Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Bella

Bella is the Italian word for “beautiful”. The French equivalent would be Belle. Both words are ultimately derived from the Latin “bellus” meaning “pretty, fair, charming”. Aside from the name’s “beautiful” Italian translation, Bella is also often considered a short form of Isabella or Annabella (or any name ending with the “-bella” suffix for that matter: Arabella, Mirabella, etc). As a female given name, Bella is more of an invention among English speakers. In other words, Italians don’t go around naming their baby daughters “Bella”. In Italy, the word is more of an affectionate nickname given to any woman considered beautiful. However, within English speaking nations, the name Bella is hot, hot, hot right now. It’s especially popular in Australia, New Zealand and America; but it’s also ranked very high in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Parents are going bananas over this simple Italian beauty. And who can blame them?

All About the Baby Name – Bella

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME BELLA

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME BELLA

American parents have been naming their daughters Bella since at least the 19th century. The name entered the 20th century in 1900 at position #389 out of 1000 on the charts. This means the name was used with only moderate success. As you can see by the chart below, Bella really dropped in popularity during the 1920s and finally retreated into the shadows in 1931 (the year the name fell off America’s Top 1000 list). Bella’s hiatus from usage would last a whopping 68 years before returning to the charts in the year 2000. Many people erroneously believe that Stephenie Meyer’s ϋber-popular character Bella Swan from her Twilight Series of books is what has prompted the renewed interest in this name. But this is simply not true. Twilight was not published until the end of 2005 and Bella was already quickly ascending the charts. Perhaps Bella Swan did help bolster this name’s rapid fire success among parents, but trust us when we say Bella was already headed for the Top 100 list before this fictional pop-culture icon entered our collective imaginations. Not to mention Bella is a widely given name among pet rabbits, cats and small dogs. While some folks may prefer Bella as a nickname for Isabella or Annabella rather than an independently given name, it’s hard to argue the “beautiful” nature of this name. Yes, it’s currently common and arguably overly trendy right now, yet we totally understand its attractiveness. It’s delicate, sweet and ultra-feminine.

Quick Facts

ON BELLA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Italian

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

58

PRONUNCIATION:

BEL-ah

SIMPLE MEANING:

Beautiful

Characteristics

OF BELLA

Freedom-loving

Adventurous

Adaptable

Intellectual

Easygoing

Progressive

Sensual

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Bella

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME BELLA

Bella Wilfer is an important character in Charles Dickens’ last novel, Our Mutual Friend, written in 1864/5. Bella figures in the will of wealthy old Mr. Harmon, who conditionally leaves his fortune to his absentee son, John, if he marries her. John has never met her, and naturally objects to this little coda. Consequently, he fakes his own death and moves in with the family who are fostering Bella and who conveniently have also inherited Mr. Harmon’s estate. Well, this is Dickens, after all! Bella is a product of a manipulative, money-loving mother and a gentle, doting father. During the course of the novel, she moves from taking after one parent to the other. Initially bound and determined to marry for money, she eventually concedes to marry John Harmon, not knowing his true identity and believing him to be poor. She becomes a loving and devoted wife to him, and - voila – finds out she hit the jackpot. Thus is rather shaky virtue rewarded! Truth be told, she was somewhat more interesting before she found religion!

Isabella Swan is the main character in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight book series, although she is called "Bella" throughout the novels. She is an average girl who moves from Arizona to a remote part of Washington state to live with her father. There, she befriends, is intrigued by, and eventually falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. Strong, independent, sassy and willful, it seems everyone falls under the spell of this girl, including the werewolf/friend Jacob Black. But Bella's heart remains with Edward, and this devotion propels her to join the coven of vampires herself.

Popular Songs

ON BELLA

Earth to Bella (Part II)
a song by Incubus

Earth to Bella (Part I)
a song by Incubus

Bella Luna
a song by Jason Mraz

Bella Linda
a song by The Grass Roots

Bella Donna
a song by Stevie Nicks

Bella Ciao
a song by Bella Ciao

Bella Bella Signorina
a song by Patrizio Buanne

Bella (She’s All I Ever Had)
a song by Ricky Martin

Bella
a song by Santana

Famous People

NAMED BELLA

Bella Abzug ("Battling Bella" notable feminist)
Bella Abzug (Filipino actress)
Bella Freud (English fashion designer)
Bella Igla (Israeli chess Grandmaster)
Bella Rosenfeld (wife of artist Marc Chagall)
Annabella "Bella" Thorne (actress)

Children of Famous People

NAMED BELLA

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME BELLA

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Bella