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Gender: F Origin of Lavinia: Latin, from ancient place name Lavinium

Popularity: this week.

Lavinia is a charmingly prim and proper Victorian-sounding name which actually dates back to classical mythology, where it was the name of the wife of the Trojan hero Aeneas, who was considered the mother of the Roman people.

Later literary bearers include the protagonist's daughter in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (which has the line "She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd"), the heroine of G.B. Shaw's Androcles and the Lion, and characters in David Copperfield, Henry James' Washington Square, and the contemporary The Hunger Games and Downton Abbey--and Lavinia was also used by Thackeray, T. S. Eliot, and by Ursula Le Guin for an eponymous novel.

Trivia tidbit: Lavinia was Ava Gardner's middle name.

With its vintage nickname Vinnie, Lavinia might well appeal to parents who favor lavender-tinged names like Amelia and Matilda and Maude.

Famous People Named Lavinia

Ava Lavinia Gardner, American actress
Lavinia "Vinnie" Dickinson, younger sister of the poet Emily, whose poems she discovered and published posthumously
Lavinia Dock, pioneering nurse and suffragette
Lavinia Fontana, 1552-1614, Bolognese (Italian) painter
Lavinia "Vinnie" Ream, American sculptor
Lavinia Milosovici, gold-medal winning Olympic gymnast for Romania who scored a perfect 10 at the 1992 Barcelona games
Lavinia Stunt, daughter of British/Croatian heiress Petra Ecclestone
Princess Lavinia-Marie of Yugoslavia

Pop Culture References for the Name Lavinia

Lavinia, maimed daughter of Titus in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Titus Andronicus'
Lavinia, title character of 2008 novel Lavinia by Ursula K. Leguin
Lavinia Herbert, a spoiled bully in the children's novel 'A Little Princess,' played by Marcia Mae Jones in the 1939 film, and Taylor Fry in the 1995 film adaptation
Lavinia Swire, character from the period drama 'Downton Abbey'
Lavinia Crochet, character from 'The Worst Witch' TV series
Character from 'The Hunger Games' trilogy (mentioned in all 3 books, named in the third)
Lavinia Milliken (nee Kicklebury), wife of Horace Milliken in 'The Kickleburys on the Rhine' (1850) by W. M. Thackeray
Lavinia Wilfer, Bella's younger sister in 'Our Mutual Friend' (1865) by Charles Dickens
Lavinia Penniman, Dr. Sloper's widowed sister and housekeeper in 'Washington Square' (1880) by Henry James
Lavinia Fitzroy, wife to Asa Timberlake in Ellen Glasgow's 'In This Our Life' (1942)
Lavinia, wife of Edward Chamberlyne in T. S. Eliot's play 'The Cocktail Party' (1950)
Lavinia "Livy" Waterhouse, character in Tracy Chevlair's "Falling Angels"

Lavena, Lavenia, Lavina, Lavinie, Levener, Levenia, Levinia, Louvenia, Louvinia, Lovina, Lovinia, Vina, Vinia, Vinnie, Vinny

Lavinia's International Variations

Luvenia, Luvena, Livinia, Levina, Laia (Spanish)