Aviva shares sounds with favorites like Ava, Evelyn, and Amelia. But it’s much less common.
Thanks to Christy and Photoquilty for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
In Hebrew, this name means spring.
That makes it a great name for parents expecting a baby in May. But while Mae and June are stylish, Aviva has never cracked the US Top 1000.
It’s also almost a place name. Tel Aviv was established in 1909 – a modern city in an ancient land.
Many ideas were considered for the new city’s name, but it was ultimately inspired by a work called Altneuland by Theodor Herzl, an early Zionist. When it was translated from German to Hebrew, the translator, Nahum Sokolow, titled the work Tel Aviv.
The name came from Tel Abib, a Mesopotamian settlement mentioned in Ezekiel. It caught on because the idea of spring suggested renewal, a powerful concept for the fledgling settlement.
So while this seems like a simple nature name, there are layers of meaning.
Aviva: Pop Culture
A handful of pop culture uses have given this name a tiny boost. An early season of Charmed included a character by the name. So did 2007’s monster-croc movie Primeval. There’s an animated Aviva on The Wild Kratts and a real one on The Real Housewives of New York.
2007’s Superbad made a starlet out of Aviva Farber. She’s acted steadily in television guest spots ever since.
But none of those uses were enough to make the name catch on, despite a very on-trend sound.
One more reason this name fascinates? Like Hannah, Otto, and a handful of other words, it is spelled the same forwards and backwards – it’s a palindrome.
While that’s a fun fact, it’s probably not reason enough for parents to consider a name.
Aviva: Rarity on the Rise
Why is this name so rare in the US? Plenty of names big in Israel have never caught on in the US. Think of tailored Tamar and -et girl Ayelet. But that doesn’t mean they can’t. Rachel and Rebecca were the darlings of another generation, and now Naomi and Hannah are playground staples.
And yet, it’s sort of astonishing that Aviva remains under the radar. It shares sounds with Top Ten favorites Ava and Olivia, rising picks Evelyn and Avery, as well as all of the Vivi names.
Maybe that’s because few parents are really hearing the name – and you can’t consider a name if you don’t know that it exists. One good fictional character by the name, and this could be the next big thing.
Or maybe it’s slowly happening now. Because while the name remains rare, usage has increased steadily. From the 1970s through the early 2000s, around three or four dozen girls received the name every year. It’s slowly inched up over the last few years, though, and in 2014 there were 94 newborn Avivas.
Overall, the name remains a great options for parents interested in a rare name with an appealing meaning and an on-trend sound.
What do you think of Aviva?
This post was originally published on April 1, 2010. It was substantially revised and re-posted on May 9, 2016.
On the Wild Kratts, Aviva is Hispanic, which doesn’t preclude her from being Jewish as well, of course. But I assumed it was an Hispanic name, rather than a Hebrew one. Learned something today!
Love this name! Definitely on my short list. However, this is definitely one of those Hebrew names that I might give the side-eye to someone not Jewish using… It’s not offensive or anything, it’s just that it’s popular within the halls of Jewish day schools and Hebrew schools and summer camps. I would be very surprised to meet a non-Jewish Aviva.
I am a non-Jewish Aviva, although it was my father’s Israeli friends who gave me my name.
I love the name Aviva! So pretty and a great meaning
This is one of my top names for a girl. The biggest drawback is that I work in a pharmacy and wouldn’t want my coworkers to think we named our child after diabetic testing supplies (AccuCheck Aviva is a common brand)
Abby Jo says
I think Aviva has a beautiful sound, but in my city it is the name of a insurance company which employees a large number of the population. I can’t separate the association enough for me to consider it, but others should definitely bring this name onto the map!
Love love LOVE. We considered it as a different way to get to the nickname Vivi, but ultimately other names won out.
I came across this page as I was searching to decide on my business name. My Hebrew name is Aviva and I’ve always loved it. Might be too branded as a business name already though. Funny that Sebastiane said she could see it being a redhead’s name, because I am indeed one 🙂
I know a few girls named Aziza but I’ve never heard of Aviva until today.
I’ve only recently discovered Aviva and it was actually by searching for a way to get to Avi (for a boy). I’m a big fan of Ari, Ami and Avi. Aviva wouldn’t be my first choice for a first name, but I really like the meaning so I could definitely find a place for it.
All I can think of is PAPER TOWELS! That or a medication as others have said. I’d much rather go with Ava or Vivienne.
I love Aviva, despite the uber depressing movie entitled Palindromes in which the main character is named Aviva.
Aviva has a sassy and vibrant appeal. For some reason, I can only see this name on a redhead. I love the possible nickname options and its meaning.
Charlotte Vera says
This name is far too branded for me — if that’s the term I’m looking for! Here in Canada, Aviva is the name of a leading insurance agency and a popular natural health store/company. I would have to meet an Aviva before the word became a name for me.
Aviva appealed greatly to me as a budding child name nerd. Palindrome plus a double V? Too cool.
I know a new baby Aviv. He was born on the first day of Spring this year.
I wish I could wash away the memory of Palindromes, in which a girl named Aviva is a terribly fractured character, to say the least) because otherwise I think it a lovely name. Damn you, Todd Solondz.
British American says
Aviva is pretty, but as I was reading the description I was starting to think ‘product name.’ It sounds like it should be some kind of asthma medication or something. Maybe that’s the shoes that I own or the paper towel I’ve seen at the store – neither of which are bad associations.
I didn’t immediately notice the forwards-backwards spelling – that is pretty cool.
You did, you did! And I ignored you twice … the post has been updated, and my apologies. Because really, the writing wouldn’t happen without the suggestions. I’d have run out of ideas back in June 2008.
Aviva is neat – I love the idea of the nickname Vivi. And I’m not a huge fan of Vivian – it just seems masculine to me – though Vivienne I like a little bit more.
I know I suggested this one twice…oh well – you’re the one that gets the credit for _writing_ about the name; who cares who suggested it! 😉
I love the name Aviva. I’ve suggested it for each one of my pregnancies, always to be shot down by my husband. There’s something about those Vs I love and he can’t stand. Add to that his traditional nature, and Avivia gets the ol’ alley-oop each time. Maybe if I’d done any proper research on the name it would have been a different story, but even so – we’ve only had boy children. 😉