The name is derived from the Tuscan medieval dialectical term referring either to a little girl or unmarried woman. Over time, the term has taken on various meanings depending on the region of Italy. In some instances, it was used as a term of endearment for a young girl, in others, it was used to refer to a “spinster.” In modern Sicilian, zita literally means “girlfriend” while zito is boyfriend.
The name was borne by a famous medieval Italian saint, Zita of Lucca (1218-1227). Since she was a poor servant of unknown background, Zita may have actually been an affectionate nickname given by her devout followers, her true name being lost to history.
St. Zita was known for her piety and selfless acts. She was known for taking her megre earnings and food to the poor. She is also known for many miracles. She is considered the patron saint of servants and lost keys. Due to her cult, the name became popular outside of Italy and in other Catholic countries.
In German, the name could also be considered a contracted form of Felizitas.
As of 2009, Zita was the 65th most popular female name in Hungary and the 65th most popular female name in Belgium (2006)
Other forms of the name include:
Nicknames include the Czech, Zitka, Zituška, Zitunka, Zituš, Zituna, Zitule and Zitulka. The Polish Zytka.
Italian masculine forms include: Zito, Zitolo, Cito and Citolo
The designated name day is April 2 (Slovakia); April 24 (Italy; Poland) April 27 (Lithuanian); August 11 (Latvia); September 19 (Czech Republic)