Meaning and Name Origin
Paula \pa(u)-la\ as a girls' name is pronounced PAW-lah. It is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Paula is "small". Feminine of Paul. A Roman name and saint's name. Paula was used among early Christians , probably to honor Saint Paul. It was not used widely in English-speaking countries until the 20th century. In the meantime, it was mainly used as a German name. Actress Paulette Godard; singer Paula Abdul.
Paula is a very popular first name for females (#95 out of 4276, Top 2%) and also a very popular surname for both adults and children (#23511 out of 88799, Top 26%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Presented below is the baby name popularity of Paula for girls. Paula reached its apex position of #48 in the U.S. during 1950-1959, and is at #990 currently. (Top 1000 Baby Names Records, 2014)
Shown below is an analysis of the popularity of the girl name Paula and affiliated names. Paola (#679 the previous year), Paul, Pauletta, Paulette, Paulina (#953), Pauline, Pollie and Polly are the prominent variation forms of Paula (#990 the previous year). Adoption of these girl names reached its most widespread during 1940-1949 and has become significantly less since, with versions such as Paola, Paula, Paulina, Pollie and Polly becoming somewhat dated. (Top 1000 Baby Names Records, 2014)