Friday, October 7

let's talk about: Lucia + Viola

Add some sprigs of fresh rosemary, a smattering of acorns, and she'll have the perfect autumn centerpiece.

It's two-for-one day here at Eponymia. I couldn't decide between featuring Lucia or Viola, so here's a little some thing about both. They're both 5-letter, 3-syllable girl names that end in "A," and they each have more popular forms — Lucy and Violet — that just don't ring my naming-bell. I think they complement one another nicely. Lucia's softer, a little more lyrical, and Viola, though it is a floral name, has a nice amount of bite.

Lucia comes from lux, the Latin word for "light," which is ironic, as Saint Lucia is the patron saint of the blind. It's a pretty gruesome story, the high (or low?) point being when some nasty Romans gouge Lucia's eyes out with a fork. Very unfortunate situation. Lucia is the #1 girl's name in Spain and is #265 on the US charts, which is the highest it's ever been. It's my guess that it will see a further rise in popularity.

Viola, on the other hand, is on the downswing, having fallen off the charts entirely in 1972. It reached its peak in 1908, when it climbed all the way to #42. Viola is the Latin word for violet and, in plant nomenclature, refers to a genus of flowering plant in the violet family. Pronounced with a long "O," it is also the name of a stringed musical instrument. Shakespeare used it in his play Twelfth Night, and it is also a genus of butterfly.

Something else that Lucia and Viola have in common is a wealth of lovely variants. Try Violeta, Lucetta, or Luciana for something quite exotic and pretty, Violante or Lucilla for something more unusual, and adorable Dutch form Luus, for something short and sweet. There's a special place in my heart for the male form, too — my father-in-law is Lucius, named because he was born at dawn.


  1. What about portuguese names Luz and Luciola? :)

  2. I haven't heard Luciola -- it's really nice!

  3. Lucia and Viola would make killer sibling names. I, too, prefer Viola to Violet since the latter is forever associated with Ms. Beauregard from Charlie and the chocolate factory for me.

  4. Lucia and Violet are lovely, although Lucy and Violet are nice too.

    As usual, I must agree with Lou@merdenoms, and say that Lucia and Viola sound like natural sisters.

    Lucius is spectacular.


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