Siena, Sienna


Sienna, SienaThis name has somewhat of a complicated history, though it seems like a modern place-name, it has actually had a long history of use.

Sienna is an alternate spelling for an Italian city in Tuscany. The name itself is believed to be from Saina, which was the name of an Etruscan tribe that inhabited the area prior to the Romans. There is also a legend that it was named for a son of Romulus who was named Senius. The name has also been linked with the Latin senex (old) and the Latin verb, seneo (to be old).

As the name of a colour, it takes its name from the city, where the popular pigment used among artist was first produced. Its use as a colour name in the English language first appears in 1760.

Now as a given-name, this is where things get complicated. Its earliest use appears in the 18th-century, in Spain, Quebec and England. In the case of Spain and Quebec, it was most likely used in honour of St. Catherine of Sienna. In the English examples, it may have been used in reference to the colour. The British have a long history of using names of places and words since the 16th-century.

By the early 1800s, Sienna was a very popular middle name used in Bavaria and Ireland, attached to the name Catherine, so in these cases it was no doubt used in reference to St. Catherine of Sienna in devoutly Catholic pockets of Europe.

Sienna is also the name of several places throughout Poland and occasionally occurs as a surname. In this case, the name is derived from the Polish word, siano (hay).

Sienna currently ranks in the Top 100 of several countries. Its rankings are as follows:

  • #27 (Australia, NSW, 2017)
  • #28 (England/Wales, 2016)
  • #32 (New Zealand, 2016)
  • #68 (Scotland, 2016)
  • #71 (Ireland, 2016)
  • #236 (United States, 2016)
  • #354 (Netherlands, 2016)
  • #625 (Siena, United States, 2016)

A Dutch offshoot is Siënna.

A notable bearer is actress, Sienna Miller (b.1981).

Sources

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