Of Germanic origin, a Latinized short form of any of several girls' names derived from hild ‘battle’. Many of these are found in both Continental Germanic and Old English forms. St Hilda (614–80) was a Northumbrian princess who founded the abbey at Whitby and became its abbess. The name all but died out by the 14th century. It was strongly revived in the 19th century. Since the 1930s, however, it has again fallen from favour.