Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 27th column, he looks at the history of the name Gloria.
“Gloria” is Latin for “fame” or “glory.” It has the same meaning in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. The name began in Iberia. As veneration of the Virgin Mary developed in medieval Europe, she was given many titles, such as “Mary of Mercies” and “Mary of Glory” — in Spanish, “Maria de las Mercedes” and “Maria de Gloria.” By 1700, Iberian parents were naming daughters with the full titles. Soon Mercedes and Gloria became names in their own right. Gloria was often given to girls born around Easter.
Some famous Glorias are fictional — Gloria Bunker Stivic (Sally Struthers) of 1970s hit “All in the Family” and Gloria Pritchett (Sophia Vergara) of today’s “Modern Family” are two of America’s best-known sitcom characters. Jada Pinkett Smith voiced Gloria the Hippo, who falls in love with giraffe Melman, in the “Madagascar” animated film series. In 2016, Gloria ranked 550th — lower than in 1907. Its pleasant sound and positive meaning will surely make it ready for another close-up in a few decades.
Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Glorias in history!