Virginia is a feminine form of the Roman family name Virginius which is believed to be derived from the Latin virgo meaning “virgin; maiden.”
According to Roman legend, the name was borne by a girl who was killed by her father in order to save her from a corrupt Roman official.
The Commonwealth of Virginia was named by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584 in part for Queen Elizabeth I of England (known as the Virgin Queen) and also in part an anglicized form of a Native American chief’s name, Wingina.
The name was borne by Virginia Dare (1587), lauded to be the first ethnically English child to be born in the New World. The name seems to have been very popular in the United States among early settlers, either as a nod to an American birth or in honour of the first English child born in the United States.
Among Catholic immigrants, the name caught on due to its associations with the Virgin Mary.
Currently, Virginia is the 608th most popular female name in the United States, but in 1921, it ranked in as the 6th most popular female name.
Other forms of the name include:
- Virginië (Afrikaans)
- Virxinia (Asturian)
- Virgínia (Catalan)
- Vijini (Creole)
- Verginia(Latin: early)
- Virginie (French/Czech)
- Firginia (Frisian)
- Wilikinia (Hawaiian)
- Virzsini (Hungarian)
- Virna (Italian)
- Virginia (Italian/Spanish/Portuguese)
- Virdžīnija (Latvian)
- Virdžinija (Lithuanian)
- Virginn-a (Ligurian)
- Wirginia (Polish)
- Verge (Occitanian)
- Virgínia (Occitanian)
- Verjhini (Occitanian)
- Virdžinėjė (Saimogaitian)
A common English short form is Ginny.