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What does Barbara mean?

Barbara Pronunciation of Barbara [bar-bara] as a girls' name is pronounced BAR-bra. It is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Barbara is "foreign woman". The adjective was originally applied to anyone who did not speak Greek; it has the same root as "barbarian". In Roman Catholic custom, Saint Barbara is invoked as a protector against fire and lightning; she is patron saint of architects, stonemasons, and fortifications. Barbra is a spelling variant made familiar by singer/actress/film director Barbra Streisand. Many people may associate the name with the popular doll Barbie, which with Babs, are informal pet forms. Actress Barbara Stanwyck; writer Barbara Tuchman; First Lady Barbara Bush.

Associated with: greek, roman, saint, protector (defender), fire, lady (noble), bush (tree).


Barbara has 53 variants: Bab, Baba, Babara, Babb, Babbett, Babbette, Babbie, Babe, Babett, Babette, Babita, Babs, Baibin, Barabara, Barb, Barbar, Barbarella, Barbarit, Barbarita, Barbeeleen, Barbel, Barbera, Barbette, Barbey, Barbi, Barbie, Barbora, Barbra, Barbro, Barby, Barra, Basha, Basia, Baubie, Bauby, Beba, Bebe, Berbera, Berberia, Berberya, Berbya, Bibi, Bobbe, Bobbee, Bobbi, Bobbie, Bobby, Bonni, Bonnie, Bonny, Borbala, Varina and Varvara.

Related girl names: Barinda, Bunny and Wava.

Creative forms:
(female) Baibara, Barbir, ..

(male) Barbake, ..

Middle name pairings:
Barbara Adilynn (B.A.), ..

How popular is Barbara?

Barbara is a very popular first name for women (#4 out of 4276, Top 1%) and also a very popular surname for both adults and children (#10548 out of 150436, Top 7%). (2000 U.S. Census)

Barbara reached its top rank of #3 in the U.S. during the years 1940-1949, and is currently at #865. (Top 2000 Names, 2015)

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Barbara name in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Barbara outside U.S.

Which version is better?

with its variant forms and related girl names. Prominent varying forms of Barbara (#865 last year) are Babe, Babette, Barb, Barbie, Barbra, Bebe, Bobbi, Bobbie, Bobby, Bonni, Bonnie (#871 last year), Bonny, Bunny, Varina and Wava. These relations of Barbara were popular 85 years ago (adoption of 5.1%) and have become significantly less conventional since.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Barbara, Babe, Babette, Barb, Barbie in U.S.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Barbra, Bebe, Bobbi, Bobbie, Bobby in U.S.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Bonni, Bonnie, Bonny, Bunny, Varina, Wava in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Barbara and related baby names outside U.S.

Similar Names

Recommended names are Bahira, Bakura, Balbina, Bambina, Bara, Barah, Barri, Barry, Barta, Bartha, Barucha, Bernarda, Berura, Borsala, Brana, Breana, Briana, Briar, Bryana, Bryar, Cantara, Charmara, Damara, Darra, Fabra (see Fabia), Farra, Hadara, Jahzara, Kaara, Kamara, Kanara, Karra, Lacara, Larra, Makara, Marmara, Marra, Nahara, Sabra, Sagara, Sahara, Samara, Sammara, Sarra, Tamara, Tammara, Tarra, Tashara and Zahara. These names tend to be less commonly used than Barbara.

See names
in meaning and etymology.