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It's actually a very common name, one of the most common in Romania for local women who are now in their 30s, but you'd never know because it keeps being put in the same boat as 'Ioana' or it's given as a middle name.

It's also unique to Romania, so it's not Hebrew. It's European and it was used along with Maria and Ana at about the same time that people started calling their kids Miriam and Hannah in Hebrew, as stated below. Which is not to say they're not connected or inspired by Hebrew versions. Europeans today have loads of Jewish heritage.

It's pronounced Wanna (as in "wanna cup'a coffee"), with the last 'a' silent. I'm called Oana, I know plenty of people called Oana, and I've never ever heard anyone pronounce it 'Oh-anna', as some of the comments here claim. With a few exceptions, that is:
- foreigners (I live in the UK, so I'd know)
- this one occasion where someone wanted to insult me by comparing me to a relative and calling me 'o (alta) Ana' - as in 'you're just another Ana'.

Also, in recent years, it's been used by rroma people living in Romania, as seen here: http://www.diacronia.ro/ro/indexing/details/V1413/pdf
Presumably because when they baptized their children, they gave them the godmother's name. This helped them blend in. My mom says that used to happen quite a lot when I was born. Consequently, it's become less popular with the natives.

And yes, it has been given the meaning 'God is merciful', like Ioana, but most Romanian girl's names mean 'God is [something or other]'.
OanaC  10/8/2018
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My name is Oana and I never thought it was pronounced as Wanna I pronounce it O-anna. I love my name but the meaning is usually NEVER showed due to the name's lack of popularity.
― Anonymous User  12/31/2016
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Oana Gregory, teen actress known for her role on Disney XD's Crash and Bernstein, Kickin' It, and Lab Rats. Born in Romania, resides in the United States.
Aili_Helen  1/8/2016
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The name is an ancestral Thracian/Dacian name (so Indo-European). It does not come from Ana or Ioana, which are both standalone names with the same origins.

The fact that it is celebrated in the Orthodox religious calendar along with Saint Ioana is wrong. By those standards, half the Romanian girls' names should be celebrated then, too, considering most Romanians think these names are derived from Ana or Maria, and that they are Hebrew names, which they are not. They are Latin.

The names Maria and Ana developed simultaneously with Miriam and Hannah, and this is due to an understandably limited and similar vocabulary at the time, for all languages. Similarly, Oana has no connection to the Hebrew-derived name Johanna.
melissa_serissa  8/2/2015
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Oana Ban. A very talented member of the Romanian women's national gymnastics team. She's awesome!
― Anonymous User  8/25/2007
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It really doesn't come from Ioana. Both "Oana" and "Ioana" are derived from "Ana", and basically have similar meaning. They all mean something in the vicinity of "God was merciful". And the best way to pronounce it is like "wanna".
oana.85  11/15/2006
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This is my grandmother's name, but it's not a shortened form. It's just Oana. Not Ioana. I like it, but in an Anglophone context it is always mispronounced (Oh-ah-na, Oh-anna) and many people think it sounds very strange.
― Anonymous User  8/3/2006
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Pronounce it: Wanna.
oanaq  9/23/2005

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