girl in her twenties and the daughter of a barge captain who has not seen her in almost twenty years. He had left her on a farm in Minnesota when she was five to be raised by cousins so that “she don’t know dat ole devil, sea, she don’t know fa’der like me.” Their relationship becomes complicated by her romantic involvement with another sailor and her unveiling of her troubled past (prostitution). It is a story of a young woman’s decline and subsequent salvation. It is likewise the story of the power of love and forgiveness.

    Anna (Roman Mythology) Anna is the sister of Dido (Queen of Carthage) in Roman mythology, the legends about whom are related by Virgil (in the Aeneid). Dido falls in love with Aeneas, but the love is not returned. In despair, Dido kills herself. After her death, Anna flees from Carthage to Italy, where she is kindly received by Aeneas. Here her jealousy of Lavinia (Aeneas’ wife) was roused, and being warned in a dream by the spirit of Dido, she throws herself into the river Numicius. Henceforth she was worshipped as the nymph of that river. Anna was originally an Italian divinity, who was regarded as the giver of life, health, and plenty. She is the goddess whose powers were most manifest at the return of spring when her festival was celebrated.

    Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina) One of the greatest and most memorable literary characters of all time, Anna Karenina was created by Leo Tolstoy in 1873. Anna is a ravishingly beautiful, intelligent, educated high-society woman from St. Petersburg in Russia. She is married to Karenin who embodies the upper classes of shallow and emotionless conventionality that she will soon grow to despise. The central conflict in the novel is Anna’s adulterous affair which catapults her into social exile, misery, and finally suicide. But Anna believes in love—and she does not hold back the honesty and truth of her feelings despite her restrictive society. She is the ultimate tragic heroine.

  • Popular Songs on Anna

    Popular Songs on Anna

    Anna - a song by Bad Company

    Anna - a song by Toto

    Anna (Go to Him) - a song by The Beatles

    Anna Begins - a song by Counting Crows

    Anna Molly - a song by Incubus

    Anna's Song - a song by Marvin Gaye

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Anna

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Anna

    Amber on the Mountain (Tony Johnston) - Amber’s mountain is beautiful, but it is a lonely place—until the day Anna arrives, bringing both her friendship and the will to teach Amber how to read. Suddenly, Amber’s world is filled with a new magic—and new challenges. But when Anna returns to the city, will Amber be able to keep reading on her own? Recommended for ages 5-8.

    Amish Wedding (Richard Ammon) - Anna is getting married! Amish weddings are in November, so the family has the whole summer to get ready. They all work together in preparation for the big event. Finally, it is time. Anna, her groom, Samuel, and the wedding party descend the stairs. After Bishop Levi leads the couple in their vows and the last hymn is sung, the benches are turned into tables and it is time for the wedding meal. Some of the ways are unique to the Amish, but they also reflect the joy, excitement, and fellowship of weddings everywhere. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Mister God, This is Anna (Fynn) - From the moment Anna and Fynn locked eyes, their times together were filled with delight and discovery. In her completely frank and honest way, Anna had an astonishing ability to ask--and answer--life's largest questions, and to feel the purpose of being. You see, Anna had a very special friendship with Mr. God. The Chicago Sun-Times says “Like most good things, [this book] is deceptively simple. Insights steal their way into the reader's mind the same way Anna steals into the reader's heart." Recommended for ages Young Adult.

    My First Day at Camp (Ellen Weiss) - Pack your bag and come along with Anna on her first day of camp. From sing-alongs to swim races, to making new friends, children will see how much fun camp can be. Don't forget your bathing suit. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Wednesday Surprise (Eve Bunting) - Anna and Grandma are planning a surprise for Dad's birthday. Dad thinks he has received all his presents, Grandma stands up and gives him the best one of all: she reads aloud the stories that Anna has taught her. Recommended for ages 3-7.

    When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Judith Kerr) - Anna is not sure who Hitler is, but she sees his face on posters all over Berlin. Then one morning, Anna and her brother awake to find her father gone! Her mother explains that their father has had to leave and soon they will secretly join him. Anna just doesn’t understand. Why do their parents keep insisting that Germany is no longer safe for Jews like them? Because of Hitler, Anna must leave everything behind. Based on the gripping real-life story of the author. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Where are you, Little Green Dragon? (Klaus Baumgart) - Anna's Little Green Dragon is at it again! In this book he is off exploring an arctic region with dense foliage and vegetation- or is he just in the refrigerator?!? Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Would they love a lion? (Kady McDonald Denton) - Anna is having trouble adjusting to a new baby in the house and tries to attract more attention by becoming different animals. A charming story about family and sibling rivalry. Recommended for ages 3-5.

  • Famous People Named Anna

    Famous People Named Anna

    Famous People Named Anna - Anna Pavlova (ballerina); Anna Kournikova (tennis player); Anna Nicole Smith (model); Anna Paquin (actress); Anna Harrison (U.S. First Lady); Anna Roosevelt (U.S. First Lady)

  • Children of Famous People Named Anna

    Children of Famous People Named Anna

    Famous People who Named their Daughter Anna - Claire Bloom (actress); Franklin D. Roosevelt (U.S. President); Ingmar Bergman (director); John Denver (musician); John McEnroe (tennis player); Kirk Cameron (actor); Mikhail Baryshnikov (ballet dancer); Peter Gabriel (musician); Sigmund Freud (neurologist); Tom Petty (musician); Tony Goldwyn (actor); William Harrison (U.S. President)

  • Historic Figures

    Anna - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Santa Anna (Christian Tradition) - Santa Anna (Latin) or Saint Anne (English) was the mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus. She and her husband, Joachim, were unable to have a child for many years and then Anna was visited in the night by an angel who let her know that she would soon conceive a child. The couple was so happy with this news that they promised their child, once born, would be in the service of God. In addition to bearing the child who would become the mother of Jesus, Saint Anne is also the patron saint of good parents and women in labor.

Personality of the Girl Name Anna

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Variations of the Baby Name - Anna

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