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.

In Romanian, the name sounds more like dah CHA. But that doesn’t seem quite right in American English.

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.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. My name is Dacia (pronounced DAY-si-uh, not day-SEE-uh) and throughout my 20 something years, I’ve noticed the pronunciation makes such a difference. I don’t think my mother was aware of any of the name’s history, but she got the name from one of my dad’s former star high school students who later bought a house 2 doors down from my parents w/ her husband and two children.

    I guess I was lucky to have grown up w/ somewhat of a role model up the street who had my name. I was so used to having to repeat my name 3-5 times and then dealing w/ the various replies of “…what an unusual/different/beautiful/ name…” or the person giving up all together and calling me Dah-see-uh or Daisy. My neighbor was an amazingly beautiful, black, spiritual woman who gave the name a regal sound and feel (at least in my big brown eyes)

    The upside: your child will stand out and will be more likely remembered upon initial introductions as long as they don’t mind repetition and constant flubs w/ pronunciation.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Dacia – and you’re absolutely right. Unusual names absolutely work, but they do take some patience and grace …

  2. One of those names that I’ve loved forever. Since I was 11 or 12, I think (which, is forever). I also used to like Dacey more (maybe that’s how I came upon Dacia? not sure now – she was a character in a suspense novel I read. It was set in 1960s England and the character plus the novel made the name absolutely chic to me). I still picture a british redhead dressed like Twiggy or something and living her oh so modern single life. anyhow. I also love the connection to ancient Dacia, from the little bit I’ve learned about it. The car thing I could care less about. I used to play with all the pronunciations trying to decide which I liked best (I like all of them, but settled on ‘day sha’. I may have to think about the other pronunciations now that I’m thinking about it). I only once met a woman whose granddaughter was named something similar, Dasha (pronounced day zha). I thought that was pretty. Even if it sounds similar to deja, it is SO not the same as naming your child Deja. It’s a great name with a long history (if not of a person, of a people – similar to Lydia). Congrats to all the folks lucky enough to have the name! I also think Dicey is a doable nickname or Day.

  3. My name is Daisha. My mom never saw it spelled, and (being an elementary teacher) spelled the name phonetically. I have had a love/hate relationship with the uniqueness of my name (and spelling). For a while I lobbied my parents to change the spelling to Daesha b/c I thought it looked more celtic. 🙂

    Despite having the (american) phonetic spelling of Dacia, people STILL miss-pronounce my name (even after having me say it to them).

    Just some things to think about before naming YOUR daughter Dacia/Daisha.

    P.S. My sister’s name is Claudia (should you be trying to find another sibling set alternative).

    1. I knew a Daysha, and I really like the name. Daisha is cool, and sort of less obvious, but I think that’s what makes it unique. 🙂

      But whenever I see Dacia, I first see it as “DAH see ah”, I suppose because it’s similar to my name. My name is actually sorta made up, a variation (mispronounciation, actually) of the name Dorothy, so it’s completely unrelated.

      Btw, I can relate to unique name frustration! I still meet people who insist my name is Darcy. 😛