Eng (sə-MAN-thə); Fre (SAH-mAWn-TAH)
The name is of unknown derivation or meaning, some sources believe that it may have been an 18th-century feminization of the Biblical male name, Samuel, which means “heard by God”, while others believe it to be a smush of Sam and the Greek female name Antha, meaning “flower.”
The name seems to have first appeared in Colonial America.
Currently, Samantha is the 11th most popular female name in the United States, and the highest she has ranked in U.S. naming history was in 1998, coming in as the third most popular female name. The lowest Samantha has ranked in U.S. history was 1907 when she came as the 945th most popular female name.
The earliest records of U.S. naming trends, which goes far back as 1880, indicates that Samantha was 352nd most popular female name of that year.
Samantha’s popularity may have been due to the hit 1960’s SitCom Bewitched, in which the lead character, named Samantha Stephens, was a witch born in the 16th-century, who decides to settle down in contemporary society.
Whatever Samantha’s origins, its long historical usage in the United States has rendered it a legitimate name, her usage has even gone overseas. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:
- # 40 (Australia, 2007)
- # 21 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
- # 261 (the Netherlands, 2008)
- # 137 Samanta (Poland, Warsaw, 2009)
- # 90 (Scotland, 2008)
Samantha is also used ocassionally in French-speaking countries and German-speaking countries, although, Samantha does not currently appear in Germany’s top 500 names (2008).
Samanta has recently become trendy in Central Europe and Italy. An obscure French form is Samanthée.
In English, the most common pet forms are Sam and Sammie.
Italy has given Samantha the name-day of November 1st.
The name is borne by:
“Aunt” Samantha Bumgarner (1878-1960), considered the first recorded female country artist, she was known for her work with the fiddle and banjo in the early 1900s.
Samantha Barning (b.1989) Dutch professional Badminton player
1970s/80s Dutch Radio Presenter, Samantha Dubois, (née Ellen Kraal)/
British model and pop singer, Samantha Fox (b.1966)