Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Princess

A princess is the female counterpart to a prince – both of which are English vocabulary words that define a hereditary royal title. Princess ultimately comes to the English from the Old French (Princesse) via the Latin “princeps” which in turn is derived from the elements “primus” (first) and “capio” (to seize). These root elements are quite fitting since a “prince” is generally the “first to seize” the throne upon the death of a king (usually his father). The feminine equivalent is Princess which, like Prince, is occasionally used as a given name. Naming one’s daughter Princess is mostly an American thing to do – we can’t find this name on any other English-speaking charts.

All About the Baby Name – Princess



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American parents have been naming their daughters Princess since 1979 – at least that’s the first year this royal daughter made an appearance on the Top 1000 list. Princess reached her peak popularity in the mid-1980s and again in the early 2000s. For the most part, however, Princess is not a common given name. Although common as a term of endearment, you won’t often see Princess on someone’s actual birth certificate. In other words, naming your daughter Princess is a bold move. You might as well also consider Countess or Duchess. Although Princess sounds particularly Disneyish since they’ve been ramming the concept of the princess down our throats for decades now – in an overly-commercialized way – we still appreciate the loving sentiment behind naming one’s baby girl Princess. But hec, if you’re thinking about Princess you might as well go all the way and consider Queen. There are more subtle ways to accomplish this, too. Regina is the Latin word for Queen and Reina the Spanish. Rihanna is Celtic for “great queen” if you like superlatives. But if you’re stuck on Princess, then consider Sarah (Hebrew meaning “princess”). In other words, there are more clever and less obvious ways to accomplish giving your daughter a royal title without being so in-your-face. Really, ask yourself: how well does Princess age into adulthood? Perhaps this one is best left to poodles and porn stars. Or as a middle name. It’s just very risky to bestow Princess as a legal first name. You really need to be a person who doesn’t care what other people think (and so will your daughter).

Quick Facts













First to seize; Royal daughter










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Princess

Literary Characters


Ida is the lady of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s narrative poem, “The Princess”, published in 1847 (upon which Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1884 comic opera, “Princess Ida” is based). Ida is a beautiful princess who has been betrothed to a neighboring prince since birth. Ida, however, decides that she will establish a university strictly for women, and will forgo the world of men. Her prince doesn’t take this lying down, and along with two friends, all disguised as women, applies to the university. Needless to say, the disguise is not an easy one to uphold and, before long, they are found out. This almost brings about war, backed by the main participants’ fathers, but all is well in the end. Ida is persuaded by her prince, who had been raised by an extremely futuristic mother, that he is all for equality in love and education. That he is several generations ahead of real men does not seem to bother Ida at all, and she happily acquiesces, even tending to the wounds he had sustained in his “battle” with her. Critics still disagree on whether or not the piece is pro or anti feminist. How about you?

Princess Ida is the title character of Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert’s 1884 comic opera, Princess Ida; or, Castle Adamant, based upon Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1847 poem, “The Princess”. Gilbert and Sullivan set the poem to music and lyrics, and applied a healthy swath of satire against such hot Victorian topics as women’s equality and right to education, as well as the theories of Darwin. It was well received, but did not run as long as expected and was not revived in London again until 1919. The play is still performed regularly today, but 21st century audiences are bound to find it rather dated in its treatment of gender roles.

Princess Leia is the famous girl with the bagel braids from George Lucas’ iconic Star Wars series of sci-fi movies beginning in 1977. Any mother would be proud to have her daughter adopt Princess Leia’s character traits. Leia is strong, brave, resourceful and loyal. Oh, and she’s also a crack shot and a warrior woman, all while presenting a lovely and feminine demeanor. Not to mention that metallic bikini.

Once upon a time, princesses were cruelly put upon, deprived of their rightful heritage, married off to the highest bidder, and, when all was said and done, rescued by the Princes and stowed away In the castles forever. This was a “happily forever”, we were told. Well, sistahs, not no more! Those archetypal princesses are the bane of existence for modern feministas, and we are re-writing the book. Bring on your trolls and dragons, your poisoned apples and glass coffins, but be prepared for sword-wielding, karate proficient, no-nonsense women to rise to the bait. Need a dragon slain, a frog kissed, a kingdom rescued, a magic potion dissolved? Look no further than the nearest graduate school, but be prepared to pay a high fee for services rendered. Once personified by Cinderella and Snow White, today’s modern princess is more apt to be found in the likes of Leia and Fiona, strong women who are more comfortable being the rescuer than the rescuee, and who have no problems with bodily functions just like the common folk. This only endears them more to us, and enhances their hold upon our imaginations. Long live The Princess!

Becky is the scullery maid in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1905 children’s book, A Little Princess. The title refers to seven year old Sara Crewe, a child at Miss Minchin’s boarding school in London, whose wealthy father dies abroad while she is there, and she is turned from a schoolgirl into a servant, sharing quarters with Becky. Becky proves to be a true friend to Sara, helping her to accept the restrictions of her lowered circumstances. As Sara has never been condescending to the servant girl, so Becky responds in kind. Now that Sara is poor, the only thing that Becky wishes to do for her is to be her servant. In time-honored tradition, Sara’s wealth is restored and having grown older, she takes Becky away with her to a just reward.

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.

Born Amelia, Mia Thermopolis or Princess Mia (Princess of Genovia) is the main character in Meg Cabot’s notable series of novels “The Princess Diaries” first published in 2000. Offbeat Mia will automatically win the heart of every teenage girl who's ever just wanted to fit in with as little fuss as possible. Meg Cabot's writing is silly and entertaining; with tons of pop culture references that will make teens feel right at home within her pages. This is a wonderfully wacky read about an endearing female character coming-of-age.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Princess

Popular Songs


She's bought a Hat like Princess Marina
a song by the Kinks

Sleep My Princess (Mozart's Cradle Song)
a song by Olivia Newton-John

(Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess
by John Lennon

The Princess of my Heart
a song by Jesus Jones

Renegade Princess
a song by Sonic Youth

Princess of the Posse
a song by Queen Latifah

a song by Seal

Jewish Princess
a song by Frank Zappa

Famous People


We cannot find any celebrities or significantly famous people with the first name Princess.

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


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