Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Patricia

Patricia is the female equivalent to Patrick. What we consider the Irish name Patrick actually comes from a Latin word (“patricius”) meaning “nobly born, Patrician”. Patrick’s popularity is owed to the patron saint of Ireland who lived from the 4th to 5th centuries. One of the most colorful of all the Roman Catholic saints, so many legends and myths surround St. Patrick it’s difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Here’s what we know. Saint Patrick was born in Britain around 373 as a Roman citizen who probably spoke some version of a Celtic language. As a young man he was captured by Irish raiders and forced to guard sheep. Eventually he escaped and went to mainland Europe to train as a priest. A series of visions called him back to Ireland; and once there, his legend grew. He is known for driving the snakes off the island by chasing them to the sea (apparently the pesky serpents disturbed his 40-day fast). He is also known for bringing symbolism of the Trinity to the shamrock; but most notably, he is known for converting practically the whole of Ireland to Christianity before his death in 463. He was held in such high esteem that the name Pádraig/Patrick was considered off-limits until about the 17th century. By the 19th century, the name was so popularized it was used as a generic name for an Irishman. Patricia developed as the female equivalent to this illustrious saint. In English the name is pronounced “pə-TRISH-ə” but in Spanish they say “pah-TREE-syah”. The name Patricia has gone out of style in the United States but it’s still a Top 75 favorite in Spain, Croatia and Hungary. Go figure. Diminutives and pet forms include Pat, Patty, Patsy, Trish and Trisha.

All About the Baby Name – Patricia



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Patricia has had a successful ride on the American popularity charts. The name has always held a position on the charts dating back to the late 1800s. At the turn of the 20th century more than 100 years ago, Patricia was already showing promising signs of advancement. In 1921 the name achieved a coveted place on the Top 100 list of most commonly used girl names in the country. The apex of Patricia’s usage was during the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s when for nearly 40 consecutive years she was a Top 10 pick. We’d say that’s pretty popular, Patricia! In fact, mostly during the 1940s and early 50s, Patricia was the 3rd most favorite name in the United States. We cannot underscore how fashionable and trendy Patricia was in her own day. Let’s put this in perspective. In 1950 almost 50,000 baby girls were given the name Patricia. Fast forward to 2011 when less than 500 little girls received this out-dated moniker. Patricia is clearly no longer a stylish choice in the United States. She reminds us of names like Linda, Barbara, Carol and Donna – they are just so mid-century and middle-aged. But trust us, in her day, this name was all the rage. She was basically the Sophia, Isabella, and Emma of the 1950s. Despite Patricia’s out-dated style, the name remains “patrician” and “noble”. It’s connection to Patrick adds some Irish flavor to the name. The number of potential pet forms affords the name a lot of flexibility. And if you want to modernize this old charemer, consider Patrice (the French form).

Quick Facts













Nobly born, Patrician










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Patricia

Literary Characters


Patty Berglund is one of the main characters in Jonathan Franzen’s 2010 novel, Freedom. Patty is the young and pretty wife of Walter and devoted mother of Jessica and Joey, part of a middle-class, liberal Midwestern family in America in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. As the story unfolds, part of it in the form of autobiography by Patty, we come to understand how this competitive “jock” girl from an artistic family has found herself in the middle of conventionality, still longing for the unrequited love of her youth, while weighing the advantages of the road taken. Along that way, poor Patty struggles with depression and alcoholism, with the estrangement of her beloved son and the inevitability of her husband’s turning away from her after her infidelity. The “freedom” that Patty sought has become a prison of self-pity and misery. Ultimately, Patty finds her way back again to the well-tested true freedom that she had lost. She returns to the embittered and disillusioned Walter, and together they face yet another new horizon, one in which devotion and discipline complement and strengthen freedom.

Childrens Books


Westward To Home: Joshua's Oregon Trail Diary by Patricia Hermes( - It is 1848 when Joshua McCullough and his family leave their home in St. Joseph, Missouri, and set off for Oregon on a wagon train. Though many of the other families on the trail suffer devastating losses during their long journey, Joshua's is spared. However, Joshua must conquer his fear of water during one dramatic crossing, when he heroically dives into a rushing river to save his younger sister Becky. The battered wagon train finally reaches Oregon after traveling over two thousand miles.Recommended for ages 4-10.

A Perfect Place: Joshua's Oregon Trail Diary, Book Two by Patricia Hermes( - It is now fall of 1848 when Joshua starts his second journal. Now Joshua and his extended family (Pa, Ma, Grandpa, sister, aunt, uncle, and cousin) have all arrived in the Willamette Valley safely. Joshua must face many new challenges and experience numerous adventures. Joshua's spirit truly shines through. Recommended for ages 7-10.

The Wild Year, Joshua's Oregon Trail Diary, Book Three by Patricia Hermes( - Nine-year-old Joshua continues his account of his family's move to Oregon. Wild Year covers frontier living in the Willamette Valley. Joshua's promise of going to school for the first time after the long journey, the safe return of a lost younger sister, and the prospect of adding two orphans to the McCullough family will hold readers' interest. Recommended for ages 7-11.

Popular Songs


Patricia the Stripper
a song by Chris De Burgh

a song by Perry Como

Non-Existent Patricia
a song by L7

Famous People


Patricia Heaton (actress)
Patricia Arquette (actress)
Patricia "Patty" Hearst (heiress, kidnapping victim)
Patricia Louise Holte-Edwards (aka Patti LaBelle, singer)
Patricia Clarkson (actress)
Patricia Neal (actress)
Patricia Richardson (actress)
Patricia "Patti" Smith (musician)
Patricia Nixon (First Lady of the U.S.)
Patricia Velasquez (model/actress)
Patricia Roberts (basketball player)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


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