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Nina Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Nina Overview

  • Meaning: Nina could mean “little girl,” “God is kind or gracious,” “nice,” or “beautiful” in Hindi. Any variation of “kind” or “friendly” or “beautiful” may apply depending on the language spoken.
  • Gender: Nina is usually a girl’s name, but it can also be a surname for either gender.
  • Origin: The name Nina has origins in Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Russia.
  • Pronunciation: “NEE-nah.”
  • Popularity: Nina did not become a popular girl’s name until the early twentieth century.
  • Nicknames: Nee-Nee, Nene, Nia, Ninatta, Ninette.
  • Variations: Antonina, Catalina, Constantina, Genevieve, Giannina, Janina, Karina, Katharina, Marina.
  • Namesakes: Nina Simone, Nina Allan, Nina Taylor, Nina Gordon.

What Does Nina Mean?

Nina has a different meaning depending on the country. For example, it could mean “little girl” thanks to its relation to the Spanish word niña. In Hebrew, it means “God is kind or gracious,” “nice” in Persian, or “beautiful” in Hindi. It can even mean “fire” in Aymara.

In short, the name can mean a variation of “kind” or “friendly” or “beautiful” in most languages.

What is the Origin of the Name Nina?

The name Nina does not have one single origin country. It has origins in Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Russia but has since spread to the rest of the world and calls back to a Babylonian goddess of the ocean and an Incan fire goddess.

Nina is a common nickname for several Spanish and Russian names.

How Popular is the Name Nina?

Nina did not become a popular name until the early twentieth century, but it fluctuated in popularity throughout the century until it became pretty popular in the mid-eighties (1).

How Do I Pronounce Nina?

You pronounce Nina as “NEE-na.”

Is Nina a Boy or Girl Name?

Nina is typically a feminine name but also a surname so that it can work for either gender.

Variations of Nina

The name Nina, or just the “-ina” ending, often serves as the ending to several beautiful names. You can find “Nina” at the end of such names as:

  • Antonina (Spanish)
  • Catalina (Spanish)
  • Constantina (Latin)
  • Genevieve (German)
  • Giannina (Italian)
  • Janina (Polish)
  • Karina (Scandinavian)
  • Katharina (Greek)
  • Marina (Italian)

Nicknames for Nina

It might sound like Nina does not have any nicknames, but there are a few you might find cute. These include:

  • Nee-Nee
  • Nene
  • Nia
  • Ninetta
  • Ninette

Similar Names to Nina

Nina is undoubtedly a lovely name, but if you are not quite feeling that Nina vibe, there are a few other names like it you might like, such as:

  • Anna
  • Lana
  • Naima
  • Naomi
  • Naya
  • Nena
  • Neka
  • Nia
  • Nika
  • Nima
  • Nita
  • Noemi
  • Nyah
  • Nyomi
  • Ramona

Middle Names for Nina

A short name like Nina may need a little extra flavor in its middle name. That is not to say that Nina is a weak name by itself, but a great middle name can make an impact. These might include names like:

Sibling Names for Nina

Nina is one of those names that can go great with almost any name you like for a sibling. There are a few particular names we want to point out below.

For a sister:

For a brother:

Famous People Named Nina

Given how popular a name Nina is, you have no doubt seen your fair share of Ninas in media, such as:

  • Nina Allan: British writer.
  • Nina Antonia: British author.
  • Nina Byers: American physicist.
  • Nina Conti: British actress.
  • Nina Dobrev: American actress known for her work on the American drama TV series The Vampire Diaries.
  • Princess Nina of Greece and Denmark: Swiss royal and businesswoman.
  • Princess Nina Georgievna: Russian Princess.
  • Nina Gordon: American rock singer.
  • Nina Hossain: British journalist.
  • Nina Kraus: American neuroscientist.
  • Nina Lawson: Scottish wig maker for the Metropolitan Opera.
  • Nina Li Chi: Chinese actress.
  • Nina Menkes: American filmmaker.
  • Nina Miranda: Brazilian singer.
  • Nina Simone: American singer-songwriter.
  • Nina Taylor: American politician.

Nina in Popular Culture

Like in real life, popular culture is chock full of Ninas, whether they be adventurers, ballerinas, or curious souls. You might recognize Ninas like:

  • Nina Cortex: a character from the Crash Bandicoot video game series.
  • Nina Flores: a character from the PBS animated children’s show Clifford’s Puppy Days.
  • Nina Harper: a character from the American animated TV series Braceface.
  • Nina Martin: a character from the American TV series House of Anubis.
  • Nina Reeves: a character from the American soap opera General Hospital.
  • Nina Sayers: the main character from the 2010 psychological horror film Black Swan.
  • Nina Tucker: a character from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • Nina Walsh: a character from the American sitcom Smart Guy.

Nina FAQs

Even for a short and simple name, we still need to unpack a few more things about the name Nina.

Is Nina a Classic Name?

If by classic, someone meant old-fashioned, then no. Again, Nina did not come into popularity until the early-mid twentieth century. It is probably not a name you would give to a Victorian or even Edwardian lady in a story.

Or if by classic, someone meant popular, then yes. The name has nickname potential for several other names, so the likelihood of someone earning Nina as a nickname could make it a classic.

What Is the Biblical Meaning of the Name Nina?

While the name Nina does not appear in the Bible, it does have a Hebrew meaning: “God is gracious and has shown favor.”

What Does Nina Mean in Native American?

The name Nina harkens back to an Incan god of fire. Similarly, it means “mighty” or “fire” in Native American.

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