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Gender: F Meaning of Barbara: "foreign woman" Origin of Barbara: Latin Barbara's Popularity in 2013: #838

Popularity: this week.

If you can get the lively young Barbara Bush to replace her grandmother's white-haired image, you might discover a rhythmic classic with an interesting history.

There is the popular third century St. Barbara, who was reputed to have been imprisoned in a tower and so became the patron of architects, stonemasons, fortifications, and geologists. Barbaras appear in works by Dickens and Thackeray and, most notably, as the idealistic protagonist of the George Bernard Shaw play Major Barbara. Noteworthy bearers include actress Barbara Stanwyck (born Ruby), novelist Barbara Pym, TV's Barbara Walters, and 'My Name is Barbra' Streisand.

Barbara entered the Top 100 in 1913, and then the Top 10 a decade later: in 1940, she was second only to Mary, and there were more than 35,000 baby Barbara's born that year. At this point in time, Babs might make a cuter retro nickname than Barbie.

Bottom line: Though she now seems to have a terminally middle-aged image, with the resurgence of the grandmother-name trend, Barbara gained a bit of momentum on the 2013 list and could start to move higher.

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Famous People Named Barbara

Barbara Pierce Bush, former U.S. First Lady as wife of President George H.W. Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush, daughter of U.S. President George W. Bush
Barbara Levy Boxer, U.S. Senator from California
Barbara Walters, American broadcast journalist
Barbara Stanwyck (born Ruby Catherine Stevens), American actress
(Mary) Barbara (Hamilton) Cartland, English novelist
Barbara Jean (Morehead) Eden, American actress
Barbara Ann Mandrell, American country music singer
Barbara Schett Eagle, Austrian tennis player
Barbara Rittner, German tennis player
Barbara Ann (Deeks) Windsor, English actress
Barbara Woolworth Hutton, American heiress, second wife of actor Cary Grant
Barbara Palvin, Hungarian fashion model
Barbara Nugent Haymes, daughter of actors Dick Haymes and Joanne Dru
Barbara Jo Walker, Miss America 1947
Barbara Park, American children's author
Barbara Katie Chapman, daughter of TV personality Dog the Bounty Hunter
Barbara Dunkleman, American actress of Internet group Rooster Teeth

Pop Culture References for the Name Barbara

Barbara "Barbie" Millicent Roberts, doll by Mattel
Barbara Gordon aka Oracle and Batgirl, character in the Batman series
Barbara Fazlinovic, character in Bosnian TV's "The Crazy, Confused & Normal"
Barbara Brownstein, character on TV's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"
"Barbara Ann," song by the Beach Boys
"Barbara Allen," folk ballad

Bab, Baba, Babba, Babbie, Babs, Bar, Barb, Barbe, Barbee, Barbi, Barbie, Barby, Barra, Bobbee, Bobbi, Bobbie, Bobby

Barbara's International Variations

Babette (French) Babara (Hawaiian) Borbála (Hungarian) Baibín, Baírbre (Irish Gaelic) Barbarella (Italian) Barbika, Barbica (Nordic) Basia, Basha (Polish) Varinka, Vary, Varenka, Varyusha, Varvara (Russian) Barabal (Scottish Gaelic) Barbro (Swedish)