One thing all cultures and countries share in common is a “list”, official or otherwise, of “Most Popular Baby Names” – a tradition that has probably existed since the beginning of recorded history. These lists are fluid too and provide some fascinating insights into not only what names a particular nation might find appealing but also what those names say about that nation’s history and values.
Spanish names, for example, reflect that country’s rich Latin and religious past, in addition to having a romantic sound. Many new parents in non-Spanish speaking countries are now adopting Spanish names or variations on them, especially for their daughters.
Isabella, for example, sat near the top of the 2013 U.S. Census as one of the most popular US girl’s names. Below is a list of the currently most popular girl’s names in Spanish speaking countries.
Don’t be surprised to see some of them popping up on lists in other countries as well.
Popular Spanish Girl Names
“Alba” was the ancient Latin name for Scotland, and is supposed to refer to the hair color of many of its inhabitants. It means “white”, “blond”, or “fair one”, and in some cultures(such as Spanish speaking ones), the name can mean “sunrise”. Variations on the name are Albah and Albani. Models Alba Molina and Alba Carillo are among the celebrities who share this name.
Two names in one! This name is a combination of Ana and Maria, and is most popular in Spanish speaking cultures, yet this Spanish girl name has many variations in English and Germanic cultures, such as “Anna Maria” and “Anne Marie”. Ana Maria is Hebrew in origin, and means “one who is favored” and “one who brings up” (as in raising a child.) Renowned cancer specialist Ana-Maria Lopez is among the famous individuals who bear this name.
A feminine version of the name Andrew, it is Greek in origin, and means “strong” and “courageous”. A popular Spanish girl name for decades, variations on this name include Deandrea and Andres. Celebrities with this name include actress Andrea Martin and beauty pageant winner Andrea Dickenson.
This name is Latin in origin and means “brings happiness” or “brings joy”. Variations on this name are Beatrice and Beatrix. The name has a strong romantic past in legend. Beatrice Centi was supposedly a 15th century Roman noblewoman who murdered her nasty father to avoid his romantic advances. Hung for her crime, she won much public support, and was immortalized in literature by various writers. Fortunately, later celebrities, like 19th century writer and artist Beatrice Potter, have come to happier endings.
This very popular Spanish girl name has its roots in the ancient Greek language. It is a feminized version of the name Christian, and means “follower of Christ”. Variations on it include Caristionia and Christa. Celebrities with this name include Spanish crown princess Cristina.
A feminine version of the ancient Latin name Laurus, it refers to the laurel tree, or more specifically, its leaves. The leaves were fashioned into crowns to be worn by the victors of important military engagements, and were considered to bring good fortune to wearers. Variations on the name include Lora, Lauren, and Laurel. Celebrities with this name include former first lady Laura Bush, and actress Laura Dern.
This name is Italian in origin, and is a feminine variation of the older Latin name Lucius, which means “light”. The original Lucia is said to have been a martyred 4th century Syracuse resident. English variations include Lucille, Lucy, and Lucinda. Celebrities include Columbian model Lucia Tovar, and Mexican actress/singer Lucia Mendez.
Another double name! Again, Maria means “one who brings up”, and is a reference to motherhood, or more specifically, Christianity’s most famous mother, the Virgin Mary. Carmen is a Hebrew word meaning “garden orchard”. “Carmen” is a Spanish variation of “Carmel” as in Mount Carmel of Biblical fame. This name is one of several variations that honors Santa Maria del Carmel(Saint Mary of Mount Carmel).
This pretty Spanish girl name is Aramaic in origin, and means “lady”. Variations on it are Martha and Martina. Actress Marta DuBois and musician Marta Sanchez are two celebrities with this name.
This name is Latin in origin, and while its original meaning is murky, it is generally believed to mean “advisor”. An alternate theory is that the name is Greek in origin, and means “nun”. The name certainly has a strong religious background. Saint Monica, whose prayers saved her son, Saint Augustine, is probably history’s most famous Monica. This name has many variations, including Mona and Monique. Professional soccer player Monica Gonzalez and actress Monica Belucci are among the many celebrities with this name.
“Nerea” truly belongs on a Spanish girl name list, as it is the only name on our list that is uniquely Spanish. Its origin is Basque, and its meaning is “mine”. It is not a commonly used name outside of Spain. A variation on the name is Nere. Fashion model Nerea Arce and professional handball player Nerea Pena are two celebrities with this name.
The name is Latin in origin and is a feminine version of the name “Patrick”. The name means “noble”, and is taken from the Latin word “patrician”, which indicated the aristocratic (and ruling party) of ancient Rome. Patricia became a very popular girl name in the Victorian era, when one of the Queen’s grandchildren was christened with this name. This name has 21 variations, with two of the most common being Patrice and Trisha. Actress Patricia Velaquez and actress/singer Patricia Navidad are among the many international celebrities with this first name.
This feminine version of the name “Paulus” is Latin in origin, and means “small” or “humble”. This Spanish girl name is extremely popular in Spanish speaking countries, rising to number three in 2006. The name has a number of variations, with Pauline and Paulette being among the most popular. Early Christianity’s Saint Paula, a follower of Saint Jerome, is probably history’s best known Paula, but a number of famous individuals bear this name today. Comic Paula Poundstone, musician Paula Cole, and actress Paula Morales are but three of the celebrities bearing this name.
While this name is often assumed to be Spanish or Portuguese in origin, its roots are actually Hebrew. While its meaning is most commonly defined as “innocent”, another meaning ascribed to it is “ewe” or “lamb”. Raquel is a variation of the name Rachel and other variations are Rakel and Roquel. Actress Raquel Welch is most likely the world’s most famous Raquel, but a handful of other celebrities, including Mexican actress/singer Raquel Olmedo, bear this name.
Greek in origin, this is a feminine version of the name “Alexander” and means “defender of men”. There are more than 28 variations of this name, including Zondra and Sandee. History’s best known Sandra may be the first female judge to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, but many celebrities have borne this name including actresses Sandra Dee and Sandra Bullock.
This variation of Sarah is Hebrew in origin, and means “princess”. However, the name with this spelling also appears in Sanskrit, and means “essence”. Another variation of this name, and its probable original spelling is Sarai. Old Testament matriarch Sarah is probably the historically best known bearer of this name, although famous 19th century actress Sarah Bernhardt made quite an impression as well. The Sara Lee company is an American institution of frozen desserts, and pop musician Sara Bareilles is another celebrity bearing this name.
Greek in origin, this name means “wisdom” and is believed to be a variation of the name Sophia. Other variations of this name include Sonya and Sonja. Sonia Gandi is the current president of the Indian National Congress.
Hebrew in origin, the name means “lily” or “rose” and is a popular girl name in Argentina. An Old Testament heroine who stood up to hypocritical village leaders, variations of Susana include Susanna and Suzanne. Celebrities with this name include writer Susana Molina, and Olympic swimmer Susana Escobar.
Latin in origin, the name means “true image”, and in Spain, means “truth” and “purity”. It is also a variation of the Greek name Bernice which means “bringer of victory”. Other variations include Veronika and Veronique. This was the name of the famous New Testament heroine who aided Jesus on his walk to Mount Calvary. Other famous Veronicas include 1940’s film actress Veronica Lake, and entertainer and actress Veronica Castro.
This name is believed to be either French or Germanic in origin, and comes from the Latin word “viola”, or “violet”. The name first began to be used in medieval France, and variations of it include Yolonda and Yolande. While several heroines of medieval legend bore this name, today it seems to be more associated with singers, with Yolanda Saldivar and Yolanda Perez among them.