What gave the baby name Lygia a boost in 1952?

The character Lygia in the movie "Quo Vadis" (1951).
Lygia from “Quo Vadis

The rare name Lygia both returned to U.S. baby name data and saw its highest-ever usage in 1952:

  • 1954: 11 baby girls named Lygia
  • 1953: 9 baby girls named Lygia
  • 1952: 16 baby girls named Lygia [peak]
  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: unlisted


Because of the Oscar-nominated 1951 movie Quo Vadis, which was set in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. The film featured a character named Lygia (played by Deborah Kerr).

Lygia (pronounced LIHJ-ee-ah) was a foreigner raised in the home of retired Roman general Aulus Plautius. Though born a princess, she’d been captured during a military campaign against her people and was legally considered a slave. Notably, Lygia was a devout Christian, but her love interest, Roman commander Marcus Vinicius, was not.

The name Lygia can be traced back to an Ancient Greek word meaning “clear-voiced” or “clear-toned.”

What are your thoughts on the name Lygia?

Sources: SSA, Quo Vadis (1951 film) – Wikipedia, Quo Vadis (1951) – TCM, Behind the Name

P.S. The title of the movie has also been used as a baby name

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