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Barbara

[bahr-bruh, -ber-uh]
noun
  1. a female given name: from a Greek word meaning “foreign, exotic.”
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for barbara

Barbara

fem. proper name, from Latin, fem. of barbarus "strange, foreign, barbarous," from Greek barbaros (see barbarian). For women, unlike men, the concept of "alien" presumably could be felt as "exotic" and thus make an appealing name. Popularized as a Christian name by the legend of Saint Barbara, early 4c. martyr, whose cult was popular from 7c. The common Middle English form was Barbary. A top 10 name in popularity for girls born in the U.S. between 1927 and 1958.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper