Pet form of Cynthia or, less often, of Lucinda, now very commonly used as a given name in its own right, especially in North America. It has sometimes been taken as a short form of the name of the fairytale heroine Cinderella, which is in fact unrelated (being from French Cendrillon, a derivative of cendre ‘cinders’).
English, Scottish, and Irish: from Middle English whit ‘white’, hence a nickname for someone with white hair or an unnaturally pale complexion. In some cases it represents a Middle English personal name, from an Old English byname, Hwīt(a), of this origin. As a Scottish and Irish surname it has been widely used as a translation of the many Gaelic names based on bán ‘white’ (see Bain 1) or fionn ‘fair’ (see Finn 1). There has also been some confusion with Wight.