If boys can be Bentley and girls can be Kia, why not this Romanian automotive appellation?
Thanks to Elta for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day: Dacia.
Should you ever go car-shopping in Bucharest, you could easily buy a Dacia. The Dacia Logan is among the more popular cars in Eastern and Central Europe; some aficionados even race them. Dacia is owned by French auto giant Renault – Renault actually helped kickstart the company in the 1960s and some early Dacias are just Renaults in different clothing.
But assuming you’ll be driving your newborn home from the hospital in the US, Dacia is likely to strike others as an intriguing rarity. Pronounce it DAY shah – perhaps the most intuitive choice – and the sound is somewhere between Arabic imports like Ayesha and nouveau coinages like Shayla.
Three syllable options includes dah SEE uh and day SEE uh. I’ll admit that I like that last one, if only because it leads to the appealing short form Dacy. Of course, Dacy either sounds like Macy and Stacey or maybe Daisy – in which case, you have spelling issues.
But let’s assume you can choose an agreed-upon pronunciation and you’re not troubled by the need to coach others. Before Dacia was a car, she was a kingdom.
Modern-day Romania and Moldova were, in Ancient Rome, referred to as Dacia. The boundaries shifted over time, but think of the area from the Black Sea, past the Danube, past the Carpathian Mountains and into the plains beyond. Herodotus mentioned the Dacians as far back as the 400s BC. The Emperor Trajan formally annexed Dacia as a Roman province in 106. It lasted into the 270s.
Several sources suggest that the Dacians take their name from a wolf god, and we do know that their armies used a wolf-headed creature on their standards. It’s a stretch to say that Dacia means wolf-like, but if you’re looking a thoroughly feminine choice that links to the four-footed creature, Dacia is more subtle than Lupe – and has none of Lupe’s Christian associations.
A handful of medieval references put Dacia far farther north. The Vatican used to refer to Scandinavia as Dacia. Medieval Denmark was sometimes called Dania in formal Latin – another possible given name option, I suppose – but I can’t explain Dacia. In any case, it didn’t stick.
Today Dacia can be found on the road, preserved in a few street names and a handful of Romanian villages and yes, as a given name. Plenty of Dacias surface in the US Census records.
Her sound is appealing, and she could offer a quiet way to honor Romanian roots, especially if you’re a generation or two removed and choices like Nadia just seem too obvious.
She’s also a great choice for parents who love the -ia ending. She’d fit right in with Sophia, Julia, Olivia, Amelia, Maria, Lydia, and Lucia.
Yugo, however, is still not an option.