A long time Greek classic, the name suddenly appeared in the U.S top 100 circa 2000, and budged itself into the # 6 spot in 2007.
Sophia comes directly from the Greek, and was often used as a personification for Wisdom in philosophical, Christian, Jewish and Gnostic texts.
In Christian lore, Saint Sophia was the mother of three Christian martyrs, Hope (Elpida), Faith (Pisti) and Charity (Agapi). She supposedly died from grief after the death of her daughters, and is now one of the most revered saints of the Eastern Christian churches, making the name a longstanding classic throughout Eastern Europe and modern Greece.
Sophia is the Greek spelling, which seems to be the most worn form in the Western World. However, Sofia is the variation often used in continental Europe.
Sophia was not introduced into the English-speaking world until the 18-century, when it was introduced into the British Family Tree by the German Hanovers, from whose line the names Sophie and Sophia often appear.
In English, the pronunciation of so-FEE-yah, and so-FYE-uh are interchangeable. The former is more of a modern import, and the most popular. The latter is the older English pronunciation of the name, which is seldom heard in the States but is occasionally heard in Britain.
Other forms the name include:
- Zofiya (Amharic/Ethiopian)
- Soffi/Soffiya (Armenian)
- Sachveja/Sofiya (Belorusian: Zosja is a diminutive form)
- Sofija София (Bulgarian)
- Sofia (Catalan/Finnish/German/Italian/Norwegian/Occitanian/Portuguese/Romanian/Slovak/Swedish: in 2007, this was the 59th most popular female name in Norway and the 44th most popular in Sweden)
- Sònia (Catalan)
- Sofija (Croatian/Serbian)
- Sofie (Czech: SOFE-yeh)
- Soňa (Czech/Slovak: a translation of the Russian diminutive form, Sonya)
- Žofia/Žofie (Czech/Slovak: ZHOFE-yah, and ZHOFE-yeh. Diminutive forms are: Žofka and Žofa.)
- Såffi (Danish: an old Danish form of Sophia)
- Sofie (Danish/Dutch/German/Norwegian/Swedish: so-FEE Scand; zo-FEE German. In 2008, she was the 35th most popular female name in the Netherlands, and in 2007, she was the 10th most popular female name in Norway and the 85th most popular in Sweden)
- Fie (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, now used as an independent given name, FEE-e)
- Soovi (Estonian)
- Sohvi (Finnish)
- Sophie (French/English/German/Dutch. In 2008, this was the 74th most popular female name in the United States, the 12th most popular in Canada, the 7th most popular in England and Wales and the most popular female name in the Netherlands and Scotland. In 2007, it was the 8th most popular female name in Australia)
- Sonja (German/Estonian/Finnish/Polish/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene/Sorbian: a translation of the Russian diminutive form, Sonya).
- Sonje (German: ZONE-yeh)
- Sophia Σοφία (Greek Modern/English/Estonian/Italian)
- Suffi/Suffia (Greenlandic)
- Szonja (Hungarian)
- Zsófia (Hungarian: ZHOH-fee-aw. In 2005, this was the 5th most popular female name in Hungary. A common diminutive form is Zsófika)
- Soffía (Icelandic)
- Sonia (Italian/Romanian)
- Sofija/Sofja (Latvian)
- Sofija/Zofija/Zopija (Lithuanian)
- Sofija/Sofijana (Macedonian: Sofa is a diminutive form)
- Sofija (Maltese)
- Sophi (Persian)
- Sofi (Plattdeutsch)
- Zofia (Polish: diminutive forms are: Sonka, Zochna, Zocha, Zofka, Zońka, Zosia, Zośka, Zosieńka, and Zosia (ZOH-shah)
- Sónia (Portuguese-European)
- Sônia (Portuguese-Brazilian)
- Sofiya/Sofya София (Russian/Ukrainian: Russian diminutives include Sonya, which is used as an independent given name in other European countries, but seldom in Russia)
- Zofija (Slovene)
- Sofía (Spanish/Galician/Faroese, in 2006, she was the 17th most popular female name in Spain and the 5th most popular in Chile. Spanish diminutives include Chofa, Fifi, Soficita, Sofí and Sofita)
- Sofya (Turkish)
- Tzofiya (Yiddish)
Masculine forms include Sofko (Bulgarian), Sofus/Sophus (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish) and Sofio (Italian).
The designated name-days are: May 15 (Austria/Germany), May 25 (France), September 17 (Greece), September 30 (Lithuania/Spain),