Meaning and Name Origin
Barbara \b(a)-rba-ra, 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.
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.
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 (#11413 out of 88799, Top 13%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Shown below is the birth name popularity of Barbara for girls. Barbara reached its top rank of #3 in the U.S. during the years 1940-1949, and is currently at #863. (2014 Birth Statistics)
Below is a graphed comparison of the usage of the girl name Barbara and corresponding names. Prominent varying forms of Barbara (#863 last year) ranked in the Top 1000 are Barb, Barbra, Bobbi, Bobbie, Bobby, Bonnie (#866 last year), Bonny and Wava. These girl names were at the top of their popularity during 1950-1959 and have become significantly less widespread since, with forms such as Barbara, Bobbi, Bobbie, Bobby and Bonny falling out of fashion. (2014 Birth Statistics)