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Fiona Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Fiona including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Fiona Overview

  • Meaning: The name Fiona means “fair” or “pale.”
  • Gender: Fiona is typically a feminine name.
  • Origin: It is the feminine variant of Fionn, the name of a central figure in Irish mythology.
  • Pronunciation: “fee-OH-nuh”
  • Popularity: This name is popular in the United States, currently ranked at 296th.
  • Nicknames: Faye, Fee, Fifi, Fia, Fina, Finn, Fio, Ona.
  • Variations: Fenella, Finuall, Fionnaghal, Flora, Gwen, Nuala, Penelope.
  • Namesakes: Fiona Apple, Fiona Ferro, Fionna Wade.

What Does Fiona Mean?

The name Fiona means “white,” “pale,” or “fair,” from the Gaelic word “fionn.”

What is the Origin of the Name Fiona?

Fiona is the feminine variant of Fionn, the name of a central figure in Irish mythology.

According to legend, Fionn mac Cumhaill’s birth name was Diemne, but he earned the epithet thanks to his lustrious, white-blonde hair. The legendary giant served as the leader of a group of hunter-warriors called the Fianna.

Scottish poet James Macpherson is credited with inventing the name Fiona after reading Celtic manuscripts that detailed the legend of Fionn mac Cumhaill.

Inspired by the heroic deeds, he wrote a series of epics called The Ossian Poems, claiming that Fionn’s son penned the works in the 3rd century (1).

The name Fiona became popular in England thanks to William Sharp, a 19th-century author who wrote under the pen name Fiona Macleod.

How Popular is the Name Fiona?

Fiona is a popular name in the United States, currently ranked the 296th most commonly used girl’s name (2).

In the last two decades, it has risen in prominence from 460th in 2000 to its peak rank of 180th in 2017. Since then, it has consistently fallen down the charts.

How Do I Pronounce Fiona?

Fiona is pronounced fee-OH-nuh.

A common mispronunciation is fee-AH-nuh, wherein the speaker uses the short-vowel sound as in “octopus.”

Is Fiona a Boy or Girl Name?

The name Fiona is used as a moniker for girls, but the original Gaelic word Fionn is a commonly used male variant in Ireland.

Variations of Fiona

The prominence of the name Fiona in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales has created several variations, the most popular of which is the old-Irish name Finnguala, which means “fair-shouldered.”

  • Fenella (Celtic)
  • Finella (Scottish)
  • Finuall (Scottish)
  • Fione (Irish)
  • Fionnaghal (Scottish)
  • Finnguala (Irish)
  • Fionola (Scottish)
  • Flora (Scottish)
  • Fyona (Irish)
  • Gwen (Welsh)
  • Nuala (Gaelic)
  • Penelope (English)

Nicknames for Fiona

Fiona lends itself well to many nicknames, including Finn, an anglicization of the original masculine form Fionn.

  • Faye
  • Fee
  • Feef
  • Fi
  • Fia
  • Fie
  • Fifi
  • Fillie
  • Fina
  • Fini
  • Finnie
  • Finn
  • Fio
  • Nona
  • Ona

Similar Names to Fiona

If you’re interested in other Irish baby girl names, these alternatives and their pronunciations might be what you’re looking for.

  • Aine (awn-ye)
  • Aisling (ash-ling)
  • Aoibh (eve)
  • Bronagh (brona)
  • Clodagh (cloda)
  • Eithne (enya)
  • Fiadh (fee-a)
  • Fionnuala (fi-noola)
  • Grainne (grawn-ye)
  • Laoise (lee-sha)
  • Mairead (mi-rade)
  • Niamh (neev)
  • Oonagh (una)
  • Orlaith (orla)
  • Saoirse (ser-sha)
  • Sinead (shin-ade)
  • Siobhan (shiv-on)
  • Surcha (sur-ka)
  • Riona (ree-ona)
  • Roisin (ro-sheen)

Middle Names for Fiona

Fiona has an old-fashioned feel that pairs well with similarly timeless middle names.

Sibling Names for Fiona

Mythology from across the world offers a ripe opportunity to name Fiona’s siblings after legendary cultural heroes.

For Sisters

For Brothers

  • Apollo
  • Azrael
  • Boreas
  • Damon
  • Hector
  • Jasper
  • Leander
  • Linus
  • Myles
  • Rama

Famous People Named Fiona

Your sweet little Fiona will share a namesake with singers, artists, athletes, and an unconventional social media superstar.

  • Fiona Apple: American singer.
  • Fiona Banner: British artist known as The Vanity Press.
  • Fiona Boyce: Australian field hockey player.
  • Fiona Ferro: French tennis player.
  • Fiona the Hippo: A world-famous Nile hippo that rose to prominence across the internet when scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo released the first-ever ultrasound images of the species in utero. Her fame continued after her mother, Bibi, gave birth prematurely. Fiona is the smallest hippo born on record, weighing only 29 pounds. Today, she is a healthy, happy adult!
  • Fiona Gubelman: American actress.
  • Fiona Richmond: British model and actress.
  • Fiona Sampson: British writer and poet.
  • Fiona Shaw: Irish actress and director.
  • Fiona Wade: British actress.

Fiona in Popular Culture

The name Fiona is a relatively common in movies, televsion, and books.

  • Fiona: Best friend of the main character in Lois Lowry’s The Giver.
  • Fiona: Playable character in the game Tales from the Borderlands.
  • Fiona Coyne: Character in the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation.
  • Fiona Gallagher: Main character in the British and American versions of the television show Shameless.
  • Fiona Glennane: Main character in the television show Burn Notice.
  • Fiona Goode: Character in American Horror Story: Coven.
  • Fionna the Human: The female version of Finn the Human in the television show Adventure Time.
  • Princess Fiona: Love-interest in the Shrek film franchise.

Fiona FAQs

Still not sure if Fiona is the right name for your little one? These frequently asked questions can provide a little more insight.

Is Fiona a Flower Name?

Fiona is the given name of two different varieties of flowers.

The Fiona clematis (Clematis ‘Fiona’) is a large, climbing, cream-colored perennial with purple anthers.

Fiona Sunrise (Jasminum officinale ‘Fiona Sunrise’), sometimes called poet’s jasmine, produces small, creamy white fragrant blooms with stunning chartreuse leaves.

It may also trace its lineage back to the ninth-century Proto-Celtic word “sɸiyū” (ffion), a species of purple foxglove plant (3).

What Does the Name Fiona Mean in Numerology?

In the study of numerology, the name Fiona has a core number of 9. That means that Fionas tend to be socially-conscious helpers that prefer relaxing, daydreaming, and exploring new ideas.

Because of their rosy perspective on life, Fionas tend to struggle when making decisions and can get wrapped up in the romance of a situation while ignoring practicality or logic.

Is There a Goddess Named Fiona?

Fiona is not the name of a goddess in any real-world cultures, but she is mentioned as an ancient deity in the DanMachi manga and anime series.

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