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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 Bush, wife of President George Bush
Barbara Bush, daughter of President George W. Bush
Dame Barbara Cartland, English novelist
Barbara Eden, American actress and singer
Barbara Hutton, American heiress (and Cary Grant's second wife)
Barbara Palvin, Hungarian fashion model
Barbara Stanwyck, American actress
Barbara Nugent Haymes (1947-'93), Dick Haymes & Joanne Dru's child
Barbara Walker, Miss America 1947
Barbara Walters, American broadcast journalist
Barbra Park, American author of Junie B. Jones books
Barbara Katie Chapman, (1982-'06), Dog the Bounty Hunter's Daughter
Barbara Dunkleman, of the internet group Rooster Teeth

Pop Culture References for the Name Barbara

"Barbara Ann," song by the Beach Boys
"Barbara Allen," folk ballad
Barbara "Barbie" Millicent Roberts, full name of the popular Barbie doll
Barbara Gordon, Oracle/Batgirl in D.C comics
Barbara Fazlinovic, character in Bosnian show "The Crazy, Confused & Normal"
Barbara Brownstein, character on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

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)