The name is derived from the Roman cognomen, Fabius, which is from the Latin, faba, meaning, “bean.”
The name Fabius was common in the Roman Empire, and was borne by a Roman general who helped delay Hannibal’s advancement into Rome.
Fabian was borne by a 3rd-century pope, martyr and saint. His feast-day and name-day is January 20th.
Currently, Fabian is the # 288th most popular male name in the United States. In 1959, he entered the top 1000, coming in as the 608th most popular male name, that same year, a famous pop singer of the same name had a few hits.
In other countries, his rankings are as follows:
- # 39 (Chile, 2006)
- # 25 (Germany, 2009)
- # 139 (the Netherlands, 2008)
- #77 (Poland, Warsaw, 2009)
- # 75 (Sweden, 2008)
- # 16 (Switzerland, 2008)
His Italian off shoot of Fabio, is currently the 119th most popular male name in Germany, (2009); in 2008, Fabio was the 18th most popular male name in Switzerland.
Other forms of the name include:
- Fabià (Catalan)
- Fabijan (Croatian)
- Fabian (English/German/Polish/Swedish)
- Fabien (French)
- Fábián (Hungarian)
- Fabio/Fabiano (Italian)
- Fabius/Fabianus (Latin)
- Fabijonas (Lithuanian)
- Fabião/Fábio (Portuguese)
- Fabyan Фабиан (Russian/Ukrainian)
- Fábian/Fábius (Slovakian)
- Fabián (Spanish)
Its French feminine offshoot of Fabienne was also very popular in the German-speaking countries between the late 80s and early 90s. Currently, she is the 104th most popular female name in Germany, (2009) and is the 368th most popular in the Netherlands, (2008).
Other feminine forms include:
- Fabiënne (Dutch)
- Fabienne (French/German)
- Fabia (Italian/Latin)
- Fabiana (Italian/Latin/Portuguese/Spanish)
- Fábia (Portuguese/Slovakian)
- Fabiána (Slovakian)
There is also the Latin diminutive of Fabiola, which has been used as an independent given name since at least the Middle Ages. The name was borne by a 4th-century Christian martyr, and is an especially popular name in Spanish-speaking countries and was occasionally used in German-speaking countries, but is now considered dated.
The name was borne by 1950s, American teen idol, (as mentioned above), Fabian (b. 1943), née Fabiano Forte.