Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Nia

This simple three letter name has two possible origins and meanings. On the one hand, Nia is the Welsh form of an old Irish name Niamh (pronounced “nee-av” in Ireland) and means ‘brightness, luster, radiance’. In Irish mythology and folklore, Niamh Cinn Óir (Niamh of the Golden Hair) was a “banshee” or fairy woman believed to be among the first inhabitants of Ireland. She was also a bit of a femme fatale. Here’s one of the more popular versions of Niamh’s legend. She was born the daughter of sea deities and dwelled in a place underwater called “Tir na nÓg” (the land of Eternal Youth and Pleasure). One day she rode her horse Enbarr across the sea to Ireland and came upon the handsome Fianna warrior and poet Oisín (son of Fionn Mac Cumhail). Upon gazing at this extraordinarily beautiful golden-haired woman on her horse, Oisín fell instantly in love – and she with him. Niamh carried him back to Tir na nÓg where he remained for the next 300 years (although he thought only three weeks had passed). In time, Oisín asked to go back to Ireland for a visit. Niamh gave him her horse and sent him on his way with one warning: do not get off the horse and touch Irish soil or all will be lost. Oisín returned to Ireland after 300 years to discover that the old heroic age had passed. No longer can he find his father or the Fianna, and so he wandered the countryside on horseback eventually coming upon some men trying to move a boulder off a path. The legendary Irish warrior Oisín is able to move the stone with one hand, but the stirrup broke and he fell off the horse. Upon landing on Irish ground he was instantly transformed into an old man. The ‘radiant and beautiful’ traditional spelling of Niamh is still hugely popular in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. It is also on the Top 100 in England and Wales. Nia or Neve are more common spellings in the United States. The other possible origin of Nia comes to us from the Eastern African language of Swahili and means “purpose”.

All About the Baby Name – Nia

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME NIA

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 NIA

Between 1974 and 1990 the name Nia would come and go off the American female naming charts. It just wasn’t a popular enough choice to actually stick to the charts. Finally the name took hold in 1991 – which may very well have been influenced by Nia Peeples who landed a pop-hit on the music charts that year. The usage of this name grew modestly in the last decade of the 20th century and reached its peak popularity in the year 2000 at position #301 on the charts. In the past 10+ years, Nia has slowly declined to much lower levels on the female naming charts. Especially now that Mia (with an M) is all the rage; Nia just doesn’t seem to appeal to American parents in the same way. Still, Nia is elegant in its own simplicity. We love the connection to the Irish legend – it just gives this name that extra “radiance”! It's also a lovely choice for little golden-haired baby girls.

Quick Facts

ON NIA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Celtic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

507

PRONUNCIATION:

NEE-ah

SIMPLE MEANING:

Brightness, Beauty; or Purpose

Characteristics

OF NIA

Humanitarian

Community-minded

Family-oriented

Loving

Affectionate

Compassionate

Sensitive

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Nia

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME NIA

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

Popular Songs

ON NIA

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Nia


Famous People

NAMED NIA

Nia Peeples (singer/actress)
Nia Long (actress)
Nia Vardalos (actress)

Children of Famous People

NAMED NIA

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME NIA

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