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Gender: Female Meaning of Sylvia: "from the forest" Origin of Sylvia: Latin Sylvia's Popularity in 2017: #488

The name Sylvia is a girl's name of Latin origin meaning "from the forest". Sylvia is ranked #488 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Vintage Girl Names and discussed in our forums with posts like "Pick 5 (GIRLS)".

From the experts:

The musical, sylvan Sylvia seems poised to join former friends Frances and Beatrice and Dorothy back in the nursery.

Sylvia has been consistently on the popularity list since records started being kept. She was a Top 100 name from 1932 to 1948, reaching a high of Number 48 in 1932.

Spelled Silvia, she was the mother of the twins Remus and Romulus, who were the mythological founders of Rome, and was a character in Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona. The Bard also penned the immortal lines "Who is Silvia? what is she, that all our swains admire her?" -- words echoed in the Edward Albee play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?

Sylvias have also played major roles in Clare Booth Luce's classic play The Women and the Fellini film La Dolce Vita.

Sylvia Plath was the Tragic Heroine of modern poetry.

The French Sylvie is an appealing alternative.

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

Famous People Named Sylvia

(Estelle) Sylvia Pankhurst, English suffragette and socialist
Sylvia Plath, American poet and novelist
Sylvia Sidney (born Sophia Kosow), American actress
Sylvia Peterson, American singer of The Chiffons
Sylvia Shaqueria Fowles, American basketball player
Sylvia Lewis, American actress, dancer, and choreographer
Sylvia Louise Hitchcock, Miss USA and Miss Universe 1967
Sylvia of Hollywood (born Symnove Johanne Waaler), Swedish-American fitness guru to the stars
Sylvia Celeste Browne, American psychic and author
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, mother of the Davies boys, the inspiration for J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan character
Sylvia Lucia Peters, British television presenter and actress
(Ai-chia) Sylvia Chang, Taiwanese actress/pop singer
Sylvia Jeffreys, Australian journalist and TV presenter
Sylvia Lim (Swee Lian), Singaporean politician
Sylvia Moy, American songwriter and producer
Sylvia Rhyne Hatchell, American college basketball coach
Sylvia Alice Earle, American marine biologist
Sylvia Grey Dalton (b. 2012), daughter of actor Brett Dalton
Sylvia Zamperini, sister of WWII POW Louis Zamperini
Sylvia Rivera, transgender woman and LGBT+ activist
Sylvia Hoeks, Dutch actress

Pop Culture References for the name Sylvia

Sylvia, ballet by Leo Delibes
Sylvia, character in Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair"
Sylvia, the goat in Edward Albee's "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?"
Sylvia Fine, Fran's mother on TV's "The Nanny"
Sylvia Garland, character in film "The Truman Show"
Sylvia Tietjens, Christopher's unfaithful Roman Catholic wife, a malicious beauty, in novels by Ford Madox Ford
Sylvia Fowler, character in Clare Booth Luce's "The Women"
Sylvia Weis, character in film "In Time'
Queen Sylvia, ruler of Halloway in "The Black Jewels" trilogy
Sylvia Redbird, character in the 'House Of Night' series by PC Cast
Sylvia Bennington, character in films "Three Men And A Baby" and "Three Men And A Little Lady"
Sylvia the Zbornak, character on TV's "Wander Over Yonder"
Sylvia Miskin McFly ( aka Trixie Trotter), character in the Back to the Future video game
"Sylvia's Mother", song by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show
"Sylvia", song by Stevie Wonder
Sylvia Green, one of the two heroines of Joan Aiken's "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase"

Sylvana, Silvania, Sylva, Silvanna, Silvie, Silvaine, Sylvee, Sylvian, Sylvine, Silvianne, Zilvia, Sylviana

Sylvia's International Variations

Silvina, Silvia, Silvana, Silveria (Spanish) Silwia (Polish) Sylvianne, Sylvette, Sylvie (French) Silivia (Hawaiian) Silva (Italian)


Daiseymae Says:



RoseGoldHeart Says:


Gorgeous name. It is amazing, and goes especially well with the French middle name Thérèse.

Eliane Says:


Reminds me of Sylvia Fine from the Nanny! She was the best! :)

whisper2thedead Says:


I had forgotten until after I had my daughter Sylvia Quinn, and I was folding clothes that were everywhere in her room and say "ohhhh Sylvia!" and I immediately burst out laughing and sung the rest.

bordercollie Says:


A sleek, light, lovely name that looks gorgeous written out. Unfortunately, when said aloud, it makes me think of the word saliva.

scblovesnames Says:


This is so pretty.

izdicaprio Says:


I can't be the only one who thinks of "Sylvia!" "Yes Mickey?" everytime I hear this name

paulapuddephatt Says:


I really like Silvia. I like the Sylvia spelling too, though.

paulapuddephatt Says:


Juliet was fictional though, right? I agree, though. There have been others named Sylvia. I think that Sylvia and Sylvie are growing in popularity, in part, as Sophia and Sophie alternatives, as the names share some phonetic qualities, although Sonia is more closely connected, coming from the same roots. Sylvia is also just very beautiful.

indiefendi2 Says:


well, people name their daughters Ophelia for some reason and many of us know the story that was written for her. And Juliet is popular now too. Sylvia Plath is not the only Sylvia that has ever lived and not the only notable one.

paulapuddephatt Says:


I love Sylvia Plath so much, and relate. Have you read "The Bell Jar", as well as her poetry? It broke my heart, especially because it was heavily autobiographical. I don't see the name Sylvia as exclusively linked to her, as have known and heard of others. Sylvie is a lovely alternative, or Silvia, the original spelling. If I wanted to honour Sylvia Plath, I would consider her daughter's name, Frieda. I don't think it's wrong to discuss important issues on here sometimes, if they are relevant. I suffer from depression, and relate a lot to Sylvia's work.

BrittanyBrown Says:


Go with Sybella instead.

nipnerb Says:


I agree. Sybil sounds a bit like Civil.

grace147 Says:


I cannot help but despise this name. It sounds like its for an old mean lady. I'm sorry- I could never name my child this. Ever.

livelovewrite Says:


Beautiful IMO.

Leah3456 Says:


I love the meaning of this name and the vintage age vibe it gives.

CupcakeGirl13 Says:


Definitely Sylvia, Sybil sounds a bit odd like something is missing. But its all opinion.

ladybug99 Says:


I can't decide if I like Sylvia or Sybil more- Sylvia seems more complete, Sybil seems more down to earth. Thoughts?

ThistleThorn Says:


This is pretty. Silvia just looks like saliva to me.

unicornluvgirl Says:


My mom's name!