Barbara Name Meaning | Origin, History & Popularity

Barbara Name Meaning

The name Barbara holds a strong and meaningful significance. It is of Greek origin, derived from the word “barbaros,” which means “foreign” or “strange.” As a name, Barbara symbolizes uniqueness and individuality, reflecting the qualities of those who bear it.

5 Famous People Named Barbara

  1. Barbara Streisand – An iconic American singer, actress, and filmmaker, Barbara Streisand is known for her contributions to the entertainment industry.
  2. Barbara Walters – An American broadcast journalist, Barbara Walters has been a prominent figure in the field of television journalism.
  3. Barbara Bush – The former First Lady of the United States, Barbara Bush was the wife of President George H.W. Bush.
  4. Barbara Eden – An American actress and singer, Barbara Eden is best known for her role as Jeannie in the TV show “I Dream of Jeannie.”
  5. Barbara Palvin – A Hungarian model and actress, Barbara Palvin has worked with various renowned fashion brands and magazines.

Name Origin and History

The name Barbara has its origins in Greek, where it was derived from the word “barbaros.” In ancient times, the Greeks used the term “barbaros” to refer to foreigners or individuals who spoke a language they couldn’t understand. Over time, “Barbara” evolved into a given name, becoming widely used in various cultures.

The popularity of the name Barbara spread through Europe during the Middle Ages, and it gained further recognition during the Christian era, honoring Saint Barbara, an early Christian martyr.


The name Barbara experienced significant popularity during the 20th century, particularly in English-speaking countries. It was embraced for its timeless and classic charm, making it a popular choice for parents seeking a name with historical significance.

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5 Variations of Barbara

  1. Barbra – A variant with a slightly altered spelling, Barbra maintains the same classic appeal.
  2. Varvara – A Russian variation of the name, Varvara offers an elegant and exotic touch.
  3. Babette – A diminutive form of Barbara, Babette, adds a more endearing and affectionate tone.
  4. Varvara – Another variation found in Eastern Europe, Varvara reflects the name’s diverse origins.
  5. Bärbel – A German diminutive form of Barbara, Bärbel, has a sweet and charming quality.

5 Different Origins of the Name Barbara

  1. Greek Origin – Barbara finds its roots in the Greek word “barbaros,” meaning “foreign” or “strange.”
  2. Medieval Europe – The popularity of the name Barbara spread through Europe during the Middle Ages.
  3. Christian Era – The name gained recognition during the Christian era, honoring the early Christian martyr Saint Barbara.
  4. Timeless Charm – Barbara’s popularity has endured over the centuries, making it a classic and timeless choice.
  5. Cultural Significance – Barbara’s association with uniqueness and individuality has made it a name with cultural significance.

Cultural Significance

The name Barbara holds cultural significance through its association with uniqueness and individuality. It symbolizes the distinctiveness of those who bear it, reflecting their identity and character.

Moreover, individuals like Barbara Streisand and Barbara Walters have brought prominence to the name, elevating its cultural significance. Their accomplishments in the fields of entertainment and journalism have made Barbara a name associated with talent and success.


In conclusion, the name Barbara, with its Greek origin and meaning of “foreign” or “strange,” holds a classic and meaningful appeal. It has been embraced by various cultures and is celebrated for its association with uniqueness and individuality.

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Through the recognition of famous individuals like Barbara Streisand and Barbara Walters, the name has garnered cultural significance. As we continue to embrace the stories behind our names, Barbara remains a timeless and cherished choice, symbolizing the uniqueness and individuality that enrich our lives.