Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “to have renown; fame.”
(KLEEL-yah; KLAY-lee-ah)

The name is derived from the Latin verb, cluere, meaning, “to have renown; fame.”

Clelia is a modern form of the Latin Cloelia, which is a feminine form of Cloelius.

The name was borne by a semi-legendary Roman heroine. Cloelia was taken hostage by the Etruscan king, Lars Porsena, she managed to escape by crossing the Tiber on her horse. She agreed to be returned to the Etruscans as a hostage on the condition that they set free all the young Roman men they had taken hostage so that they may continue the war.

She is the only woman in Roman history ever to have had an equestrian statue erected in her honour.

Her story was the subject of an 18th-century Italian opera.

The name appears in the 1839 novel, The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal.

The name has been borne by several other remarkable women. Including:

  • Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi (1730-1830) an Italian botanist and marchesa of Genoa, Italy.
  • Clelia Rachel Barbieri (1847-1870) an Italian saint who is credited as being the youngest person ever to have found a religious order, she was the foundress of the Order of the Sisters Minims of Our Lady of Sorrows.
  • Clelia Duel Mosher (1863-1940) a women’s health advocate of the Victorian era.

As of 2010, Clélia was the 258th most popular female name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Clelia (English/German/Italian)
  • Clélia (French/Spanish)
  • Clélie (French)
  • Cloelia (Latin)
  • Klelia (Polish)

Masculine forms are Cloelius and Clelio (Italian).

Clay might make an interesting nickname option.


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