Vivian Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity, and Significance

Vivian Name Origin and Meaning

If you’re interested in the origin and meaning of the name Vivian, you’ve come to the right place. In this section, we’ll explore the Latin roots of the name and its various connotations. We’ll also discuss the historical usage of Vivian as a masculine and feminine name, as well as some popular variants and nicknames.

Latin Roots and Meaning

The name Vivian is derived from the Latin name Vivianus, which means “alive” or “living.” This Latin root word vivus is also the source of other English words, such as vivid and revive. The name Vivian has been in use since the Middle Ages and was originally a masculine name. However, it has since become a popular gender-neutral name.

Masculine and Feminine Usage

As mentioned earlier, Vivian was originally a masculine name and was introduced to Norman England in the 11th or 12th century. Over time, it gave rise to a variety of British surnames, including Videan, Vidgen, Vidgeon, Fiddian, Fidgeon, Phythian, and Phethean. The Vyvyan family has been a prominent family of Cornwall since the 16th century.

In more recent times, Vivian has become a popular name for girls as well. According to, the name Vivian is primarily a female name of Latin origin that means “Alive.” The most common variation of Vivian is Vivien but other common spellings are Vivienne and Vivianne.

Variants and Nicknames

There are several variants and nicknames associated with the name Vivian. Some of the popular variants include Vivien, Vivienne, and Vivianne. Nicknames for Vivian include Vi, Vivi, Yen, and Viv. These variants and nicknames offer a variety of options for parents who want to give their child a unique and meaningful name.

In conclusion, the name Vivian has a rich history and a variety of meanings and connotations. Whether you’re considering it for a boy or a girl, it’s a name that is sure to stand out and make a statement.

Popularity of the Name Vivian

If you are considering naming your baby girl Vivian, you may be interested in knowing how popular the name is. In this section, we will look at the popularity of the name Vivian in the United States and globally.

Vivian in the US

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), Vivian was a popular name in the early 20th century, peaking in popularity in 1920 when it was the 48th most popular name for baby girls. However, its popularity declined in the following decades, and by the 1960s, it had fallen out of the top 1000 names.

In recent years, Vivian has been making a comeback. In 2020, it was the 186th most popular name for baby girls in the United States, up from the previous year’s rank of 195. In 2021, it climbed even higher to rank 166. It is predicted to be even more popular in 2022 and 2023, with a rank of 155 and 160 respectively.

Global Popularity

Vivian is not just popular in the United States; it is also a popular name in other parts of the world. In England and Wales, it was the 91st most popular name for baby girls in 2020. In Canada, it was the 80th most popular name for baby girls in 2019.

The name Vivian is also popular in other countries, including France, Germany, and Spain. However, its popularity varies by region and year.

Overall, Vivian is a name that has been popular in the past, declined in popularity, and is now making a comeback. If you are considering naming your baby girl Vivian, you can rest assured that it is a name that is both classic and trendy.

Historical and Cultural References

Arthurian Legend

In Arthurian legend, Vivian is the name of the Lady of the Lake, who gives King Arthur the sword Excalibur. According to the legend, Vivian was a powerful sorceress who lived in a magical underwater kingdom. She is often depicted as a beautiful and mysterious figure, with the power to control the elements and cast spells. The character of Vivian has been featured in many adaptations of Arthurian legend, including novels, films, and television shows.

Saint Vivian

Saint Vivian was a French bishop who lived in the 5th century. During the Visigoth invasion of France, he provided protection to his people and helped to rebuild his community after the invasion had passed. He is often depicted in religious art as a bishop, holding a crosier and wearing a mitre. Saint Vivian is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, and his feast day is celebrated on December 20th.

19th Century Usage

In the 19th century, the name Vivian became popular as a given name for both boys and girls. It was often used as a way to honor the Vyvyan family, a prominent family of Cornwall, England. The name Vivian was also used as a surname, and gave rise to a variety of British surnames, including Videan, Vidgen, Vidgeon, Fiddian, Fidgeon, Phythian, and Phethean.

In conclusion, the name Vivian has a rich and varied history, with cultural and historical references spanning from Arthurian legend to the Roman Empire and beyond. Whether you choose to name your child Vivian as a way to honor a saint, a powerful sorceress, or simply because you love the sound of the name, it is a name that carries with it a sense of history and tradition.

Famous People Named Vivian

If you are curious about famous people with the name Vivian, you have come to the right place. This section will introduce you to some of the most notable individuals who share this name. From actors and actresses to musicians and artists, and other notable figures, this list covers a wide range of fields.

Actors and Actresses

Vivian Vance was an American actress best known for her role as Ethel Mertz on the television sitcom “I Love Lucy.” Vivien Leigh was a British actress who won two Academy Awards for her performances in “Gone with the Wind” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Vivian Wilson Henderson was an American actress who appeared in several films and television shows, including “The Cosby Show” and “Law & Order.”

Other notable actresses named Vivian include Vivian Dandridge, the sister of Dorothy Dandridge and an actress in her own right, and Vivian Bang, an American actress and comedian who has appeared in several films and television shows.

Musicians and Artists

Vivian Green is an American R&B singer and songwriter who has released several albums, including “A Love Story” and “Vivian.” Vivian Maier was an American street photographer whose work was discovered after her death and has since been exhibited in galleries around the world.

Other Notable Figures

Vivienne Westwood is a British fashion designer and businesswoman who is known for her punk-inspired designs. Vivian Joan Abbot Walker was an American mathematician and computer programmer who worked on the ENIAC, one of the first electronic computers. Vivian Ward is a fictional character played by Julia Roberts in the movie “Pretty Woman.” Vivian Banks is a character on the television show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

While there are many other notable individuals with the name Vivian, these are just a few examples of the diverse range of people who share this name.

Vivian in Literature and Media

Literary References

Vivian is a name that has been used in various works of literature. One of the most famous literary references to the name Vivian is in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Merlin and Vivien.” In this poem, Vivien is a beautiful and manipulative woman who seduces the wizard Merlin and ultimately causes his downfall.

Another notable literary reference is in the novel “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” by Rebecca Wells. In the book, one of the main characters is named Viviane, but goes by the nickname “Vivi.” She is a complex and flawed character who struggles with her relationships with her family and friends.

Vivian in Film and Television

Vivian has also made appearances in various films and television shows. One of the most well-known examples is the character of Vivian Ward in the 1990 romantic comedy “Pretty Woman.” Played by Julia Roberts, Vivian is a prostitute who is hired by a wealthy businessman to be his companion for a week. The film has become a classic and Vivian Ward is an iconic character.

Another notable example is Aunt Vivian Banks from the popular 90s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Played by both Janet Hubert and Daphne Maxwell Reid, Aunt Vivian is a strong and opinionated character who is a mother figure to the show’s main character, Will Smith.

In conclusion, the name Vivian has been used in various forms of media throughout history. From literature to film and television, the name has been associated with a variety of characters and personalities.

Similar and Related Names

If you’re considering the name Vivian for your little one, you might also be interested in exploring some similar and related names. Here are some options to consider:

Variants of Vivian

  • Vivi
  • Vian
  • Viv
  • Vivia
  • Vivien
  • Vien
  • Vivienne
  • Viviana
  • Van
  • Anna
  • Viviane
  • Bibiana
  • Vivianne
  • Vyvyan
  • Vine
  • Vianne
  • Vivianus

Names with Similar Meanings

  • Evelyn
  • Violet
  • William/Liam
  • Vevina
  • Vina
  • Vivianna
  • Eva
  • Vera
  • Victoria
  • Vianna
  • Bibiane
  • Vibiana
  • B├ębinn

Names Popular in the Same Era

If you’re looking for names that were popular around the same time as Vivian, here are a few options:

  • Alice
  • Beatrice
  • Clara
  • Edith
  • Eleanor
  • Florence
  • Gertrude
  • Harriet
  • Hazel
  • Irene
  • Josephine
  • Lillian
  • Margaret
  • Mildred
  • Olive
  • Pearl
  • Ruby
  • Ruth
  • Stella
  • Virginia

Remember, when choosing a name for your child, it’s important to find one that you love and that has meaning for you. Whether you choose Vivian or one of its similar or related names, make sure it’s a name that you and your child will cherish for years to come.

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