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Sophia Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Sophia Overview

Though some may consider it too popular, Sophia is an excellent name for any baby girl.

  • Meaning: Sophia means “wisdom.”
  • Gender: Sophia is a feminine name.
  • Origin: Sophia originates from the Greek word “sophía.” “Sophía” was considered an ideology of wisdom and intelligence before becoming a common name in 4th century Rome.
  • Pronunciation: Sophia is pronounced, “soh-FEE-uh.”
  • Popularity: Sophia is an incredibly common name, regularly ranking the #1 girls’ name in several countries.
  • Nicknames: Fi, Fifi, Phia, Saffi, Shia, Soey, Sofa, Soph, Sophie, Tophie
  • Variations: Sofi, Sofia, Sofie, Sofiya, Sofía, Sonya, Sophie, Zofia, Žofie
  • Namesakes: Sofia Coppola, Sophia Bush, Sofia Curtis, Sofia Kenin, Sophia Loren, Sophia Peletier, Sofia Vergara.

Meaning “wisdom,” Sophia is one of the most popular baby girls’ names across the globe. Along with its popular variant Sofia, Sophia has a long history dating back to the 4th century, but this Greek name has never been more popular than it is today.

What Does Sophia Mean?

Sophia is a Greek girl’s name meaning “wisdom.” Sophia comes from the Greek word “sophía,” which was a central idea of Greek philosophy.

The Greek word “sophía” originally meant “cleverness” and “skill,” but the philosopher Plato evolved the word’s meaning into “wisdom,” “intelligence,” “cunning,” “shrewdness,” “sound judgment,” and “wisdom personified” (1). Ancient Greek teachers who followed the ideas of “sophía” were called Sophists — which is also where we get the word “sophistication.”

“Sophía” was an important symbol to many cultures besides the Greeks for many centuries to come. For example, in the 19th century, a Russian sect of Christianity named their following “Sophiology.”

What is the Origin of the Name Sophia?

The first usage of Sophia as a name dates back to the 4th century Roman Empire. The initial popularity of the name Sophia came from the Latin ideology and the Christian martyr, Saint Sophia of Rome.

The name Sophia remained a decently common European name through the medieval era. Sophia finally became a popular name in Britain during the 18th century, seemingly after Duchess/Princess Sophia of the House of Hanover.

How Popular is the Name Sophia?

Sophia is an incredibly popular name, having been in the Top 10 girls’ names in the United States since 2006 (2). Sophia first became a popular name in the United States in the 1960s before reaching the Top 200 Girls’ names in the 1990s. From 2011 through 2013, Sophia was the most used girl’s name in the US.

Across the globe, both Sophia and its variant Sofia are widespread names. Sophia and Sofia regularly top the most used girl’s names lists in the UK, Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Chile, Estonia, Slovakia, Argentina, and Mexico (3).

How Do I Pronounce Sophia?

The name Sophia is pronounced “soh-FEE-uh” or “soh-FEE-ya.” It makes the same sound like the words “so,” “fee,” and “uh” combined.

Is Sophia a Boy or Girl Name?

Sophia is a feminine name, primarily only used for girls. “Sophus,” the masculine variant of Sophia, can be used for boys instead, though the name is very rare.

Variations of Sophia

Variations of the name Sophia have developed across the world in various languages. Most Sophia variations still carry the exact phonetics as the original Greek word, and many languages never changed the spell from “Sophia.”

  • Soffia (Icelandic/Welsh)
  • Sofi (Greek)
  • Sofia (Roman/German/Greek/Finnish)
  • Sofie (German/English/Dutch/Scandinavian)
  • Sofieke (Dutch)
  • Sofija (Russian)
  • Sofiya (Russian)
  • Sofya (Russian)
  • Sofía (Spanish)
  • Sonya (Russian)
  • Sophie (Greek/French)
  • Sophrina (Greek)
  • Sophy (Greek)
  • Zofia (Polish)
  • Zsófia (Hungarian)
  • Žofia (Polish)
  • Žofie (Polish)

Nicknames for Sophia

These nicknames are a great way to demonstrate affection for your newborn.

  • Fi
  • Fifi
  • Phia
  • Saffi
  • Shia
  • Soey
  • Sofa
  • Soph
  • Sophie
  • Tophie

Similar Names to Sophia

Sophia may not be the exact name you’re looking for. Here are a variety of names we found to be strikingly similar:

Middle Names for Sophia

Though it’s often overlooked, a middle name sticks with someone forever. Here are a few middle names we think go great with Sophia.

Sibling Names for Sophia

If she’s not an only child, here are a few names we think go great with Sophia.

Famous People Named Sophia

Many namesakes have stepped up over the years, giving Sophia someone to look up to.

  • Sofia Boutella: Algerian dancer, model, and actress known for Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek: Beyond.
  • Sophia Bush: American actress known for The WB TV series One Tree Hill.
  • Sofia Coppola: American, Academy Award-winning writer, director, and actor; daughter of Francis Ford Coppola.
  • Sofia Kenin: American tennis player who won the WTA Player of the Year award in 2020.
  • Sophia Loren: Italian actress named one of the greatest female actresses of all time by the Classical Hollywood cinema.
  • Sofia Richie: American model, fashion designer, and social media influencer; daughter of Lionel Richie.
  • Sofía Vergara: Colombian actress known for the ABC TV series Modern Family.

Sophia in Popular Culture

Sophia has been a notable name in pop culture from the page to the screen.

  • Princess Sofia: Titular character in Disney movie and TV series Sofia the First.
  • Sofia Curtis: Detective in CBS TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
  • Sofia Dupre: Businesswoman in CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless.
  • Sophie Neveu Saint-Clair: Character in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
  • Sophia Peletier: Carol’s daughter and an initial survivor of the zombie apocalypse in comic-book and AMC TV series The Walking Dead.
  • Sophia Petrillo: Main character in NBC TV series The Golden Girls, portrayed by Estelle Getty.
  • Sofia Robbin Sloan Torres: Daughter of Callie, Mark, and Arizona in ABC series Grey’s Anatomy.

Sophia FAQs

Sophia is an ancient name with a rich history of nearly two thousand years old.

Is Sophia a Royal Name?

Sophia can be considered a royal name. Its meaning doesn’t bare much royalty, but many monarchs and members of the nobility have carried the name, including Sofia of Bavaria Wittelsbach, Queen of Bohemia; Princess Sofia, current Duchess of Värmland; and Duchess Sophia of Hanover, who was once heir to England’s throne.

Is Sophia a Religious Name?

Sophia is often considered a religious name. At present, eight saints with variations of the name Sophia are recognized by most sects of Christianity.

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