The name is possibly derived from the Latin, verus, meaning “true.” Others have suggested that the name may actually be of some unknown Egyptian source.
The name was borne by a 3rd-century Egyptian saint who found her way to Switzerland while marching along with the Theban legions. She is considered the patron saint of hairdressers as she was known for converting young native Swiss women to Christianity while washing and styling their hair. There is a shrine dedicated to St. Verena in Zurich, Switzerland.
The name has been popular in Germany and Switzerland and has even experienced some usage in the United States during the 18th and 19th-centuries, no doubt, brought over by German immigrants. It is also an especially common name among Mennonite, Hutterite and Amish families and is a popular name among Egyptian Christians.
It is also the name of a fictional goddess in the popular fantasy/video game series Warhammer. She is the goddess of healing and learning and is based on both Minerva and Athena.
Currently, Verena is the 383rd most popular female name in Germany, (2011).
Other forms of the name include:
- Virina (Coptic)
- Vérène (French)
- Verena Верена (English/German/Italian/Russian/Slovene)
- Werena (Polish)
- Frena (Romansch)
- Varena (Romansch)
- Vreni (Swiss-German)
- Vreneli (Swiss-German)