Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Fiona

Fiona comes from the Gaelic word “fionn” which means ‘white, fair’. The name was first used in the 18th century by Scottish poet James Macpherson in his epic Ossian poems. Macpherson claimed he found ancient Gaelic manuscripts which directly told the deeds of Celtic heroes in what is referred to as the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. Fionn mac Cumhaill was a mythical hunter-warrior whose followers (the Fianna) lived apart from society as bandits and hunters and could be called upon by kings in times of war. These poetic works were extremely popular, widely read, and very controversial since Macpherson claimed they were written by Fionn’s son Oisín himself in the 3rd century. Fiona developed as the feminized version of Fionn and was mainly used in Scotland. Adding additional currency to the name at the end of the 19th century was William Sharp who used the nom de plume “Fiona Macleod” when publishing his popular and widely read romantic Celtic novels. By the 20th century, Fiona had spread throughout the British Isles and eventually made its way to other English-speaking countries.

All About the Baby Name – Fiona



The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.



Fiona first appeared on the U.S. popularity charts in 1990. Why so late? We too were mystified by this “fair” name’s late entry onto the charts. Americans have quickly embraced many other Celtic-inspired names such as Bridget, Erin, Caitlin, Megan and Shannon. Fiona is one of those long-neglected, beautiful names from Ireland, Scotland and Wales (like Gwendolyn, Guinevere, Ciara or Siobhán). This is not a name for any old American. An appreciation of Celtic/Gaelic culture is a prerequisite because Fiona is distinctly Scottish. At least we were glad to see that the name has climbed the charts in the past twenty years. A couple of pop-culture influences have helped propel Fiona’s popularity. One is the Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Fiona Apple who stepped onto the scene in 1996. The other is the popularity of the movies “Shrek” and sequels starring the ever-charming Princess Fiona. Today Fiona is experiencing the height of her popularity and we’re glad to see her get some attention. This fair lady deserves it.

Quick Facts













White, fair










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Fiona

Literary Characters


Fiona s the matriarch of the Cleary family in Colleen McCullough’s 1977 best-selling novel, The Thorn Birds, which in turn was made into a very popular television mini-series in 1983. Fiona comes from an aristocratic New Zealand family, but marries Paddy Cleary, a poor Irish immigrant. She has had an affair with a married man and borne a son by him. In this disgraceful state, her father marries her off to Cleary, and she stoically accepts her fate. They have nine other children, and live with Paddy’s sister on her large sheep ranch in the Australian outback. The story centers around their only daughter, Meggie, and her love for the ambitious Catholic priest, Ralph de Bricassart, but it is the distance that Fee puts between herself and her only daughter, and her obvious favoritism for her oldest son, that drive Meggie to such extremes for love. When Meggie herself bears a son by her illicit affair with Father Ralph during a disastrous marriage, Fiona finally bends a little and welcomes her daughter back. Her life has been one of hardship and loss, but she ironically becomes a softer, more receptive woman precisely because of this.

Fiona is a main character in the Broadway musical, Brigadoon, by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, which opened in 1947 (with a movie version in 1954). She is an inhabitant of the mythical Scottish village of Brigadoon, which, because of a protective spell, comes to life for only one day once every hundred years. When an American visitor, Tommy Albright, stumbles upon it accidentally, sparks fly between the two, but their wish to be together is thwarted by the magic that forbids any villager from ever leaving. Fiona is a strong-willed and independent character who has very definite ideas about love, and about whom she will marry. She and Tommy consult the village schoolmaster, who tells them that anything is possible if their love is strong enough. Tommy, though madly in love with Fiona, is led to believe that it is all a dream, and he returns to the States. Naturally, he cannot stop thinking of Fiona, and ultimately returns to Brigadoon. And – of course – love – and the belief in it - makes anything possible. Tommy and Fiona disappear into the mists of the highlands, to live and love forever.

Fiona is the main character in The Secret of Roan Inish, a 1994 film by John Sayles, itself based on the 1959 book, The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry, by Rosalie K. Fry. Fiona, a young girl, goes to live with her grandparents in an area on the west coast of Ireland where it is said the “selkies” live – they are seals who can shed their skins and appear as human. Fiona has been told that her brother, Jamie, was spirited away as an infant and raised by a selkie. Is it possible that Fiona and her brother are descendents of an earlier union between a human and a selkie? Has the immutable bond between man and nature been violated? Having lost her mother to early death, her brother to a mysterious kidnapping, and her father to self-absorbed alcoholism, Fiona is a plucky girl, indeed, to forge ahead with such devotion. She searches with a single-minded purpose for the young Jamie, and her fortitude pays off, in a most magically satisfying way.

Princess Fiona is the kind-hearted and feisty princess in the Shrek film series, and is voiced by Cameron Diaz. (It was also staged as a musical in 2001.) Fiona is under a magic spell that makes her a human by day, but an ogress by night – what a dilemma – especially as it is the ogre, Shrek, who has been commissioned to bring her to her betrothed, Lord Farquaard. Naturally, things heat up between the ogre and the ogress on the way to the lord, and just as naturally, misunderstandings arise. Love saves the day, however, and when Shrek kisses Fiona, she becomes an ogress permanently – and isn’t that just the finest solution you could ever imagine? Among Fiona’s many adventures throughout the series, she manages to give birth to the couple’s triplets – ogrettes? -, named, charmingly, Felicia, Fergus and Farkle. But of course.

Fiona is a character in the Lemony Snicket’s books, A Series of Unfortunate Events, beginning in 2004, most particularly in The Grim Grotto. She is the stepdaughter of Captain Widdershins, an old friend of the orphaned Baudelaire children’s parents. Captain W. has told Fiona that her mother died in “a manatee accident”. Fiona is a little older than Violet, making her 15 or 16; she is an expert on fungi, which talent leads to her saving Sunny Baudelaire from poisonous mushrooms by the use of wasabi. She is the love interest of Klaus Baudelaire, although in a most chaste manner. She is the sister of the somewhat villainous Fernald, the “Hook-handed Man, with whom she lived on his submarine, the “Queequeg” and to whom she is devoted. She wears a uniform with a picture of Herman Melville on the front (later replaced with an image of Edgar Guest), she tries to help the Baudelaire children find the all-important sugar bowl and she has distinctive triangular shaped eyeglasses. Well, what else do we need to know?

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Fiona

Popular Songs


For Fiona
a song by No Use For A Name

Fiona's Apple
a song by Diesel Boy

a song by Lyle Lovett

Famous People


Fiona Apple (singer-songwriter)
Fiona (singer)
Fiona Shaw (actress)
Fiona Mackenzie (Scottish Gaelic singer)
Julia Fiona Roberts (actress)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


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