Girl Baby Name

Virginia

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Quick Facts on Virginia

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • American, English, Latin
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 551
Pronunciation:
vir-JIN-yə
Simple meaning:
Virgin, maiden

Characteristics of Virginia

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

Etymology & Historical Origin - Virginia

Virginia comes from the Latin “Virginius” from an old Roman family name Verginius dating back more than five centuries before Christ. The gens Verginius was borne by members of both the patrician and plebeian classes of ancient Rome, but it is most notable for one particular fair maiden who lived in the 5th century B.C. Verginia was the daughter of a respected plebian; she was also the target of desire by a certain powerful Roman official, Appius Claudius. After rejecting his lustful advances (since she was betrothed to another), Appius decided to force the young Verginia into prostitution and claim her as his slave. In order to spare his daughter from such an unsavory future, Verginia’s father stabbed her to death (in essence, liberating her in the only way her knew how). This event exposed the corruption which existed in Rome’s political structure at the time, and ultimately led to the restoration of the Roman Republic. The legend of Verginia also served as an inspiration for many later artists, including Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Physician’s Tale” (in his 14th century Canterbury Tales) and John Webster’s 17th century play “Appius and Virginia”. Italian Renaissance painter Botticelli also memorialized her in an early 16th century painting aptly named “The Story of Virginia.” Verginia (Virginia) became a symbol of innocence and chastity and her name became synonymous with virginity. The etymology of ancient Roman family name Verginius/Virginius is debatable, but many believe it’s connected to Virgo – the “virgin, maiden” – which fits nicely with Verginia’s ancient legend. Although Verginius dates back over 2,500 years, the female given name Virginia was not used during the Middle Ages. What served to popularize the name in the late 16th century was Virginia Dare (b. 1587) who happened to be the first English baby born in the New World (Roanoke Colony). The baby girl was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth I, also referred to as “The Virgin Queen” (so named because the Queen remained unmarried throughout her life, although it’s doubtful she was really a virgin). From the 17th century onward, the girl’s name Virginia came into regular use among English speakers. It has also been adopted by Spanish speakers, although more in reference to the Virgin Mother. Nicknames include Ginny, Geena, Gigi, Ginger and Virgie.

Popularity of the Name Virginia

Virginia is a stark example of a once-popular name that has become outdated and passé. Although the U.S. government has only been tracking naming trends since 1880, we think it’s safe to say that Virginia has been in use since the colonial times (inspired by Virginia Dare). By the turn of the 20th century, in the year 1900, Virginia was already a Top 100 favorite in the country. The apex of Virginia’s usage came during the 1920s when she was on the Top 10, reaching as high as #6 on the charts (1921). The name finally fell off the Top 100 in 1960 and since that time has been in a slow and steady decline down the charts. In the past 20 years, Virginia’s drops have become more pronounced. She is now officially out of style as very few parents consider this “virginal” moniker for their baby daughters. Actually, that’s part of the problem. Many are concerned about “virgin” jokes and teenage teasing as the girl grows into adolescence. This apprehension seems like a silly concern to us, since those years are so short-lived. Virginia is too rigidly old-fashioned by today’s naming standards and is not making a comeback like other turn-of-the-century favorites (e.g., Olivia, Emma, Lillian, Ruby, etc.). Still, the name has American historical appeal thanks to Virginia Dare. It’s a polished, intelligent and lady-like name for any fair “maiden”. Perhaps a good choice for baby girls born under the sun sign Virgo.
Popularity of the Girl Name Virginia
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Virginia

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Virginia

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Virginia

    Virginia (The Canterbury Tales) Virginia is a main character in The Physician’s Tale, from Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales. She is the good and beautiful 14 year old daughter of the Roman nobleman, Virginius. It is her sad fate to be the object of affection of the town’s judge, Appius, who evilly plots to have her for his own. To that end, he has one of his minions, Claudius, testify in court that Virginia is his runaway slave. Appius judiciously rules in Claudius’ favor, and orders Virginius to give his daughter over to the court. Seeing this as a fate worse than death, Virginius, in an exceedingly moving scene, decapitates his daughter and brings her head to court in defiance of the ruling. Now the people rise up and throw Appius in prison, where he kills himself. They wish to kill Claudius as well, but Virginius intercedes on his behalf, calling for exile rather than murder (having one on his hands already). So the pure and lovely Virginia is sacrificed for the sake of virtue, and nobody wins. No wonder the host asks that the next tale-teller, the Pardoner, choose as his subject something of more levity!

  • Popular Songs on Virginia

    Popular Songs on Virginia

    East Virginia - a song by Joan Baez

    Leave Virginia Alone - a song by Rod Stewart

    Meet Virginia - a song by Train

    Oh Virginia - a song by Blessid Union of Souls

    Oh Virginia - a song by Marty Robbins

    Old Virginia - a song by America

    Sweet Virginia - a song by Gomez

    Sweet Virginia - a song by The Rembrandts

    Sweet Virginia - a song by The Rolling Stones

    Virginia - a song by Gin Blossoms

    Virginia - a song by Marissa Nadler

    Virginia - a song by Prism

    Virginia - a song by Tori Amos

    Virginia Avenue - a song by Tom Waits

    Virginia Moon - a song by The Foo Fighters

    Virginia Plain - a song by Roxy Music

    Virginia Woolf - a song by the Indigo Girls

    West Virginia Woman - a song by Bobby Bare

    Yes Virginia - a song by Waylon Jennings

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Virginia

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Virginia

    Good Night Virginia (Adam Gamble) - Many of North America’s most beloved regions are artfully celebrated in these board books designed to soothe children before bedtime while instilling an early appreciation for the continent’s natural and cultural wonders. Each book stars a multicultural group of people visiting the featured area’s attractions and rhythmic language guides children through the passage of both a single day and the four seasons while saluting the iconic aspects of each place. Recommended for ages 2-6.

    My Brother's Keeper: Virginia's Civil War Diary (Mary Pope Osborne) - Virginia Dickens has promised to keep a journal for her older brother Jed. And Ginny finds plenty to write about: Pennsylvania Volunteers arrive in the town square reporting a big battle in Virginia and calling for more men to join their ranks. Rumors fly that the Rebs are headed to Gettysburg, and the Battle of Gettysburg ensues. Suddenly, Ginny's quiet town is filled with the injured. Ginny's brother Jed has joined the Union army, and they find him wounded in a makeshift hospital. With Ginny's nursing, he recovers, and Ginny is able to witness the President's Gettysburg Address. Recommended for ages 7-10.

    O is for Old Dominion: A Virginia Alphabet (Pamela Duncan Edwards) - From Arlington National Cemetery (once part of Robert E. Lee's homestead) to magnificent Monticello, Virginia has always had a prominent place in American history. Jamestown, Williamsburg and even the Pentagon are just a few of the many places highlighted in "O is for Old Dominion." Readers will also be introduced to such history makers as George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Booker T. Washington. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Virginia Wolf (Kyo Maclear) - Vanessa's sister, Virginia, is in a "wolfish" mood -- growling, howling and acting very strange. It's a funk so fierce, the whole household feels topsy-turvy. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Then Virginia tells Vanessa about an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry. Armed with an idea, Vanessa begins to paint Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing "so that what was down could climb up." Before long, Virginia, too, has picked up a brush and undergoes a surprising transformation of her own. Loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolf is an uplifting story for readers of all ages. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Yes, Virginia: There Is a Santa Claus (Chris Plehal) - In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote the New York Sun to ask a simple question: Is there a Santa Claus? The editor's response was a stirring defense of hope, generosity, and the spirit of childhood. His essay has been reprinted countless times since, and the phrase "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" has become part of American Christmas lore. Based on these actual events, Yes, Virginia is the story of a little girl who taught a city to believe. Recommended for ages 3-7.

  • Famous People Named Virginia

    Famous People Named Virginia

    Famous People Named Virginia - Virginia Woolf (novelist); Virginia Dare (first English baby born on American soil); Virginia Madsen (actress); Virginia “Geena” Davis (actress); Virginia Mayo (actress); Virginia “V.C.” Andrews (author); Virginia Rappe (infamous victim of an early Hollywood scandal); Virginia Katherine McMath (aka Ginger Rogers, actress); Virginia McKenna (British actress); Virginia Wade (tennis player)

  • Children of Famous People Named Virginia

    Children of Famous People Named Virginia

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Virginia - Andrea Bocelli (Italian tenor); Mario Puzo (author of “The Godfather”)

  • Historic Figures

    Virginia - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    (Adeline) Virginia Woolf (25 Jan 1882 – 28 Mar 1941) - Virginia Woolf was one of the most important modern English writers, and a member of the famed artistic circle, the Bloomsbury Group. Among her best known works are Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, and To the Lighthouse. Born to quintessentially British aristocracy, Virginia was the daughter of the renowned author and critic, Sir Leslie Stephen, and his wife, Julia Jackson Stephen, who served as a model for Edward Burne-Jones and who was herself the niece of photographer Julia Pattle Cameron. Virginia and her sister were tutored at home, as was the custom, but were also exposed to the results of the formal educations provided for their brothers. In addition, her parents’ prominence made for a lively household filled with visitors such as Henry James and James Russell Lowell. This idyllic childhood seems to have ended with the death of her mother in 1895, followed by that of a half-sister two years later. These deaths, along with that of her father in 1904, precipitated increasingly severe bouts of mental breakdowns that were to continue throughout her life. In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf and embarked upon a happy marriage, marred only by her periodic nervous breakdowns and her suicide by drowning in 1941. Together they established the Hogarth Press, which published many of Virginia’s works, as well as those by such luminaries as T. S. Eliot, Laurens van der Post, and Virginia’s sister, Vanessa Bell. Virginia Woolf fell out of favor after the Second World War, but interest in her was revived by the post modern feminist of the 1970s, and today her reputation is at its brightest.

    The Virgin Queen (7 Sep 1533 - 24 Mar 1603) - Everyone loved Queen Elizabeth I who reigned England from 1558 to her death in 1603. The daughter of Henry VIII, Elizabeth Tudor survived a perilous childhood which included the beheading of her mother Anne Boleyn. This obviously affected the young girl who stayed steadfast independent and would never marry herself, hence her epithet “The Virgin Queen”. During her reign, England prospered. It was a time of peace (she ended the war with France and whipped the Spanish Armada). But most notably, it was the golden era of literature, drama and the arts (Shakespeare was writing prolifically during this time).

    Virginia Dare (18 Aug 1587 – Unknown) - Virginia Dare was the first English baby born on American soil, on August 18, 1587, in the Roanoke Colony (present day North Carolina). The Roanoke Colony was an early attempt to establish an English settlement in what later became the Virginia Colony, and was financed by Sir Walter Raleigh. Little Virginia’s grandfather, John White, was governor of the small colony; he returned to England for fresh supplies in that year, but was unable to get back to the New World for three more years. When he did, what he found was – nothing and no one – the village had been systematically dismantled and all the inhabitants were gone. The only clue was the word “Croatan” carved on a tree, indicating a local Indian tribe. In spite of extensive and repeated searches, no answers were ever found (although fraudulent artifacts were presented). From this humble beginning sprang the legend of the “Lost Colony” and the adulation of Virginia Dare as an angel, a saint, a proto-feminist and a demon – anything the imagination might seize upon. The generally accepted theory is that the ill-supplied colonists assimilated into the Croatan tribe (and perhaps others) and moved accordingly. Whatever her fate, Virginia Dare’s legacy as our first little American has been rich in story and myth, and has never lost its appeal.

Personality of the Girl Name Virginia

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 - Virginia

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