The name has several different origins and meanings, it could either be from the Swahili word meaning “purpose,”, in which case, it is the name of the of the 5th day of Kwanzaa which celebrates the principle of community.

It can also be a Welsh form of the Gaelic Niamh.

In South Eastern Europe, such as Croatia, Slovenia and Greece it is a contracted form of Antonia, now used exclusively as an independent given name.

Currently, Nia is the 90th most popular female name in Slovenia (2010) and the 469th most popular in the United States. Another form is the Slovene Nija.

The name is borne by actresses Nia Long and Nia Vardalos.




Gender: Feminine
Origin: Irish-Gaelic
Meaning: “brightness; beauty.”

The name comes directly from the Gaelic meaning, “brightness; beauty.” In Irish legend, it was borne by the beautiful daughter of the sea god, she fell in love with Oisín, the son of Fionn Mac Cumhail and carried him off to the land of perpetual youth, where he lived with her for 300 years.

Currently, Niamh has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity all over the British Isles. She stands as the 70th most popular female name in England/Wales, (2008). Her rankings in other countries is as follows:

  • # 18 (Ireland, 2008)
  • # 26 (Scotland, 2009)

The Welsh form is Nia.