From the feminine form of Latin Virginius (more correctly Verginius; compare Virgil), a Roman family name. It was borne by a Roman maiden killed, according to legend, by her own father to spare her the attentions of an importunate suitor. It was not used as a given name in the Middle Ages. It was bestowed on the first American child of English parentage, born at Roanoke, Virginia, in 1587 and has since remained in constant, if modest, use. Both child and province were named in honour of Elizabeth I, the ‘Virgin Queen’. Among modern influences on the choice of the name has been the actress Virginia McKenna (b. 1931).