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Meaning & Origins

From Latin, meaning ‘foreign woman’ (a feminine form of barbarus ‘foreign’, from Greek, referring originally to the unintelligible chatter of foreigners, which sounded to the Greek ear like no more than bar-bar). St Barbara has always been one of the most popular saints in the calendar, although there is some doubt whether she ever actually existed. According to legend, she was imprisoned in a tower and later murdered by her father, who was then struck down by a bolt of lightning. Accordingly, she is the patron of architects, stonemasons, and fortifications, and of firework makers, artillerymen, and gunpowder magazines.
18th in the U.S.
English, Scottish, and northern Irish: patronymic from the personal name Will, a very common medieval short form of William.
8th in the U.S.

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