Sunday, June 2, 2013


With the current popularity of place names, it's somewhat surprising that this gem hasn't yet made a mark upon the American top 1000. Vienna (pronounced vee-EN-ah) originates from Latin, although it's meaning is often disputed. I've seen theories that it means 'chosen one', 'white', 'from wine country' or 'forest stream', but the one thing that is not disputed is that it comes from the city of Vienna in Austria.

The city of Vienna is the capital of Austria. It has an extremely rich history, and it's thought that the site was first settled by the Celts in 500BC. Vienna has a reputation as the "City of Music" due to it's rich history in theatre, opera, classical music and the arts. Not only is it the birth place of some musical notables such as Schubert and Strauss, but others such as Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven also spent time working in Vienna. Psychologist Sigmund Freud is another Famous Austrian from Vienna, giving rise to the city's other pseudonym, the "City of Dreams".

Vienna is also a classically beautiful city. It features rich architecture, including Baroque castles and gardens, the Romanesque St Rupert's church and some of the best examples of Art Nouveau in the world. Adding to the romanticism of the city are it's extravagant balls (the dancing kind, not the bouncy kind), which can go all night.

With these images in mind, I would think that Vienna would be a romantic name to give to a girl. It's dreamy, classical and elegant, yet has sound that appeals to modern parents, if the popularity of sound-alike name Sienna is anything to go by.

Sienna has been a top 1000 name since 1995, peaking at #170 in 2007 in America. It also enjoys popularity in Australia, New Zealand, England Scotland, Norway and Canada. However, while Sienna has been a success, Vienna has been largely neglected. It looked like it might become a top 1000 contender when it shot from position #1668 in 2009 to #11103 in 2010, but it then stalled and in 2012 began to drop again.

So why the difference? Maybe because it reminds people of Vienna sausages. Or possibly it has something to do with the famous bearers of the name. Actress, model and fashion designer Sienna Miller was the darling of the fashion world a few years ago when it seemed you couldn't open a magazine without seeing pictures of her latest outing. By contrast, 'The Bachelor' contestant and winner Vienna Girardi was a woman hated almost universally by viewers when her season was on the air. Coincidence? Maybe. But then again, you just need to look at the sudden spike in popularity of the name Tenley after contestant Tenley Molzhan was on the show (incidentally, the same season as Vienna) to see that the effect that 'The Bachelor' has on baby naming choices can be significant.

This was a couple of years ago now though, and since place names are going strong and V names are gaining more favour, people may once again turn to Vienna. Or maybe the French version Vienne - ranked only #9622 in 2012 in the US - will start to gain some traction. Both come with some mighty cute nicknames, such as Vie (which means 'life' in French when pronounced VEE), Nen, Nina, Nenna or Via.

Vienna is a pretty, romantic name indeed that deserves some more attention.

Vienna City Hall by Night

1 comment:

  1. Love love love this name lol I'm into uncommon -rare names and this one definitely ticks all the box's my other ones I like are Acacia and Ember but Vienna is fast becoming a new fav x