Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Anne

Anna/Anne is to Hannah what Maria/Mary is to Miriam. That is they are each essentially derived from the same place and yet they are distinctly different Biblical figures. Think of it more this way: the Old Testament used the more ancient forms, i.e., Hannah and Miriam. While the New Testament, written several centuries later and in an entirely different language (i.e., Hebrew vs. Greek), used the more “modern-day” versions. That’s just our long way of telling you that the name Anne basically came from the Hebrew name Hannah (just like the name Mary is ultimately derived from Miriam). So let’s start with Hannah from the Old Testament. She was the mother of Israel’s last Major Prophet, Samuel, which is why the name is central to Jewish tradition. Hannah was barren and deeply depressed over this common Biblical “ailment”. She prayed mightily to God, promising Him that if He gives her a child, she will dedicate the child to the Lord in return. God hears her prayer: she conceives and gives birth to Samuel (which is Hebrew for “God hears”). In keeping with her pact to God, Hannah turns the child over to Eli (a priest) in the service of God. God, impressed with such devotion, gives Hannah five more children. In any case, Samuel goes on to usher in Israel’s monarchy by anointed its first king, Saul. You can see how Hannah’s place in Jewish history is pivotal. Quite fittingly, Hannah comes from the Hebrew meaning “God has favored me (with a child)”. Now let’s jump forward to the New Testament apocrypha – the Gospel of James – which, by the way, is not technically an official part of the New Testament and believed to have been written around the middle of the 2nd century. James’s gospel deals with the birth and childhood of the Virgin Mary and we are introduced to Mary’s parents, Anne and Joachim (which would make Anne Jesus’ grandmother). Anne’s story closely mimics Hannah’s from the Old Testament in that she is barren, prays to God for a child, and promises to dedicate said child to the Lord in return for His “grace, favor”. Because the Gospel of James is not supported by factual, historic hard evidence, the legend of Anne and Joachim has become more of a Christian tradition rather than the official Biblical “word of God”. As the purported parents of the Virgin Mary, Anne and Joachim have been held on the proverbial pedestal as a model for all parents. In other words, Anne and Joachim must have built a loving family structure through their devotion to God and their foundation of faith. Such an upbringing would have allowed Mary to give herself over to God and then to bravely stand by her son at His crucifixion. Not surprisingly, Saint Anne (as she is now known) is the Patron Saint to all Christian mothers and to women in labor. Catholics parents pray to Saint Anne for the strength to be good, faithful parents. Now you can see fully why Hannah/Anna are names that spread in popularity within Judeo-Christian tradition in Western Culture. Hebrew Hannah –> Latin Anna –> English Anne, and so on in other languages. Anne is mainly considered English, French and German. The French brought Anne to England in the 13th century; although the English dropped the “e” in favor of Ann at first. Anne was the name of two of Henry VIII’s six wives in the 16th century and the name of a reigning English Queen in the early 18th century (see historic references below). The two-syllable Latinized Anna has far surpassed the one-syllable Anne in popularity in the United States, but Anne is still preferred in places like Germany and the Netherlands. Actually, the German pronounce Anne with two syllables anyway (AH-nə).

All About the Baby Name – Anne



The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.



Americans are turning away from simpler Anglo-French forms of names in favor of the fanciful Latinized versions. Trendy U.S. parents like to stretch out the syllables and end their baby girl’s names with the flowery “-a” suffix. Just consider some of the following examples in terms of popularity today: Julie has stepped aside for Julia. Olive –> Olivia, Sophie –> Sophia, Gabrielle –> Gabriella, and now we’ve got Anne –> Anna. The one-syllable Anne is so passé compared to her two-syllable ϋber-trendy big sister. Even the cutesy Annie is more common today than Anne. Still, Anne has seen her fair share of success on the charts over the years; just not so much anymore. The name entered the 20th century pretty much edging up against the Top 100 (ranked #100 in 1903). From 1903 onward, Anne would hold Top 100 honors for 66 consecutive years. The name’s heyday really came in the 19-teens when Anne almost hit the Top 50. As you can see from the chart below, Anne was a familiar and popular choice pretty much up until the 1990s. The 21st century seems to be leaving her behind, though. Anne has now dropped to levels of fairly low moderation and is no longer a “favored” choice. Anne is a simple, unfussy name. Yet it’s old-fashioned and dignified. Anne has understated elegance, and a certain confidence in that one no-nonsense syllable. It’s also a name with a fair bit of literary cachet, from Anne Brontë (of the famous writing Brontë sister trio) to Anne Elliot the protagonist of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” to the children’s classic Anne of Green Gables. Not to mention Anne Hathaway was the name of William Shakespeare’s wife. To those haters of Anne out there, to people who think she’s just too plain and dull by today’s 21st century hyper-trendy sheep-herding standards – well, we have one thing to say to you: pshaw!

Quick Facts













God's favor, grace










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Anne

Literary Characters


Anne Shirley is the title character of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 classic, Anne of Green Gables, which was followed by several sequels. Anne is an orphan who is adopted by an elderly Prince Edward Island brother and sister in the mistaken idea that they were getting a boy to help out on the farm. Surprise! They got an eleven year old, red-headed, feisty, sometimes ill-tempered but always interesting girl! Anne quickly establishes herself as a force to be reckoned with, as she makes her way through her new life. She is a passionate child who, like many children, wishes to be and look different from herself. Her interactions with her guardians and the people of her new town are laced with misunderstandings and quarrels, but as she grows, Anne begins to understand the world around her in a more level-headed fashion. She matures into a lovely young woman who is a joy to her family and friends, who becomes a teacher, and who is poised on the brink of falling in love. Anne was so delightful that readers clamored for, and got, more.

Anne Elliot is the heroine of Jane Austen’s final completed novel, Persuasion, published in 1817. Anne is the middle girl in a motherless family of fatuous snobs. She is high-minded, independent, good and kind. She is also heading into old-maid-hood, having reached the ripe old age of 27. When she was nineteen, Anne had allowed her superficial relatives to talk her out of marriage to Captain Wentworth, whom she loved, because he had no name, money or prospects. Well, wouldn’t you just know it – good Captain W. goes off and makes a fortune on his own, and under such circumstances, what’s in a name? Anne and the Captain’s paths pass again, and he is understandably cool to her; Anne herself still loves him. After the usual shenanigans involving other people’s interferences, Captain Wentworth comes to realize the goodness inherent in Anne, and that he still loves her, after all. Anne, for her part, has never stopped loving him, and she now realizes the potential for disaster in having been the subject of “persuasion”. And as Mr. Shakespeare would say, all’s well that ends well, and it does.

Anne Stanton is a character in Robert Penn Warren’s 1947 Pulitzer Prize winning political novel, All the King’s Men, which was also made into a film in 1949, which won Best Picture, and in 2006, which didn’t. Anne is the childhood sweetheart of the book’s narrator, Jack Burden, the right-hand man of the protagonist, Governor Willie Stark. Anne is presented to us through Jack’s eyes, and they are fogged with love. Nonetheless, she comes across as a good and decent woman, whose privileged life has only had a good effect on her; she devotes much time and money to helping orphans and abandoned children. When Anne learns that her beloved father had been involved in fraud, she tries to put the best spin on it. When she has an affair with Governor Stark, the ramifications are disastrous. This good woman is forced to acknowledge that, in spite of all the pain, truth is the best option for living a life of personal satisfaction.

Lady Anne is an important character in William Shakespeare’s historical play, Richard III, probably written around 1591. Anne is the beautiful young widow of Prince Edward, the son of the late King Henry VI. She knows that Richard is responsible for their deaths. She stands mourning at the grave of her father-in-law, and she listens to Richard ask her for her hand. And, after very little stalling, she accepts!!! How to explain this? Many scholars have tried ascribing it to gullibility, fear, ambition, and various other shortcomings, but we’re not buying. We think there’s just a very big piece of humanity missing from this dame. Well, if ever you doubted karma, look again. It doesn’t take the murderous Richard very long before he is looking at another woman and poisoning Anne to get her out of the way. So she joins Hubby and Daddy-in-Law, and we say she asked for it.

Gilbert Blythe is a central character in Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s very popular series of novels that began in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables. Not only is “Gilbert Blythe” just about the coolest name ever thought of, Gilbert himself is almost amazingly perfect. He is handsome, smart and good-natured. The worst thing he ever does is to call Anne “Carrots”, because of her red hair, when she first arrives in Avonlea. For this, she refuses to speak to him for an unaccountably long time. He is self-sacrificing on Anne’s behalf and, when she spurns his first proposal, he nearly dies of typhus. Silly Anne comes around, of course, marries him, and they live happily ever after (given life’s inevitable ups and downs). In addition to being a sterling husband, he is a loving father and a caring doctor. They just don’t get any better than this! In fact, they don’t get anywhere near this. Pause for a sigh for the good old days that probably never were. Gilbert, we love you!

Ruby is one of Anne Shirley’s friends in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, and its sequels. She is a very pretty girl, quite boy-crazy, and intent on having lots of beaus. As one of many sisters, Ruby has learned a lot about life, and enjoys sharing her wisdom with her friends. She eventually becomes a teacher and she does find true love, but dies of consumption before she is able to marry.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Anne

Popular Songs


a song by The Hollies

Anne You Will Sing
a song by The Promise Ring

a song by Josh Ritter

Leslie Anne Levine
a song by The Decemberists

Famous People


Anne Marie d'Orléans (French noblewoman, Queen Consort of Sardinia)
Anne-Marie Duff (English actress)
Anne Archer (actress)
Anne Bancroft (actress)
Anne Baxter (actress)
Anne Boleyn (royalty, one of Henry VIII’s wives)
Anne Brontë (English author, one of the Brontë sisters)
Anne of Cleves (royalty, one of Henry VIII’s wives)
Anne Frank (WWII diarist)
Anne Geddes (photographer)
Anne Hathaway (actress)
Anne Hathaway (William Shakespeare’s wife)
Anne Heche (actress)
Anne Murray (musician)
Anne Rice (author)
Anne Sullivan (Helen Keller’s teacher)
Princess Anne (English royalty, daughter of Elizabeth II)
Queen Anne of Britain (English monarch, reigned 1702-1714)

Children of Famous People


We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Anne

Historic Figures


Annelies “Anne” Frank was one of the best known figures of the twentieth century, the young Jewish girl in hiding who did not survive the holocaust of World War II, but who lives on immortally through her diary. Trapped by the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the German Jewish Frank family went into hiding in Amsterdam in 1942, a family of four confined to a couple of rooms with several other people. Ultimately, they were betrayed and captured. Anne died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp only weeks before the liberation by the Allied troops in 1945. Anne’s father, the family’s only survivor, found the diary his daughter had kept and was persuaded to publish it. In these poignant pages, an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances questions herself, her parents, the world she lives in, and the unknown and unseen forces that seem to prevail – her ultimate answer to herself, and to all of us down through the years, is that there is good, indeed, in mankind, in spite of every evidence to the contrary. She was one little voice; she spoke loudly and clearly for six million people.

Geraldine Ferraro is a woman who should be much more heralded than she is – as the first ever female vice-presidential major party nominee for that office in the United States, she blazed a trail that is still being foraged by women today, over thirty years later. Geraldine was born of Italian American parents in New York and was largely raised by her hard-working widowed mother. This gave her a lasting empathy for the poor, which permeated her politics. In a time when women were encouraged to get teaching or nursing degrees in case something “happened to their marriages”, Geraldine got not only a teaching degree, but a law degree, being one of two women in her law school class. When she married, Ms. Ferraro retained her maiden name for the most part, as she served in various public legal offices before going on to run for the House of Representatives. Brash and ambitious, Geraldine worked her way up in the men’s club and was thrilled to be on the Mondale ticket. The nomination was met with both enthusiasm and opposition, as Geraldine’s policies (particularly on the pro-choice issue) were attacked and her personal financial matters were investigated mercilessly. At the end of it all, she and Mondale were trounced in the 1984 election by President Ronald Reagan. Geraldine Ferraro continued to be active in politics and humanitarian works, but she was absolutely right when she declared that her path would have been a lot smoother if her name had been Gerald.

Anne Boleyn holds the distinction of being the second of Henry VIII’s six wives and arguably the one who set in motion the king’s disposable attitude toward the institution of marriage in the first place. In fact, Henry’s brazen disregard for marriage as a religious institution would have far-reaching and game-changing effects on the history of England. But let’s get back to poor little Anne Boleyn, shall we? Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, failed to produce him a male heir. Restless and frustrated, the king turned his eyes on the Queen Consort’s maid of honor, a young noblewoman in her own right Anne Boleyn. Anne was quite popular at court and attracted the eye of many men given her beauty, stylish dress, fine education and sharp wit. But no one was in hotter pursuit than the king himself. Thus began Henry’s long ordeal in attempting to have his first marriage annulled so he could be free to marry Anne (Anne, it seems, was withholding her bedroom favors until then). As kings often have the power to do, Henry was able to get the Archbishop of Canterbury to null and void his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and to validate his subsequent marriage to Anne. Rome was not happy with this chain of events and the Pope promptly excommunicated both the king and the archbishop. The king retaliated by taking the Church of England under his control (thus kicking off the English Reformation and England’s break from Roman Catholicism). Shortly after the marriage, Anne gave birth to a daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I of England. Not exactly the gender-preference old Henry had in mind, so Anne dutifully kept getting pregnant…and ill-fatedly kept miscarrying. Henry apparently had the patience of a gnat because it only took three years before his wandering eye took hold of future wifey #3 (Jane Seymour). But what to do about Anne? A few trumped up charges did the trick and Anne was sent to the Tower of London on thinly veiled accusations of “high treason”. She was beheaded by a single stroke of the sword after a short “thanks but no thanks” three year stint as Queen Consort. Anne’s legacy remains as the ill-fated mother of the future Queen Elizabeth I.

Anne of Cleves was King Henry VIII’s fourth wife. After Henry dumped his first wife (Catherine of Aragon), and executed his second (Anne Boleyn), his third wife (Jane Seymour) died of complications from childbirth. This time, however, Henry’s fourth marriage was more about a political alliance rather than lustful attraction or the obsessive need to produce an heir to the throne of the XY variety. It was the king’s chancellor (Thomas Cromwell) who recommended the union to Anne of Cleves, a German (when England was in need of a little German love). When the future couple finally met, all hell broke loose. Although it was too late to back down. Henry purportedly found Anne to be too humorlessly German, unsophisticated, lacking in formal education, and of “middling beauty”. But let’s be clear. At this point Henry looked like some grotesque version of Austin Power’s “Fat Bastard”. The king tried to back out of the nuptials but it was clear his withdrawal would create damaging political problems for England. Still, the marriage lasted for a mere seven months, and, not surprisingly, Anne of Cleves went along with the annulment (on the grounds of non-consummation). We can’t really blame her. This gal got one of the richest alimony settlements ever! You go girl!

Anne Brontë is perhaps the least known of the three literary Brontë sisters (the other two being Emily and Charlotte of “Wuthering Heights” and “Jane Eyre” fame, respectively). Anne initially wrote under the pseudonym “Acton Bell” and is most known for her novels “Agnes Grey” and “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” as well as various poetry. If you’ve read any of the Brontë sister’s works then you won’t be surprised to learn they grew up on the desolate moors of Yorkshire, the daughters of a poor Irish clergyman who, despite his early childhood poverty in Ireland, managed to learn how to read and write (and gain a clergy position in the Church of England). The girls’ mother was also well-read and intelligent (although she died when Anne was very young). There were six Brontë children in total: Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Patrick, Emily and Anne. Maria and Elizabeth died before the age of 11 of consumption (contracted while away at school), and so the remaining children were kept home to be schooled. Charlotte, Emily and Anne’s imaginations were ignited by their environment of play and their father’s rich library of classical literature that they were able to fuel their own literary geniuses. It was through their restricted station in life (i.e., poor, educated girls’ only means of employment was that of a teacher or governess) where they found there inspiration in subject matter. While the girls’ were met with contemporary success in the debut of their novels, it was Anne who most vocally asserted her right as a female author in an otherwise mid-18th century restrictive atmosphere. She died at the young age of 29 of tuberculosis following the likewise untimely death of her beloved sister Emily. It was Charlotte who inadvertently subdued her sister Anne’s legacy by repressing the release of the somewhat scandalous (for its time) nature of “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” after Anne’s death. Only more recently have critics come to appreciate the literary giant Anne Brontë was in her own right.

Queen Anne was the last reigning English monarch of the House of Stuart – the same Scottish royal House that gave England James I (James VI of Scotland), Charles I & II and William & Mary). She reigned over Great Britain from 1702 until her death in 1714. Queen Anne was the daughter of the last Roman Catholic King of England, Scotland and Ireland, James II. James II abdicated during the “Glorious Revolution” when Protestant and Parliament friendly William of Orange usurped his throne. Although William was a Dutch Dude, his wife was none other than James II eldest daughter (and Anne’s older sister), Mary II of England, who co-ruled with her husband during what’s known as the reign of William & Mary. So how did Anne ascend to the throne, you ask? William and Mary had no children (and therefore no heirs), which made Anne next in the line of succession (as per the Bill of Rights of 1689). “Good Queen Anne” as she was known was a popular Queen; her reign is remembered for four main things: 1) The onset of the War of the Spanish Succession in which the English joined forces with the Austrians and Dutch in war against France over who would rule the vast Spanish Empire; 2) The powerful influence the Duck and Duchess of Marlborough (John and Sarah Churchill) had over the Queen, and their political differences (Tories vs. Whigs); 3) The Act of Union of 1707 which unified England and Scotland under one throne and Parliament; and 4) Despite 18 pregnancies, Anne had not produced an heir. She suffered many miscarriages and still-births. What children did survive beyond infancy died in their youth. As a result, Queen Anne would be succeeded by her second cousin and the grand-nephew of James I of England, George I of the House of Hanover (a German royal dynasty).

Santa Ana (or Saint Anne) is believed to be the mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus. She and her husband, Joachim, were unable to have a child for many years and then Anna was visited in the night by an angel who let her know that she would soon conceive a child. The couple were so happy with this news that they promised their child, once born, would be in the service of God. In addition to bearing the child who would become the mother of Jesus, Saint Anne is also the saint of women in labor.