Jacinta: Baby Name of the DayJacinta is a subtle floral name, rare in English.

Thanks to Shannon for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


It all starts with a mythological tragedy.

A Spartan prince named Hyacinth was sporting with Apollo. The handsome youth was struck by a discus and died. (Some say Zephyrus, the west wind, re-directed the discus out of jealousy.) As he died, a flower bloomed where drops of his blood spilled.

That’s how the hyacinth got its name. Though we’re not sure exactly which flower the ancient Greeks were thinking of – possibly larkspur, or iris, or maybe even gladiolus.

The ancient Spartans held an annual summer festival, the Hyacinthia, in his memory.


There’s a Christian martyr from the year 100 known as Saint Hyacinth, so this name has history aplenty. Another followed in the third century BC, and yet another from Poland circa 1300.

The name traveled across Europe, transformed into Jacinto, Jacenty, Giacinto, and Hyacinthe to name just a few.

Feminine forms evolved, too: Hyacinthe, Jacinthe, Giacinta, Jacintha, and Jacinta.


A sixteenth century Italian nun was known as Saint Giacinta. But this name’s biggest boost comes from Jacinta Marto, one of the children in Fátima, Portugal who witnessed apparitions of Mary.

The year was 1917. Jacinta, her brother Francisco, and their cousin Lucia tended their family’s sheep in the fields outside the town. They reported seeing an angel, and learning prayers from him. And then, about a year later, Mary appeared, telling them to pray the rosary – and to continue to return to that site. In October of 1917, a large crowd reported witnessing lights in the sky over Fatima.

In 1971, a visitor to the shrine took a Polaroid. The developed image seems to show the words “Jacinta 1972” across it.

Today it’s among the most-visited Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe. Jacinta was canonized, along with her brother.


Despite our affection for flower names, no form of hyacinth has ever caught on in the US. The flower symbolizes constancy and sincerity in the language of flowers, though, which feels like an auspicious meaning.

If you’re not Catholic, you might have heard this name in other places.

Halle Berry played Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson in 2002’s Die Another Day, opposite Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.

Or maybe you’ll think of Jacinda – with a ‘d’ – Barrett. She started out on the The Real World: London before launching a successful acting career. (Fun fact: the native Australian’s birth name was Giacinta Cordelia Arabella Luciana Rosalina Barrett.)

And it’s possible all that talk of hyacinth reminded you of 1990s British comedy Keeping Up Appearances and the comically opportunistic Hyacinth Bucket. Except even when you know Jacinta comes from the flower name, it feels plenty distinct.


Jacinta spiked in use right in the 1970s, likely inspired by the saint. It peaked in 1982, the year Pope John Paul II first visited Fatima. As for Jacinda, it rose in use along with the actor’s career.

I think the ‘d’ spelling might feel more obvious, at least in the US where it reflects our default pronunciation and mirrors Linda, Lucinda, and similar choices.

Either way, this name offers much to modern families. It has a strong nature name tie-in, nicknames like Jacie, Jazz, or Joss built-in, and a sound that fits with Isabella and Sophia and Camila.

If you’re looking for a name that marries the religious to the natural world, and remains both rare and accessible, Jacinta might be the name for you.

Do you like this name better with a ‘t’ or a ‘d’?

Originally published on February 21, 2013, this post was revised substantially and re-published on January 9, 2020.

Jacinta: Baby Name of the Day

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.

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What do you think?


  1. How do you pronounce it though. My mind is trying to go a Spanish direction with it, Ha-SEEN-ta. Ja-SIN-ta in English?

  2. Another famous bearer is Jacinda Ardern, the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. I’m surprised it hasn’t caught on! Personally I love the ‘d’ spelling since I’m a fan of several ‘inda’ names.

  3. Jacinda is the name of another incarnation of Cinderella on the TV show Once Upon A Time, in season 7. Since it was a fairly popular show (at least I thought it was), I would have figured the name would have become slightly more popular.

    1. Ooh – thanks for that, apolla13. I’ve been meaning to watch Once Upon a Time for ages, but it’s yet to make it to the top of my queue. Maybe now …

  4. I love all forms of this name, except the English Hyacinth/e! I’m a huge fan of Keeping Up Appearances & I’d never be able to call a Hyacinth/e without thinking of Mrs. Bucket answering the telephone — “The boo-KAY residence, the lady of the house speaking!” 😉

  5. There is an Australian tv personality/model Jesinta Campbell, I like this spelling as it is a different way to get to the nickname Jess with out being one of 5 Jessicas in the class. I know maybe 6 or 7 Jacintas but or me it is a bit dated for a baby born in 2013.

    1. Interesting, Evelyn – Jacinta must have had a good run in Australia. Jesinta is pretty … but my favorite way to get to Jess has to be Jessamine or Jessamy.

  6. This is the name that as a teenager I was sure I would use for any future daughters. Many years later I brought it up when we were expecting, but my husband vetoed it. I still love it, though!

    1. That’s a really good point, C – the masculine forms are just as appealing, and they’re an unconventional way to get to Jake!

  7. Oooh I love this name, but with the Spanish pronunciation. I thought it was gorgeous but my husband (the native Spanish speaker) said grandmother country-bumpkin.

      1. I have to agree that the Spanish pronunciation is gorgeous. ‘ha SEEN tah’, comes closer to sounding like Hyacinth also. I like Jacinta – it’s unique and pretty and interesting. Jacinda in nice as well. I like Jacinta better than Hyacinth, but I think Hyacinth could be rather cool as a middle name.