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Susan Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Susan Overview

Susan Summary

  • Meaning: The name Susan means “lily” or “lotus flower.”
  • Gender: Susan is a predominantly feminine name.
  • Origin: Scholars believe Susan’s origin is the Egyptian word “zššn.” It was later adopted by the Hebrew language and became Shoshana.
  • Pronunciation: “SOO-zuhn.”
  • Popularity: The name Susan is relatively popular, and ranked as the 979th most popular girls’ name in the United States in 2021.
  • Nicknames: Anne, Snoozy, Sookie, Sue, Suzi, Zuzu.
  • Variations: Kabul, Shoshana, Sosana, Susen, Swasan, Zuzanna.
  • Namesakes: Susan Aho, Susan Dey, Susan Wojcicki.

What Does Susan Mean?

The name Susan means “lily” in Persian and Hebrew or “lotus flower” in Egyptian (1).

What Is the Origin of the Name Susan

Scholars believe Susan’s origin is the Egyptian word “zššn,” the sound associated with the hieroglyph for a lotus flower. In ancient Egypt, this was a relatively common name for males.

During the 7th Century Rashidun conquest of Egypt, the sound morphed into “šōšen” in the Coptic language.

The Hebrew language adopted the word “šōšen,” turning it into “Shoshan,” their term for “lily.” Through time and translation, the Hebrew word and the girls’ name Shoshana evolved into “rose” (2).

Shoshana, which appears in the Book of Daniel, was soon adopted by England during the Medieval period and led to the anglicized variations people are most familiar with, including Susan, Susanne, Suzie, and Suzanna (3).

How Popular Is the Name Susan?

The name Susan is relatively widespread. In the United States, it ranked as the 979th most popular girls’ name in 2021.

In the last two decades, the moniker saw its peak in 2000, when it was ranked 411th. Since then, it has been on a steady decline (4).

How Do I Pronounce Susan?

While Susan can vary in how it is said by region and dialect, the most common English pronunciation of Susan is “SOO-zuhn.”

Is Susan a Boy or Girl Name?

Susan is almost exclusively a girl name, and it does not have a masculine equivalent.

Variations of Susan

Because of the name’s rich etymological history and prevalence in the ancient world, Susan has many variations, such as:

  • Kabul (Urdu)
  • Sausan (Bengali)
  • Shoshana (Hebrew)
  • Shoshannam (Malayalam)
  • Shushan (Assyrian)
  • Sosana (Greek)
  • Soshan (Cantonese)
  • Sousan (Persian)
  • Sousanna (Greek)
  • Sujen (Korean)
  • Susanna (Italian)
  • Susen (Swiss)
  • Sushan (Chinese)
  • Sūzan (Japan)
  • Suzanne (French)
  • Swasan (Arabic)
  • Zsuzsanna (Hungarian)
  • Zsuzsanna (Hungarian)
  • Zuzanna (Latvian)
  • Сусанна (Ukrainian)

Nicknames for Susan

Although Sue and Suzie are the nicknames we are most familiar with, there are other charming options ideal for your darling little Susan:

  • Anne
  • Annie
  • Snoozy
  • Sookie
  • Sue
  • Susie
  • Suze
  • Suzi
  • Suzie
  • Suzy
  • Suzy Q
  • Zuzu

Similar Names to Susan

Susan has botanical roots, so if you’re searching for other names that represent flora, these are excellent options:

  • Azami
  • Blimah
  • Briony
  • Calantha
  • Chrisoula
  • Daphne
  • Elowen
  • Fioralba
  • Ione
  • Kamala
  • Leilani
  • Lita
  • Madelief
  • Marguerite
  • Maryam
  • Raisa
  • Rhoda
  • Rue
  • Sireli
  • Zahara

Middle Names for Susan

The timelessness of the name Susan makes it pair best with other perennial girls’ middle names, like:

Sibling Names for Susan

Are you thinking of adding another member to the family? These sibling names for Susan are just as enduring:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Susan

Thanks to its popularity in the early-mid 20th Century, the name Susan is prominent amongst some of the most beloved actresses and models of a bygone era, including:

  • Susan Aho: Finnish folk singer and member of Värttinä.
  • Susan B. Anthony: American suffragette who campaigned for women’s rights and the anti-slavery movement.
  • Susan Boyle: Scottish singer who rose to fame after singing “I Dream a Dream” on “Britain’s Got Talent.”
  • Susan Denberg: German-Austrian model famous in the 1960s.
  • Susan Dey: American actress who played Laurie Partridge in “The Partridge Family.”
  • Susan Hayward: American actress and model born Edythe Marrenner.
  • Susan Lynch: Irish actress and three-time IFTA Award winner.
  • Susan Sarandon: American actress.
  • Susan Shaw: British actress born Patty Shoots.
  • Susan Strasberg: American actress known for her role in “The Diary of Anne Frank” in 1959.
  • Susan Wojciciki: American CEO of YouTube.

Susan in Popular Culture

Susan is a relatively prominent name in pop culture of past decades, though it has been used less in more recent media:

  • Susan Bones: Character in the “Harry Potter” series.
  • Susan Delgado: Character in the “Dark Tower” series.
  • Susan Heffley: Mother of the main character in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series.
  • Susan Keane: Titular character of the television show “Suddenly Susan.”
  • Susan Mayer: One of the main characters in the television show “Desperate Housewives.”
  • Susan Pevensie: Eldest sister of the Pevensie siblings in “The Chronicles of Narnia,” also known as Queen Susan the Gentle.
  • Susie Salmon: Main character and narrator of the novel “The Lovely Bones.”
  • Susan Storm: Member of the Fantastic Four, also known as Invisible Woman.
  • Susan Strong: Character in the television show “Adventure Time.”

Susan FAQs

Are you pondering over whether Susan is the right choice for your baby? These frequently asked questions provide a little extra insight.

Is Susan an Old-Fashioned Name?

The name Susan may seem old-fashioned, but that doesn’t make it any less charming. Similarly, “old-fashioned” choices like Evelyn, Eloise, Millie, and Diana are still holding strong in the top 300 in the US and attest to the timelessness of a classic name.

How Popular Is the Name Susan in the UK?

Across Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the name Susan is seeing a similar downturn in popularity.

The most recent data shows no new babies named Susan in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland since 2018. Likewise, that has been true of Scotland since 2019 (5).

When Was the Name Susan First Used?

Consistent record-keeping was the exception rather than the rule before civilizations adopted a formalized census process. Due to that, there are some inconsistencies about the first use of the name Susan with that particular spelling.

The earliest records show that the Latin book “The Register of the Guild of the Holy Trinity, St. Mary, St. John the Baptist, and St. Katherine of Coventry” has records of the name Susan as early as 1340.

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