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ScriptsΣοφια Greek
PronouncedPron.so-FEE-ə English
sə-FIE-ə British English
zo-FEE-a German

Meaning & History

Means "wisdom" in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia "Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.

This name was common among continental European royalty during the Middle Ages, and it was popularized in Britain by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century. It was the name of characters in the novels 'Tom Jones' (1749) by Henry Fielding and 'The Vicar of Wakefield' (1766) by Oliver Goldsmith. A famous bearer is the Italian actress Sophia Loren (1934-).
VariantsSophie English Sofia Greek Sofia, Sophie German
DiminutiveSophy English
Other Languages & CulturesSofia, Sofiya Bulgarian Sofia Catalan Sofija, Sonja Croatian Sofie, Žofie, Soňa Czech Sofie, Sonja, Vivi Danish Sophie, Sofie, Sonja Dutch Sofia Estonian Sofia, Sohvi, Sonja Finnish Sophie French Sopio Georgian Zsófia, Szonja, Zsófika Hungarian Soffía, Sonja Icelandic Sofia, Sonia Italian Sofija Latvian Sofija Lithuanian Sofija, Sonja Macedonian Sofia, Sonja, Vivi Norwegian Zofia, Sonia, Zosia Polish Sofia, Sonia Portuguese Sofia, Sonia Romanian Sofia, Sofiya, Sofya, Sonya Russian Sofija, Sonja Serbian Sofia, Žofia, Soňa Slovak Sonja Slovene Sofía, Sonia Spanish Sofia, Sonja, Vivi Swedish Sofia, Sofiya Ukrainian


Altered image depicting how Hagia Sophia basilica may have looked before it became a mosqueAltered image depicting how Hagia Sophia basilica may have looked before it became a mosque


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Entry updated December 8, 2017   Contribute