- this week

Gender: F Meaning of Barbara: "foreign woman" Origin of Barbara: Latin Barbara's Popularity in 2015: #865

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 Gordon was the original Batgirl in the comic books.

Barbara entered the Top 100 in 1913, and then the Top 10 a decade and a half later; she held the Number 2 spot from 1937 to 1944. At this point in time, Bebe, Bobbie, or Babs might make a cuter retro nickname than Barbie.

Bottom line: Though she now seems to have a terminally middle-aged image, the classic and lovely Barbara will eventually make a comeback.

Famous People Named Barbara

Saint Barbara, 3rd century martyr
Barbara of Portugal (born Maria Madalena Bárbara Xavier Leonor Teresa Antónia Josefa), Queen consort of Ferdinand VI of Spain
Barbara Pierce Bush, former U.S. First Lady as wife of President George H.W. Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush II, daughter of U.S. President George W. Bush
Barbara Levy Boxer, U.S. Senator from California
Barbara Ann Mikulski, U.S. Senator from Maryland
Barbara Walters, American broadcast journalist
Barbara Wright, beloved character from Doctor Who
Barbara Stanwyck (born Ruby Catherine Stevens), American actress
Eleanor "Barbara" McClintock, American cytogeneticist and Nobel Prize winner
(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
Bárbara Micheline do Monte Barbosa, Brazilian football player
Barbara Fialho, Brazilian model

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
Barbara Wright, companion on TV's "Doctor Who" 1963-65
Santa Barbara, California, USA

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

Barbara's International Variations

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