How popular is the baby name Pia in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Pia and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Pia.
In his book The American Language, H. L. Mencken mentioned a “woman professor in the Middle West [with] the given name of Eldarema, coined from those of her grandparents, Elkanah, Daniel, Rebecca and Mary.”
The woman he’s talking about did exist, but Mencken didn’t get her name quite right.
Elda Rema Walker was botany professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. And so was her sister — here they are, listed one after the other, in the University of Nebraska General Catalog for 1916-1917:
(Leva Belle’s names were also inspired by family — parents Levi and Isabel.)
So here’s the Elda Rema baby name formula:
- First name =
- First 2 letters of one grandfather’s name +
- First 2 letters of the other grandfather’s name
- Middle name =
- First 2 letters of one grandmother’s name +
- First 2 letters of the other grandmother’s name
Using the names of your parents and your partner’s parents, can you come up with any usable first + middle combos?
The best I can do is “Aujo Elhe.” Hopefully you can do better…
Source: H. L. Mencken. The American Language. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921.
Roberto I (1848-1907) was the last sovereign Duke of Parma and Piacenza (which was a duchy that existed until 1859, when it joined Italy).
He married twice and had a total of 24 children.
With his first wife, Princess Maria Pia of the Two Sicilies, he had a dozen children:
- Marie Louise
- Louisa Maria
- Maria Immacolata
- Maria Teresa
- Maria Pia
- Maria Beatrice
- Elia (male)
- Maria Anastasia
- Augusto/Augusta (gender unknown)
After his first wife died during childbirth, Robert married his second wife, Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal, and had a dozen more children:
- Maria della Neve Adelaide
- Maria Antonia
- Henrietta Anna
Which set of 12 do you like better?
Pia Zadora and her first husband, businessman Meshulam Riklis, welcomed a baby girl in early 1985. Their daughter was named Kady after the character Zadora played in the movie Butterfly (1982).
Source: “Pia Zadora Has Baby Girl.” Mohave Daily Miner 2 Jan. 1985: A12.
See more Oscar Week Baby Names.
If you were having a daughter, and you had to name her either Pia or Mia, which would it be?
Ingrid Bergman’s first baby, Friedel Pia, was born in 1938 in Sweden. Here’s a news item about Pia from the mid-1940s:
NAMING THE BABY: The name of Ingrid Bergman’s daughter is Pia. The P is the first initial of her father’s name which is Peter, second is from her mother’s, Ingrid, and the A is from her papa’s middle name which is Aaron. Quite an unusual method of child naming. If I had been named that way my first name would be CLM. How about you?
The details aren’t perfect — the writer forgets to mention that Pia has a first name, and her father’s names are actually spelled “Petter” and “Aron” — but the formula is correct. And I do like the question.
What would your name have been if your parents had used the Ingrid Bergman formula?
Even better, if you plug your initials and your partner’s initials into that formula, what’s the result? Is it a usable baby name?
- Durling, E.V. “Build Your Kitchen to Fit Your Wife.” Toledo Blade 18 May 1946, Peach Section.
- Spoto, Donald. Notorious: the life of Ingrid Bergman. Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2001.
A reader named Andrea is expecting her second daughter in May and she’d appreciate some name suggestions. Here’s what she writes:
My husband and I love unusual names that have a little bit of a retro feel (my first daughter is Edie). We’ve been trying to think of something fun and different but still feminine. A few we like: Camilla, Lina, Romi, Gia, Neve and Leigh.
Here are some other names I think they might like:
Which of the above do you like best with Edie? What other names would you suggest to Andrea?
A reader named Mercedes is expecting a baby girl in December:
Our 4-year-old is named Sophie. We love it because it’s cute and spunky. We initially came up with Daphne Colette for baby girl #2. But the more I think about it, the more I worry that Sophie and Daphne sound too similar. What do you think? On that note, can you think of any other names that deliver the same cute and spunky sound?
I was on the fence for a while about Sophie and Daphne…but I think I ultimately agree that they’re too much alike. As for other spunky names, how about:
(Sylvie and Phoebe are probably too similar to Sophie as well, but I left them on the list just in case.)
What other ideas do you guys have?
P.S. Mercedes is also considering the names Kendall, Julianne, Lola and Gwen.
Update – The baby has arrived! Scroll down to find out what name Mercedes chose.