Selma is a feminine name of uncertain origin. It could be a form of Selima, which in turn is a name first recorded in a poem by Thomas Gray (died 1771). One possibility is that Selima was influenced by the Arabic name Selim meaning "peace". The Turkish name Selma is ultimately of Arabic origin. The use of Selma in Germany and Scandinavia stems from the Ossianic poetry of James Macpherson (died 1796), where it appears as a place name. Its specific popularity in Sweden is likely due to the Selma poems of Frans Michael Franzén (died 1847). It was later introduced into Denmark by Swedish immigrants, after which it likely became more common due to the works of the author Selma Lagerlöf (died 1940).
- Selma Bajrami (born 1980), Bosnian singer
- Selma Björnsdóttir (born 1974), Icelandic singer, 1999 and 2005 representative in the Eurovision Song Contest
- Selma Blair (born 1972), American actress
- Selma Chalabi, British filmmaker
- Selma Diamond (1920–1985), American actress
- Selma Ergeç (born 1978), Turkish-German actress and model
- Selma Ek (1856–1941), Swedish opera singer
- Selma Gräfin von der Gröben (1856-1938), German women's rights activist
- Zelma Hedin (1827-1874), Swedish actress
- Selma Jacobsson (1841-1899) Swedish photographer
- Selma Aliye Kavaf (born 1962), Turkish politician
- Selma Kurz (1874–1933), Austrian/German operatic soprano
- Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940), Swedish author
- Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger (1924–1942), Romanian-born German-language poet
- Selma Yağcı (born 1981), Turkish boxer
- Bartolomé de Selma y Salaverde (c. 1595 – after 1638), Spanish composer and dulcian player
- Dick Selma (1943–2001), American baseball player
- Mai Selma (11th century), last Duguwa king of the Kanem Empire
- Schwester Selma (1884–1984), Israeli nurse
- Selma Bouvier, The Simpsons character voiced by Julie Kavner
- Selma Jezková, fictional character in the Lars von Trier film Dancer in the Dark played by Björk
- Selma St. George, character in Stephen King's 1992 novel Dolores Claiborne
- Fellows-Jensen, G (2001). "Danish Place-names in Scotland and Scottish Personal Names in Denmark: A Survey of Recent Research". In Fellows-Jensen, G. Denmark and Scotland: The Cultural and Environmental Resources of Small Nations. Historisk-filosofiske Meddelelser (series vol. 82). Copenhagen: Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. pp. 123–138. ISBN 87-7876-229-4. ISSN 0106-0481.
- Hanks, P; Hardcastle, K; Hodges, F (2006) . A Dictionary of First Names. Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1.
- Vigsø, O (2005). "168: The Language of 19th Century Translations II: Danish". In Bandle, O; Braunmüller, K; Jahr, EH; Karker, A; Naumann, H-P; Teleman, U; Elmevik, L; Widmark, G. The Nordic Languages: An International Handbook of the History of the North Germanic Languages. Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (series vol. 22). Vol. 2. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 1513–1514. ISBN 3 11 017149 X.
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