Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Clara

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Latin
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 131
Simple meaning:
Clear, bright, famous

Characteristics of Clara

  • Authoritative
  • Powerful
  • Tough
  • Tenacious
  • Wealthy
  • Problem-solver
  • Achiever

Etymology & Historical Origin - Clara

The name Clara developed from the Late Latinate adjective “clarus” meaning ‘bright, famous’. Clarus was used for males during the Middle Ages and Clara developed as the feminine form of the name. Clara’s popularity in medieval times was bolstered by the famous Italian Saint Clare (Italian: Chiara) who was a follower of Saint Francis of Assisi in the 13th century and founder of an order of nuns called the Order of Saint Clare (more commonly known as the Poor Clares). In 1212 she was the first woman to have written a monastic Rule of Life for an order and the Poor Clares were known for their extreme and strict adherence to poverty. The name Clare is the anglicized form of the Latin Clara while Claire is the French version. The Latinized version of Clara became widely adopted by English-speaking countries in the 19th century. Today, Clara is especially popular in the countries of Spain and Catalonia where it’s a Top 50 choice for girls.

Popularity of the Name Clara

The height of Clara’s popularity in America was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. From the 1930s onward, the name subtlety waned in usage until experiencing its lowest point of popularity in the 1970s and 1980s when it was barely given to 300 baby girls a year. However, since 1990, the name has regained almost 400 positions on the popularity charts. Each year since the turn of the 21st century the name has been attempting to reclaim her former glory days on the charts. Clara is not back on the Top 100 list, but she seems to be headed in that direction. The name is a two-syllable, more feminine sounding alternative to Clare/Claire. True to the name’s etymology, Clara is a clear and bright name. It is also the name borne by America’s most famous “IT girl”, the silent film star Clara Bow. Perhaps your little Clara will one day become “famous” too!
Popularity of the Girl Name Clara
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Clara

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Clara

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Clara

    Clara del Valle (The House of the Spirits) Clara del Valle is the main female character in Isabel Allende’s 1982 novel, The House of the Spirits, which was made into a movie in 1993, with Meryl Streep playing Clara. Clara is spiritual and other-worldly; she marries the volatile Esteban believing it to be her unalterable fate. Gentle and kind, Clara inspires devotion from others, including Esteban, who loves her beyond description, although he is cruel to her. Nonetheless, she is not an unresisting victim; rather, she chooses her battles and in her quiet way, gets her way. She is a force to be reckoned with, as wife, mother and spiritualist, as well as an advocate for social justice. Clara even exerts her influence from beyond the grave, when she appears after her death to her granddaughter to exhort her to courage during her jail term, and when she gives the errant Esteban the opportunity to die in peace.

    Clara Copperfield (David Copperfield) Clara Copperfield is the mother of the title character in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, first published in novel form in 1850. She is only twenty when David is born and she is already widowed. She is a beautiful woman and a loving mother to him, but she is also childlike and unable to stand up to her cruel second husband, Mr. Murdstone, who is abusive to David. She even allows herself to be bullied by him into agreeing to send young David away to school. She dies soon after delivering a second son, who dies with her. Perhaps her greatest punishment, however, is the fact that David will always bear a lingering resentment at her inability to protect him.

    Clara Peggotty (David Copperfield) Clara Peggotty is the nursemaid and “second mother” to David Copperfield. Unlike her mistress, this Clara is very clear sighted about life and its trials, and especially about Mr. Murdstone. She unsuccessfully cautions Mrs. Copperfield against marrying him, and does her best to shield David whenever she can. She is steadfast and loyal and thoroughly sympathetic. She gets her rewards, as well. When her husband dies, she inherits a small fortune, although even this does not deter her from a continuing life of service to others.

    Clara Stahlbaum (The Nutcracker) Clara is the young girl in Tchaikovsky’s 1892 ballet “The Nutcracker”, itself an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and as rewritten by Alexander Dumas. The Stahlbaum children’s godfather, Drosselmeyer, gives Clara a magnificent nutcracker for Christmas, and she falls asleep with it under the Christmas tree. This leads to a night of magical dreams during which the Nutcracker comes to life and battles with the Mouse King. When he tires in battle, spunky Clara clobbers the mouse for him. The Nutcracker turns into a handsome Prince and spirits Clara away to an enchanted winter wonderland of sugar plum fairies and dancing snowflakes. Long a children’s favorite at Christmastime, this ballet is graced with a young heroine who is an inspiration to every little girl who gazes at her in awe and admiration.

  • Popular Songs on Clara

    Popular Songs on Clara

    Clara - a song by Marty Robbins

    Clara - a song by The Ataris

    Clarabella - a song by The Beatles

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Clara

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Clara

    Clara and Asha (Eric Rohmann) - To call Asha a "flying" fish would be a misnomer--Asha properly floats, as she does from the beginning of this book when she drifts in through the bedroom window of Clara, a pony-tailed girl who can't bring herself to fall asleep. ("'Clara! Time for bed,' my mom calls. But I'm not sleepy, so I open my window...and wait for Asha.") Imaginary-friend Asha seems to be brought to life from a child's longing alone (in this case, coaxed out of the statuary of a park fountain), so she’s more than happy to play tag, take baths, have tea parties, and even help Clara with her Halloween costume (as, naturally, a fisherman). The last half of this bedtime picture-book follows Clara and Asha across several sleepy, wordless, panoramic spreads, as the duo navigates (and swoops, and somersaults) by starlight across the night sky. This graceful drop in tempo should soothe even the most hyper victim of a tucking-in--which is more than can be said for poor Clara, who receives yet another imaginary-animal visitor just as Asha excuses herself. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Clara and the Bookwagon (Nancy Smiler Levinson) - Papa will not allow Clara to learn to read—he says that ‘Farm people like us do not have time to read." But when the traveling book wagon, with persuasive Miss Mary at the reins, arrives at their farm, Papa realizes he must change his mind. Based on the true story of America’s first ‘bookmobile.’ Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Clara and the Bossy (Ruth Ohi) - This picture book about shy Clara will strike a chord with many young children who are learning to navigate friendships. A charming school story. Recommended for ages 3-7.

    Clara Barton: Founder of the American Red Cross (Augusta Stevenson) - One of the most popular series ever published for young Americans, these classics of childhood have been praised by parents, teachers, and libraries. The lively, inspiring, and believable biographies sweep today's young readers right into history. Illustrated throughout. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Clara Caterpillar (Pamela Duncan Edwards) - Such a clever caterpillar! A carefree cabbage caterpillar named Clara, who becomes a common cream-colored butterfly, can′t possibly compete with a catty, conceited caterpillar named Catisha, who becomes a captivating crimson-colored butterfly. Or can she? Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream (Jenny Han) - In the tradition of Judy Moody and Clementine comes Clara Lee. Clara is a typical third-grader who neatly combines her Korean and American sides. Her warm, supportive family includes a grandfather who is always there for her, especially when she decides to pursue her dream of being Little Miss Apple Pie, riding in the float in her town’s apple festival. In a plot that will resonate with kids, Clara is scared when she dreams her grandfather dies, but Grandfather tells her that in Korean tradition that means good luck is coming. And sure enough, Clara’s luck does take a turn for the better, with a newfound ability in gym class, a surprise present in her desk, and the courage (almost) to write the speech that could be her ticket to the apple festival. But luck has a habit of changing too, and when things aren’t going quite as well, Clara wonders if she should give up her dream. A realistic group of characters, both adults and children, and true-to-life situations will make this illustrated chapter book a favorite. Recommended for ages 7-10.

    Clara's Counting Tea Party (Helen Stephens) - In this charming Magic Movers book, Clara and Oliver are having a tea party. Pull the tab that's attached to the illustration of their one party table and the image changes to become two party chairs! The numbers of objects in the pictures that follow keep increasing, all the way up to ten. When toddlers pull the tabs on the right-hand pages of Magic Movers books, a bright and cheerful picture is magically transformed into a brand-new image! Very young children will learn to recognize and name toys, foods, familiar household objects, and pet animals. They'll also learn to identify shapes, colors, and numbers. Each pull-tab operates "Venetian-blind-style" sliding slats--for instance, transforming a toy giraffe into a toy zebra. The easy text that accompanies every illustration is just right for reading aloud to toddlers. Recommended for ages 2-5.

    My Travels with Clara (Mary Holmes) - A life-size portrait of the famous rhinoceros named Clara is the massive centerpiece of the J. Paul Getty Museum's exhibition Oudry's Painted Menagerie. In her honor, the Getty has produced “My Travels with Clara”, a book for children that tells the true story of this five-thousand-pound animal and her owner, an eighteenth-century Dutch sea captain. My Travels with Clara begins in India, where Clara was born, and follows this amazing animal and her owner through their exploits in Berlin (where she met Frederick the Great), Paris (where she was a sensation and inspired rhinoceros hairdos), Versailles (where she met Louis XV and had her portrait painted), Rome (where she lost her horn), and finally Venice (where Clara joined in the annual Carnival). A delightful story for children. Recommended for ages 8-12.

    Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt (Deborah Hopkinson) - A courageous slave girl plays an unusual part in the Underground Railroad; in a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, "This first-rate book is a triumph of the heart." Recommended for age 5-10.

    The Hat That Wore Clara B. (Melanie Turner-Denstaedt) - It is Mother's Sunday, "when the older ladies dressed in crisp white suits and wore clean white gloves…and hats. Big, bold, beautifully colored hats." Clara B. is in a rush to sit into the pew just behind the lady with the best one—her grandmother. When complimented on her broad-brimmed pink chapeau, the woman responds, "Honey, I'm not wearing this hat. The hat is wearing me!" Clara is not allowed to touch it, but she is determined to try it on. Later, when her grandmother dozes off in an armchair, Clara finally gets her hands on the hat. In the bedroom, she stumbles and accidentally crushes it. Then she tries to repair it, snipping and gluing with "supplies from Grandma's craft drawer." She returns it to the box with a note of apology. The next Mother's Sunday, Clara is apprehensive, but then she finds a pink hatbox labeled "Child's Medium" on her pew seat. In many African-American churches, it is customary for women to wear elegant, stylish, often large, elaborate hats, especially on Mother's Sunday. Turner-Denstaedt provides a brief explanation of this tradition. Morrison's large and expressive paintings are suffused with warmth and reflect the text beautifully. This is a wonderful family story that celebrates the bond between generations. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Clara

    Famous People Named Clara

    Famous People Named Clara - Clara Bow (actress); Clara Barton (nurse/humanitarian); Clara Blandick (actress); Clara Schumann (pianist/composer); Dame Clara Butt (singer)

  • Children of Famous People Named Clara

    Children of Famous People Named Clara

    Famous People who Named their Daughter Clara - Ewan McGregor (actor); Jean-Luc Ponty (violinist/composer); Loretta Lynn (country musician)

  • Historic Figures

    Clara - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Clara Gordon Bow (29 Jul 1905 – 27 Sep 1965) - Born into the slums of Brooklyn in 1905 as the only daughter of Robert and Sarah Bow, Clara had a harsh upbringing. Sarah was mentally ill resulting from a head injury she sustained as a teenager from a fall and Clara spent much of her childhood taking care of her mother. Her father was often absent and barely supported the family. Perhaps it was this very abject early life that would provide Clara with her acting talent later known for its wide range of emotions. It was as if she could “live inside” any role given to her. The famous director Victor Fleming once compared Clara Bow to a Stradivarius violin: "Touch her and she responded with genius." The turning point of her success came in 1927 when she starred in the silent film “It”, a Cinderella story which would forever stamp Clara with the sobriquet “The It Girl.” She became the biggest female box office draw during the years between 1927 and 1930 and a leading sex symbol of the times. Clara Bow acted in over 50 films spanning from the silent era into the “talkies” but she ended her Hollywood career at the young age of 28. Hollywood and her immense fame never really appealed to Clara Bow. She would go onto marry Rex Bell and retire as a Nevada rancher raising her two sons.

    Clarissa “Clara” Harlowe Barton (25 Dec 1821 – 12 Apr 1912) - Clara Barton is most known for founding the American Red Cross. She began her life in Massachusetts as the youngest of five children and became a teacher in early adulthood. She was also a self-taught nurse by way of tending to her brother when he was badly hurt by a fall. Upon the death of her father, Clara Barton remembered: "As a patriot, he had me serve my country with all I had, even with my life if need be; as the daughter of an accepted Mason, he had me seek and comfort the afflicted everywhere, and as a Christian he charged me to honor God and love all kind. The door that nobody else will go in seems always to open widely for me." True to her word, Clara went to aid the soldiers during the American Civil War and became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.” In May of 1881, Clara established the American Red Cross. Her legacy is immense.

Personality of the Girl Name Clara

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Variations of the Baby Name - Clara

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