Gender: Female Meaning of Barbara: "foreign woman" Origin of Barbara: Latin Barbara's Popularity in 2019: #946

Barbara Origin and Meaning

The name Barbara is a girl's name of Latin origin meaning "foreign woman".

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. Barbara is undoubtedly among the most classic girl names starting with B.

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.

16 names similar to Barbara

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Barbara. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Barbara, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

Find other names based on Barbara using our baby name generator.


Rank in US: #946

- this week

Famous People Named Barbara

Pop Culture References for the name Barbara

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

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)


Selkit Says:


This just screams "old lady" to me. Even if it came back into fashion, I could never use it.

Griffin Says:


It's a nice name. Dated for now, sure, but it will come back eventually.

aggie2010 Says:


Both Barbara and Barbarian come from the Greek word that means the opposite of "citizen" and more specifically people who did not speak Greek. So, both words basically mean "foreign person"

MidnightSky Says:


I actually like Barbara. To me it has a 50s/60s feel along with a pleasant sound. I find it charming.

EvaThyssen Says:


Indeed. Here in Chile women named Bárbara are young. I just can't picture a grandmum named Bárbara/Barbara. I grew up with some Bárbara(s) and I'm almost 28 years old. It's very difficult to find a Bárbara under 40 in my country.

Also, the lovely Barbara Hereward née Gilbert is a great namesake! (from Call the midwife)

TheRosemaryWest Says:


Strongly disagree, it's a strong name. Still very popular name amongst young people in many countries.

Laura B Says:


I met a Barbie-with-a-y today (well, talked to her on the phone). Dunno if I'd use an alternate spelling but I do like Barbie.

paulapuddephatt Says:


I don't see that at all. As you say, it is personal preference, but I would much rather see Barbara than Barbra. I feel the same way about Deborah and Debra. I actually feel fine about Kathryn and Cathryn, but Kathrine and Cathrine look like spelling errors, and I don't like them at all.

Daiseymae Says:


Me neither.

Daiseymae Says:


There isn't anything wrong with your name.

paulapuddephatt Says:


I can't see this name coming back into style, but who knows?

beachbear Says:


Well, you're entitled to your opinion ;). I find some names "laughably bad" myself, but Barbara isn't one of them.

LadyAlegrar Says:


I love the way the name sounds, but the way it looks spelled out looks unattractive to me. Barbra looks better in my opinion, just a personal thing.

EvaThyssen Says:


Why not? It's way better than Kaelyn or Braedyn or Kaydence or the super overused and super boring Emily and Isabella and Sophia and Emma and Olivia. Barbara sounds refreshing!

mill1020 Says:


Love it. Barbara is regal, Barbie is iconic, Babs is B. Streisand, Bar is Ms. Rafaeli, etc., It will make a comeback soon.

dearvenus Says:


This was my given name.. gross. I have to go by my middle name since I personally dislike this so much, I just don't understand why my parents would think it was suitable to name their daughter born in 2005 Barbara..

Fictionprincess Says:


This is one of the most dated and ugly-ass names to have ever exsisted! I don't understand why this name didn't leave the charts decades ago. Barbara is laughably bad. Puke, puke, puke.

The name 'Barbara' will never be viewed as an attractive name or a name fitting for all ages. Also, it doesn't help that Barbara (nickname Barbie) is associated with those obnoxious Barbie dolls with unrealistic body propotions.

LostKid Says:


I'm not a fan, although Barbara Dunkelman has made it seem much more usable to me.

TaliaCat Says:


I'm with you on that, and I'm not even sure why, except that it makes me think of barbed wire. Stupid, I know.

Nozomi Says:


I really can't stand this name for some odd reason. I strongly dislike it ( sorry to all of you Barbara's out there looking at this comment )

lillian85 Says:


I have been considering this name; it was my grandmothers, but I could not get past the middle aged image in my head. The Barbara Palvin association has really helped!

EvaThyssen Says:


Here in Chile, the Spanish variation, Bárbara, is very popular among young women, not associated to grandmothers at all.

headintheclouds Says:


I suppose it's true, at least for my case, that names from your grandma's time sound hip and cool again, but those from your mom's generation sound tired and old. It's not just that though- I find the sound of Barbara very harsh and just not appealing whatsoever. The nicknames of Babs, Barbs, Barbie make me shudder, and to me, Barbara just sounds unusable today. That'll most likely change in the next generation!

lesliemarion Says:


Bar? As in let's go get a drink at the? I love Barbara and think it will rise hugely.

indiefendi2 Says:


Barbara means "barbarian"...

Guest Says:


Maybe the beautiful young supermodel Barbara Palvin can add some youth to this name but I much prefer Bar by itself.