Barbara meaning, girlBarbara

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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.

For more information, see also related girl names Barinda, Bunny and Wava.


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)

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Barbara name in U.S.

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

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)

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Barb, Barbara, Barbra, Bobbi, Bobbie, Bobby, Bonnie, Bonny, Wava in U.S.

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