Thursday, August 4, 2016
Angelica (ann-JEL-ik-uh) is a Latin origin girl's name meaning "angelic," from the word angelicus. It has a faint hint of being dated, but not so much as Angel, and without the scream of "celebrity" that Angelina carries. Angelica is also a plant name - a Northern Hemisphere herb that grows tall with white flowers. It has been used to flavor things from cake toppings to gin, it's been used as medicine, and it's been made into the musical instrument called the fadno.
Some of you will instantly remember Angelica Pickles from the animated series Rugrats. Others will think of actress Anjelica Houston. There are other actresses with the name, including Angelica Panganiban, Angelica Domrose, and Anjelica Bridges. There's Austrian Neoclassical painter Angelica Kauffman, a founding member of the Royal Academy in London. Angelica Schuyler Church was a socialite with a village and a town named after her in New York. Angelica Rylin is a Swedish musician, and Angelica Rivera is a Mexican singer and actress. Princess Martha Louise of Norway has a daughter named Maud Angelica Behn. There are seemingly endless namesakes for the spelling Angelika as well, including actresses, politicians and writers.
Angelica is also a literary name: both the poet Boiardo and the poet Ariosto used it in the Orlando poems as the hero's love interest. Boiardo wrote Orlando Innamorato, while Ariosto wrote Orlando Furioso as a continuation of Boiardo's work. We also see Tolkien character Angelica Baggins, and an Angelica makes an appearance in Romeo and Juliet. Angelica Schuyler is a character in the musical Hamilton. Penelope Cruz plays Angelica Teach in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Used since the 18th century, Angelica currently ranks at #425 and was given to 746 girls in 2015. While it is not considered rare, it is not common. Angel, Angela and Angelina still rank above it, but Angeline is only at #951. 1996 was Angelica's most popular year in recent times. Aniela, Anielka, Aniella, Angiolina, Angelita, Anzhela and Angeli are all much more unusual. Angel, which is unisex, is currently more popular for boys.