Veronica, Berenice, Bernice

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “true image; bringer of victory.”
Eng (veh-RON-ik-uh); Eng (bare-eh-NIE-see); Eng (ber-NEES)

Veronica and Berenice have a very long history of usage.

In the ancient world, Berenice was a Greek royal name, possibly derived from the Greek elements, φερω (phero), meaning, “to bring” and νικη (nike), meaning “victory.” However, other sources contend that Veronica is a completely different name of a different etymology, being composed of the Latin phrase, vera icon, meaning, “true image.” This meaning is most likely in reference to the legend of St.Veronica, who in Catholic and Orthodox tradition was a lady who wiped Christ’s face with her veil. According to the legend, Christ’s face miraculously imprinted itself on her veil.

Berenice also appears in the New Testament, but seems to have been a common female name in the ancient Greek world. It was borne by several Greek and Macedonian royal princesses.

Veronica was occasionally used in Medieval England, but went out of usage, even before the Protestant Reformation. It remained common on the Continent.

Veronica became prevalent in 2oth-century America due to the sudden influx Catholic European immigrants. Currently, Veronica is the 216th most popular female name in the United States, (2008). She experienced a short surge of popularity between the 1970s and 80s, the highest she ranked was at # 68.

Berenice/Bernice were introduced into the English speaking world during the Protestant Reformation. Currently, Berenice does not appear in the U.S. top 1000, the last time she was seen was in 2003, coming in as the 855th most popular female name. However, in 1921, Bernice was the 39th most popular female name in the United States. Bernice fell out of the top 1000 in 1985.

Other forms of Veronica include:

  • Veronika Вероника (Croatian/Czech/German/Hungarian/Latvian/Lithuanian/Norwegian/Russian/Serbian/Slovak/Slovene/Swedish)
  • Veronica (Danish/English/Finnish/Italian/Romanian)
  • Véronique (French)
  • Weronika (Polish)
  • Weronikia (Polish: obscure)
  • Verônica (Portuguese)
  • Feruna (Slovene: obscure)
  • Verónica (Spanish)

An Italian masculine form is Veronico.

Russian diminutives include: Veronichka, Vera, Verona, Ronya, Ronyusha, Verunya, Verusha, Vicky, Nick, Nikasha, and Nikusha.

Slovene diminutives include: Nika, Roni, Ronja, Ronka, Verona, Veroni, Veronica, Veronka and Veruša.

Common English short forms are: Nicki, Ronnie and Vera.

Other Berenice forms include:

  • Vernika (Czech)
  • Berenika (Czech/Polish/Slovene)
  • Berenice (English/Italian: be-reh-NEE-che)
  • Bernice (English)
  • Berenike Βερενικη (Greek)
  • Bernike Βερνικη (Greek)
  • Pherenike Φερενικη (Greek: ancient Attic Greek)
  • Bereniké (Hungarian)
  • Verenika (Russian)

In English, Bunny is used as a pet form of Bernice.

The designated name-day is February 4.

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