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PronouncedPron.se-SEE-lee-ə English
se-SEEL-yə English
che-CHEE-lya Italian
the-THEE-lya European Spanish
se-SEE-lya Latin American Spanish
se-SEEL-yah DanishNorwegian

Meaning & History

Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius, which was derived from Latin caecus "blind". Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.

Due to the popularity of the saint, the name became common in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was commonly spelled Cecily - the Latinate form Cecilia came into use in the 18th century.
VariantsCecelia, Cecily, Cicely English Cecilie Danish Cecilie Norwegian Cécile Dutch Cäcilia, Cäcilie, Caecilia German
DiminutivesCece, Celia, Cissy, Sissie, Sissy English Cilla Swedish Cille, Silje, Sille Danish Silje Norwegian Cilla, Silke Dutch Silja Finnish Silke, Zilla German
Masculine FormsCecil English Cecilio Italian Cecilio Spanish
Other Languages & CulturesCaecilia Ancient Roman Cecilija Croatian Cecílie, Cecilie Czech Cécile French Cecília, Cili Hungarian Sheila, Síle Irish Cecylia Polish Cecília, Cila Portuguese Tsetsiliya Russian Sìleas Scottish Cecília Slovak Cecilija, Cilka Slovene
Same SpellingCecília
User SubmissionsCécilia, Cecilía


Saint Cecilia by John William Waterhouse (1895)Saint Cecilia by John William Waterhouse (1895)


Charles Dickens characters, Fire Emblem characters, Gundam characters, Infinite Stratos characters, martyrs, music, musicians, never out of the US top 1000, Quantico characters, saints, Ys characters
Entry updated July 2, 2017   Contribute