Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Celia

Celia is often considered the pet form of Cecilia, although the two names have different Latin etymologies. Celia is believed to be the feminine version of the Old Roman family name Caelius from the Latin “caelum” meaning “heaven” (whereas Cecilia is from “caecus” meaning “blind”). Although Celia is a name of ancient Roman origins, it was not used during the Middle Ages (probably because there was no saint associated with her). What prompted the usage of Celia among English-speakers was actually William Shakespeare. He used this name for a loveable character in his c. 1600 comedy “As You Like It”. Celia is Rosalind’s “pretty little coz” (cousin) with whom she pals around in the Forest of Arden (for more information, see literary references below). Celia is a name used among the English, Italians and Spanish most typically. It’s currently a Top 50 favorite in the countries of France, Spain and Belgium.

All About the Baby Name – Celia

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME CELIA

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME CELIA

Celia was a moderately high ranking name at the beginning of the 20th century although she never managed to reach a Top 100 position. As the decades progressed into last century, Celia slowly diminished in usage. Interestingly the name got a little shot in the arm between 1983 and 1984 thanks to a character named Celia Quartermaine on General Hospital. Back in the 1980s, American parents were often inspired by soap opera characters when naming their children. Other than that hiccup, however, Celia continues on her path to rare usage. Because Celia is now so uncommon in the United States, she may be one to consider. The name actually fits perfectly within today’s fashionable naming trends: she has a little bit of that turn-of-the-century antique charm; she has that dainty and feminine “-ia” suffix; plus she enjoys Shakespearean literary appeal. The "heaven" etymology is also attractive to many parents (and a more subtle than Nevaeh!) The only caveat to this name is that it’s often mispronounced and/or confused with Cecilia.

Quick Facts

ON CELIA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

765

PRONUNCIATION:

SEEL-yə (English); SEE-lee-ə (Spanish)

SIMPLE MEANING:

Heaven

Characteristics

OF CELIA

Communicative

Creative

Optimistic

Popular

Social

Dramatic

Happy

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Celia

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME CELIA

Celia is the beautiful protagonist of Jonathan Swift’s 1732 satirical poem, “The Lady’s Dressing Room”. This nasty little snipe at women’s vanity has Celia’s lover, Strephon, venturing into her empty dressing room and becoming disillusioned by the odorous mess he finds there, realizing that the vision of loveliness he gazes upon daily is just that – a vision. The beautiful mistress is unmasked – indeed, she has bodily functions, she blows her nose, she spits, she has dandruff, she sweats and she smells. She is, in effect, a human being. Yes, yes, we know Master Swift is a master of satire, and so we should be appreciating his exhortation of the wrongs of a society that forces women into such subterfuge, and the less than lofty intentions of the men who have such ridiculous standards of unnatural beauty to which women must aspire. Sure, sure – but you know what? We think he was also being pretty snarky under the guise of satire. Swift was excoriated by his contemporary audience for the scatological nature of the poem- they shouldn’t have stopped there. (Well, some didn’t – check out Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s reply.)

Celia is a character in William Shakespeare’s popular and much adapted comedy, As You Like It, believed to have been written in 1599/1600. Celia is the cousin and close friend of the heroine, Rosalind. Duke Frederick, Celia’s father, has usurped his younger brother, Duke Senior, Rosalind’s father, who lives in exile in the Forest of Arden. When Frederick banishes Rosalind in anger, she and Celia flee to the forest as well, but naturally, in disguise. What else? Rosalind is dressed as a man (but of course) and Celia passes herself off as a shepherdess. While Rosalind (as Ganymede) is toying with her lover, Orlando, Celia (as Aliena) wins the heart of Oliver, his older brother (and these brothers have as many problems as the older generation). After lots of intervening nonsense, everyone marries the right person, and just to put the icing on the cake, Frederick conveniently decides he’s been a bad boy and gives the throne back to Senior. Then Orlando and Oliver make up. All’s Well That Ends Well. Oh, wait, wrong play. Nonetheless, in spite of, or perhaps because of, all this confusion, our Celia comes across as a singularly appealing young woman. She cheerfully volunteers to accompany Rosalind in exile, only to be reduced to having to listen to that young woman’s plaints of love. This proves tiresome until Celia finds her own love, and then she is once again Rosalind’s equal – they have both fallen head over heels, and Celia’s once somewhat jaded eyes are opened – so that’s what all the fuss is about! Who knew?

As You Like It

Popular Songs

ON CELIA

Celia of the Seals
a song by Donovan

Celia
a song by Phil Ochs

Famous People

NAMED CELIA

Celia Cruz (salsa performer)
Celia Johnson (British actress)

Children of Famous People

NAMED CELIA

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME CELIA

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