The name is of a few different etymology depending on the source of the bearer. In Slavic-speaking countries, the name is a short form of any name containing the element dan meaning, “gift.” It could also be used as a diminutive form of Danijela or Daniela.
The name is also a modern form of the ancient Celtic theonym, Dânu, an early Irish mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Her name has been traced to early Indo-European roots and is believed to have some connection to water. This element appears in several river names across Europe, such as the Dnieper, Danube and Don. This form is borne by Irish singer, Dana Scallon (b.1951).
Its usage in the English-speaking world may actually derived from a Danish surname, usually pronounced (DAY-nah) in English, the former are both pronounced (DAH-nah).
Currently, Dana is the 146th most popular female name in Germany, (2011). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:
- # 248 (Netherlands, 2010)
- # 463 (United States, 2010)