Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Rihanna

Rihanna is an altered spelling of Rhianna which itself is a more modern version of the Welsh female name Rhiannon (pronounced hri-AN-ahn), derived from an Old Celtic name “Rigantona” meaning “great queen”. In Celtic mythology, Rhiannon/Rigantona was a prominent goddess and considered a “Great Queen”. She is also associated with fertility and the moon. In Welsh mythology, Rhiannon was an exceptionally beautiful goddess and skilled equestrian. A Welsh king by the name of Pwyll spotted the gorgeous woman wearing glittering gold on her white horse atop a magical mound. “Who knows that lady?” asked the king to his horsemen, but no one knew. Enamored by Rhiannon in all of her splendor, Pwyll sent his best horsemen after her. As they quickly rode toward her, they could never reach her. She was simply outside of their grasp. Finally Pwyll called out to her himself. Rhiannon reveals to Pwyll that she’s come seeking him, that she loves only him, but has been promised to marry another (Gwawl). Pwyll and Rhiannon agree that Pwyll will come claim her at her father’s house in one year’s time. When that day approached, Pwyll foolishly and unwittingly gave his bride-to-be back to her original fiancé Gwawl who cleverly tricked him. Rhiannon then devised a plan to outwit Gwawl when it came time to marry him in one year’s time. It involves a magical bag and Pwyll disguised as a beggar, but suffice it to say, Rhiannon and Pwyll finally marry each other. During their marriage, Rhiannon secures an heir to her husband’s kingdom by birthing a son. But when the baby boy is snatched in the middle of the night, the six ladies-in-waiting who were meant to watch over him (but slept on the job) devised a plan to accuse Rhiannon of infanticide by smearing dog’s blood on the sleeping queen (she is forced to do seven years penance for her so-called crime). In the meantime, the boy is discovered near a stable and raised by another couple until they realize his likeness to Pwyll (and thus his true identity), returning the boy to his rightful parents several years later. Although Rhiannon’s story is somewhat obscure Celtic legend, the name became immortalized by a 1976 Fleetwood Mac song “Rhiannon”. The song is loosely based on “an old Welsh witch” as Stevie Nicks often announced in live performances. In truth, though, Rhiannon was both a goddess and a great queen. As the lyrics read in part: “Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night / And wouldn't you love to love her? / Takes through the sky like a bird in flight / And who will be her lover?” The spelling of Rihanna, however, has been solely influenced by American pop-singing sensation Rihanna.

All About the Baby Name – Rihanna

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME RIHANNA

The number 11 is a Master Number, and embodies heightened traits of the Two. This personality is on a life journey to find spiritual truth. They are extremely idealistic and intuitive. Elevens have a rare and exceptional spiritual energy that brings a sense of obligation to illuminate the world around them. It's a very powerful responsibility, but these people have far more potential than they know. It's important that they surrender to higher ideals. They have the capacity to see the bigger picture, and they possess the skills to inspire others spiritually. Elevens have strong diplomatic skills and can become great peacemakers. Master numbers can be both a blessing and a curse, as they walk the fine line between greatness and the potential for self-destruction.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME RIHANNA

Rihanna the pop-star and singing sensation had everything to do with her name entering the American female charts in 2006. The year before, in 2005, Rihanna released her debut album “Music of the Sun” which peaked on the charts (especially her hit single "Pon de Replay"). Young American parents stood up and took notice. Rihanna’s name debuted on the naming charts at impressively moderate levels of usage right off the bat. The name’s peak popularity occurred in 2008 at position #310 on the charts. While this is by no means an ϋber-popular name, it’s abrupt and rapid ascension on the charts is notable nonetheless. The name has dropped over 400 positions in the past couple of years and is now down to levels of barely detectable usage. Rihanna is definitely an example of pop-culture trends impacting the usage of naming styles. It’s no surprise that Rihanna’s name started to see a decline in 2009 after she was embroiled in a domestic violence scandal involving her then-boyfriend Chris Brown. When Rihanna was seen again with Brown, many people lost respect for the young pop-star. Perhaps they no longer see the name worthy of bestowment. Rihanna’s name is still pretty and unique despite any connection with celebrity. The etymology of “great queen” and the interesting Welsh mythological background has already peaked our interest.

Quick Facts

ON RIHANNA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

African-American

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

955

PRONUNCIATION:

ree-AN-ə

SIMPLE MEANING:

Great queen

Characteristics

OF RIHANNA

Inspirational

Highly Intuitive

Spiritual Teacher

Extremely Bright

Uplifting

Truth-seeker

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Rihanna

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME RIHANNA

Popular Songs

ON RIHANNA

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


Famous People

NAMED RIHANNA

Rihanna (singer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED RIHANNA

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME RIHANNA

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