Pronounced Pron. scip-EE-oh(English) [key]
Other Forms FormsSipio
Roman cognomen derived from Latin scipio or scipionis meaning "staff, walking stick". A known bearer of this name was Scipio Africanus, a Roman general from the 2nd century BC.In the United States in the period of slavery, its use as a name for black men arose due to the fact that two members of the Roman family had borne the honorary name Africanus, in recognition of their military exploits in that continent. Writes George Rippey Stewart in 'American Given Names' (1979): "Though not as common as other Roman names (Cato, Pompey, Caesar), Scipio was in current use in the 18th and earlier 19th centuries, and was commonly shortened to ZIP. Variant spellings are numerous, e.g. Sipio. Under cover of some of these, the name probably still is current."