Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Rosa

Rosa is basically the Latinate form of Rose and used by several different cultures including English-speakers, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Scandinavians, etc. A rose is most closely associated with the fragrant flower that bears its name. Originally, Rose was borrowed from the Germanic “hrod” meaning “fame”. It was introduced to England by the Norman French in the Middle Ages, but it is also connected to the Latin “rosa” (also said to be borrowed from the Germanic language). The rose is arguably the most “famous” of all flowers and its meanings and symbolisms run deep – mainly associated with love and Valentine’s Day. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was often depicted adorned with roses. Roses were said to have sprouted from her slain lover’s (Adonis) pool of blood, and also on the site of Christ’s death (again, expressing immortal love and sacrifice in the name of love). Its beauty is betrayed by its prickly thorns – thus symbolizing balance. The rose has been such a powerfully symbolic object that even its various colors have come to mean different things: Red (immortal love); White (pure love); Pink (new love); and Yellow (friendship). Above all else, the rose is emblematic of LOVE. There are several variations that have sprouted from the beautiful rose bush: Rosa, Rosie, Rosette, Roselle, Roselyn, Rosemary and Roseanne to name only a few. The name was revived in the 19th century among English speakers when naming baby girls after flowers and trees became the height of fashion. Rosa is the fancier two-syllable Latinate variation of Rose and used quite commonly throughout Europe and English-speaking nations. Rosa is also the word for “pink” in Spanish and “dew” in Bulgarian.

All About the Baby Name – Rosa



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Rosa has held a permanent position on the American female naming charts since 1880 (this is the first year the U.S. government began tracking name trends). In fact, Rosa has almost always very closely shadowed the female name Rose in terms of popularity (although Rose has generally been the more common choice). The only time Rosa surpassed Rose in popularity was between the 1970s and 1990s. Rose is now back on top, but Rosa isn’t faring too bad either. Both names have already seen their heyday which was primarily during the late 1800s and early 1900s. While Rose is showing a bit of a revival right now, Rosa is still declining in usage. Hispanic-Americans and Spanish-speakers are really the driving force behind Rosa’s usage right now. American parents seem to be opting for the more flowery and Latinate versions of names (Julia vs. Julie for example) but for some reason Rose vs. Rosa is an exception to the current trend. The minimalistic, one-syllable Rose is currently the winning pick. We wonder when the cute Rosie will return to the charts. The Rose/Rosa female names are undeniably gorgeous like their namesake flower. It’s also a great choice for African-Americans who want to celebrate the iconic Civil Rights Movement heroine Rosa Parks.

Quick Facts













Famous, Pink, Dew










Cultural References to the Baby Name – Rosa

Literary Characters


Miss Rosa Dartle is a minor but significant character in Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, David Copperfield, first published in novel form in 1850. Rosa gets the short end of Dickens’ stick – she is portrayed as a bitter, withered spinster who harbors a secret love for David Copperfield’s schoolmate, James Steerforth, whose family had taken her in as a companion. She is also described by David as dark and skinny, and he puts particular emphasis on the disfiguring scar on her lip and chin – well, guess who put the scar there – the ill-tempered, spoiled Steerforth. Yet she loves him still – such are the ways of the heart – and continues to love him all the while he is carelessly seducing the innocent Emily, and all the while he pays Rosa no more attention than he would a piece of furniture in the house. For our part, we find her refreshingly sarcastic, quick of wit and tongue, even if her love object is beyond our understanding. It is no wonder that her sense of inferiority and jealousy lead her to violent fits of verbal abuse – better that than craven acquiescence to her lot. At any rate, James Steerforth meets his righteous end, and on poor Rosa’s behalf, we cheer.

Rosa Coldfield is a character in William Faulkner’s 1936 novel, Absalom, Absalom, who initially narrates the story of Thomas Sutpen, which mirrors the lifespan of Southern plantation culture against a Gothic background. Here are intrigue, miscegenation, madness mayhem and hints of incest. Rosa is the sister of Ellen Coldfield, who marries Sutpen and bears him a son and a daughter. When Rosa’s sister dies, and Sutpen’s son has gone into self-imposed exile after killing his half brother, who has Negro blood and who wants to marry his sister (see, we told you), Sutpen proposes to Rosa. One little catch – he wants Rosa to bear him a son before he marries her, so that he may be sure of a male heir. Rosa, wisely, takes this as an insult (ya think?) and leaves him. Needless to say, this turns her into something of a bitter minded woman, and she obsesses over the issue for years to come. It is she who brings the young Quentin Compsen out to the family home to tell him their story and try to fathom their secrets. This she does, but with dire results to herself, and she dies soon after, yet another victim of that particular Gothic cult of the South.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Rosa

Popular Songs


Rosa Rio
a song by Jim Reeves

Rosa Parks
a song by Outkast [explicit]

Rosa on the Factory Floor
a song by Jethro Tull

Rosa De La Paz
a song by Amaral

Little Rosa
a song by Red Sovine

La Rosa De Los Vientos
a song by Mago De Oz

Famous People


Rosa Parks (Civil Rights Movement icon)

Children of Famous People


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

Historic Figures


Often referred to as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”, Rosa Parks began her life on February 4, 1913 as Rosa Louise McCauley in Alabama. She was part African, part Native American Indian and part Scot-Irish. As an adult, Parks was involved with the NAACP and a dedicated civil rights activist. She changed the course of history on December 1, 1955 when she refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white passenger. For this seemingly innocuous act, Rosa Parks was jailed and instantly became an iconic heroine and symbol of the Movement. As a result of her conviction, her fellow activists were inspired to conduct a one-day citywide boycott of buses in Birmingham, Alabama. The boycott was so effective that Civil Rights leaders decided to continue the strike for more than a year. In 1979, Rosa Parks was awarded the Spingarn Medal (the NAACP's highest award), and in 1996 President Clinton presented Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the U.S. executive branch. A remarkable woman indeed!