Sophia, also spelled Sofia, is a feminine given name, from Greek Σοφία, Sophía, "Wisdom". Other forms include Sophie, Sophy, and Sofie. The given name is first recorded in the beginning of the 4th century.[2] It is a common female name in the Eastern Orthodox countries. It became very popular in the West beginning in the later 1990s and became one of the most popularly given girls' names in the Western world in the first decades of the 21st century.

Derivationfrom Greek Σοφία, Sophía
Region of originByzantine Empire
Other names
Alternative spellingSofia
Variant form(s)Sophie, Sophy
Related namesSofija, Sofiya, Sofya
See alsoSonia
A statue of Sophia, the personification of wisdom, in the Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey.
A depiction of Saint Sophia and Her Three Daughters, Faith, Hope and Charity (icon of the Novgorod school, 16th century).
Sophia Loren in 1955

Popularity edit

Sophia was known as the personification of wisdom by early Christians and Saint Sophia is also an early Christian martyr. Both associations contributed to the usage of the name. The name was comparatively common in continental Europe in the medieval and early modern period. It was popularized in Britain by the German House of Hanover in the 18th century. It was repeatedly popularised among the wider population, by the name of a character in the novel Tom Jones (1794) by Henry Fielding, in The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) by Oliver Goldsmith, and in the 1960s by Italian actress Sophia Loren (b. 1934).

Sophia was comparatively popular in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century; its use declined in the 1920s to 1950s; it became again moderately popular during the 1960s to 1980s.

During the 1990s to the 2010s, the popularity of the name rose dramatically in many countries throughout the western world. Suggested influences for this trend include Sofía Vergara and Sofia Coppola (popular from the late 1990s) and Sofia Hellqvist (popular from the 2000s).[3]Sophia and variants of the name remain among the most currently popularly given names for girls in countries across Europe as well as countries in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and others.[4]

Name variants edit

Greek Σοφία was adopted without significant phonological changes into numerous languages, as Sophia (German, and thence English) and Sofia (Romance languages, and thence also to Germanic languages and Finnish, etc.). The spelling Soffia is Icelandic and Welsh. Hungarian has Zsófia. Modern Spanish uses the acute diacritic, Sofía. South and East Slavic and Baltic languages have Sofija (Софија), Sofiya (София) and Sofya (Софья). West Slavic (Polish and Czech-Slovak) introduced a voiced sibilant, Zofia, Žofia, Žofie.

French has the (disyllabic) hypocoristic Sophie, which was also introduced in German, Dutch/Flemish, English and Scandinavian in the spelling Sofie and Sophy. A Dutch hypocoristic is Sofieke. Russian has the hypocoristic Соня (Sonya), which in the late 19th century was introduced to Western languages, in the spellings Sonya, Sonia and Sonja, via characters with this name in the novels Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1866, English translation 1885) and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1869, English translation 1886).

Turkish Safiye is from the unrelated Arabic Safiyya (صفية "pure").

Persian Sofia (Persian: صوفیا) is from unrelated Sufi, a sect of Islam.[citation needed]

People edit

Saints edit

Royalty edit

Sofia edit

Sophia edit

other versions edit

Arts and entertainment industry edit

Sports edit

Other edit

Fictional characters edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary".
  2. ^ V. Saxer, "Sophia v. Rom" in: Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche vol. 9 (1993), 733f., citing H.-L. Marrou, Dame Sagesse et ses trois filles: Mél. Ch. Mohrmann (1963), 177–183.
  3. ^ Olivia Petter, This is the most popular girl's name in the world, 25 October 2017. Miranda Larbi, Sofia is the most popular girl’s name in the world,, 26 October 2017. Catriona Harvey-Jenner, This is the most popular baby name for girls in the world, Cosmopolitan, 26 October 2017.
  4. ^ Sophia, Sofia (
  5. ^ a b c d Paul Guerin, Les petits Bollandistes vies des saints (1874), p. 552

External links edit