Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Florence

Florence is an English and French female name derived from the Latin “florens” meaning “flourishing, blooming”. We know the masculine name Florentius dates back to ancient times, as it was borne by several early Christian saints in the first centuries of the Common Era. Both Florentius and Florentia were commonly used among Roman citizens especially after the Christianization of Europe (in honor of the early saints). Some people also consider Florence as a geographical place name, as in the Italian capital city of Florence in Tuscany. Florence, Italy was established in the first century B.C. as a residence for Roman army veterans and originally called “Fluentia” (“flowing”) because it was situation in a river valley. The name would later be corrupted to Florentia (blossoming) which, ironically, is apropos considering the fact that Florence was one of the most important European trade cities in the Middle Ages – “flourishing” with activity. Furthermore, the Florentine Latin dialect morphed into the standard Italian language, the Florin currency financed all sorts of activities throughout medieval Europe and, most importantly, Florence is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance (marking the period of time between the Middle Ages and the Modern Era). Many world travelers will attest to the fact that Florence is among their favorite places to visit. In fact, one of the most famous name bearers is Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), a British woman credited as the Mother of Modern Nursing due to her tireless work tending to wounded soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Nightingale was actually named after the place of her birth (Florence, Italy).

All About the Baby Name – Florence

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME FLORENCE

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME FLORENCE

The fact that Florence hasn’t made a comeback in the 21st century is a bit perplexing. We think old Florence has just as much antique charm as, say, Emma, Ruby, Cora or Hazel. Back at the turn of the 20th century, Florence was extremely fashionable. In fact, in 1900, Florence was the 7th most popular baby girl’s name nationwide. She was a Top 10 until 1905, a Top 20 until 1925, a Top 50 until 1934 and a Top 100 until 1941. The name slowly fell off her perch as the decades wore on, and by the 1970s, Florence became ultra-passé. The last year we can find Florence on America’s Top 1000 list was in 1981 – basically off the American naming radar for over 30 years. Less than 100 baby girls born in 2012 were given the name Florence. Yet over in England, Florence is a Top 50 favorite right now. Largely neglected in the United States, Florence is finding a revival across the pond. We just haven’t gotten the memo yet. In fact, the English have a few female baby names on their Top 50 list that are rarely used in America (e.g., Evie, Freya, Imogen, Millie, Poppy, Maisie and Matilda are other examples besides Florence). Florence is a charming, delightfully old-fashioned name, and definitely one to consider. She’s just begging to “bloom” and “flourish” again. Flo, Flossie, Flor and Flora are all darling nicknames.

Quick Facts

ON FLORENCE

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

FLOOR-ənts (English); flo-RAWNS (French)

SIMPLE MEANING:

Flourishing, blooming, blossoming

Characteristics

OF FLORENCE

Humanitarian

Community-minded

Family-oriented

Loving

Affectionate

Compassionate

Sensitive

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Florence

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME FLORENCE

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Florence

Popular Songs

ON FLORENCE

The Floods of Florence
a song by Phil Ochs

Famous People

NAMED FLORENCE

Florence Nightingale (nurse)
Florence Griffith Joyner (track/field athlete known as Flo-Jo)
Florence Harding (former First Lady)
Florence Henderson (actress)
Florence Lawrence (silent film actress, aka "The First Movie Star")
Florence Welch (musician from Florence & the Machine)
Florence Evelyn Nesbit (actress)
Florence Chadwick (American swimmer)
Florence Ballard (Motown singer, founding member of The Supremes)

Children of Famous People

NAMED FLORENCE

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME FLORENCE

Florence Nightingale is the famous British reformer who was essentially the founder of the nursing profession, and whose name is synonymous with one who brings great comfort to others. Born in Florence, Italy, (hence the name) to a wealthy British family, Florence was raised in England and essentially educated by her father. In addition to literature, philosophy, history and languages, he added mathematics to the mix – most unusual for a girl of her times and class. Early on, young Florence felt a religious calling to a life of service, specifically nursing, and was able to realize this ambition during the Crimean War of 1853 – 1856. She pioneered many innovative methods of nursing while there, taught and trained many other young women in the 1853-56. She wrote the definitive guidebook, Notes on Nursing, and singlehandedly ushered her profession into the modern age. Considering the restrictive Victorian atmosphere in which she operated, her accomplishments are amazing. No less a luminary than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized her as “the lady with the lamp” in his 1857 poem, “St. Filomena”. Her legacy lives on today in a proud profession.