Virginia (given name)

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Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait.jpg
The state of Virginia was named by Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen," possibly modifying the name of a Native American regional "king". The title inspired the name Virginia for generations of girls and women.
Gender female
Word/name Latin
Meaning "virgin"

Virginia is a feminine given name derived from the Ancient Roman family name Virginius, a name probably derived from the Latin word virgo, meaning "maiden" or "virgin." According to legend, Virginia was a Roman girl who was killed by her father in order to save her from seduction by the corrupt government official Appius Claudius Crassus.[1]

The name was the 34th most common name for American women and girls, according to the census of 1990. It was the 545th most popular name given to baby girls born in the United States in 2007.[1] Virginia is the name of a state in the United States, derived by an expedition sent by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584 who recorded the name of a Native American regional "king", Wingina, and reported to Queen Elizabeth I that he ruled over a land known as Wingandacoa.[2] She was probably influenced by this report to modify the name of the colony to "Virginia", in part alluding to her status as the "Virgin Queen." It is the oldest surviving English place-name in the U.S. not wholly borrowed from a Native American word, and the fourth oldest surviving English place name, though it is Latin in form.[3]

Virginia Dare was the first child born to English parents in North America. Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter that prompted the famous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial in the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun.


Reduced forms/nicknames[edit]

  • Ginnie (English)
  • Ginna (English/Italian)
  • Ginger (English)
  • Ginny (English)
  • Jenna (English)
  • Jinny (English)
  • Ginia (Spanish)
  • Gina (Spanish/Portuguese)
  • Ginata (Spanish)
  • Gigi (French)
  • Ginni (Indian)

People with the given name[edit]


  1. ^ a b Behind the Name
  2. ^ On Raleigh's subsequent voyage to the area, he recorded that Wingandacoa, the word the English had heard upon his first arrival in 1584, means "What good clothes you wear!" and was not the native name of Wingina's country.
  3. ^ Three names from the Roanoke Colony are still in use, all based on Native American names. Stewart, George (1945). Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States. New York: Random House. p. 22.