Italian: from bianca ‘white’ (i.e. ‘pure’, but see also Blanche). The name was used by Shakespeare for characters in two of his plays set in an Italian context: the mild-mannered sister of Katharina, the ‘shrew’ in The Taming of the Shrew, and a courtesan in Othello. It came to prominence in the 1970s as the name of Bianca Jagger, the Nicaraguan fashion model, peace worker, and diplomat, who was for a time married to the rock singer Mick Jagger. Since then it has been used increasingly in the English-speaking world.