Getting to know the names Nicola and Nikola
Nicola is a name that carries a blend of sophistication and international charm. It’s a name you might be considering for its elegance and the way it effortlessly crosses cultural boundaries.
With roots that extend back to ancient times, Nicola has a certain timelessness. Keep reading to discover more about its history, pronunciation, and the many forms it takes around the world.
The history and origin of Nicola & Nikola
Nicola is the Italian variant of Nicholas, which in turn comes from the Greek name Nikolaos, meaning “victory of the people.”
While historically masculine in Italy, Nicola has been embraced as a feminine name in English-speaking countries, showcasing the name’s adaptability across cultures and genders.
Pronunciation and basic details
Nicola and Nikola are typically pronounced as “nee-KOH-lah” in Italian, with emphasis on the second syllable. In English-speaking countries, it is often pronounced as “NIK-uh-luh.”
In Italy, Nicola remains a popular male name, while in the UK and other English-speaking countries, it’s more commonly used as a female name.
The female name Nicola appeared sporadically in the popularity rankings in the United States during the late 20th century. According to the Social Security Administration data, Nicola first entered the top 1000 in 1968 at rank 981. It saw some fluctuation in popularity over the subsequent years, reaching its peak at rank 762 in 1972.
After this peak, Nicola’s popularity varied, still remaining within the top 1000, but generally trending downwards. It was ranked at 915 in 1971, 956 in 1973, and 969 in 1975. The last appearance of Nicola in the top 1000 was in 1978 when it was ranked at 998. Since then, Nicola has not reappeared in the top 1000 names for females in the United States. It has not ever ranked in the top 1000 names for boys, since records started to be kept in 1900.
Pop culture: Famous figures named Nicola
- Nicola Coughlan: An Irish actress known for her role in the Netflix series “Bridgerton” and the sitcom “Derry Girls.”
- Nicola Peltz Beckham: An heiress and American actress known for her roles in movies like “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” and the wife of Brooklyn Beckham.
- Nicola Sturgeon: The first female First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party.
- Nicola Adams: A retired British professional boxer who is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in the flyweight division.
- Nicola Roberts: A singer and songwriter, best known for being a member of the girl group Girls Aloud.
- Nicola Benedetti: A Scottish classical violinist who has won multiple prestigious awards, including a Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.
Famous people named Nikola
- Nikola Tesla: A Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.
- Nikola Jokic: A Serbian professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA), known for his versatile play and considered one of the best centers in the league.
- Nikola Mirotic: A Montenegrin-Spanish professional basketball player who has played in both the NBA and EuroLeague.
- Nikola Vucevic: A Montenegrin professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the NBA, recognized for his skills as a center.
- Nikola Karabatic: A French handball player who has been named the IHF World Player of the Year multiple times, and is considered one of the greatest handball players of all time.
Variations and adaptations of these names
In many European languages, especially in Slavic countries, “Nikola” is considered a more masculine version of the name. While “Nicola” in Italian is masculine and in English is often feminine, “Nikola” is typically used for boys in countries like Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Russia.
- Nicolò and Niccolò: Other Italian masculine forms, reminiscent of the historical figure Niccolò Machiavelli.
- Nicole: A common French feminine form of Nicholas, used in English and French-speaking countries.
- Nikola: Used as a masculine name in Slavic and German-speaking countries, and sometimes as a feminine name in English-speaking contexts.
- Nicolette: A French diminutive of Nicole, also used in English.
- Colette: A further diminutive of Nicole, which has become a name in its own right.
Is Nicola a good baby name for your family?
Nicola could be a perfect fit if you’re looking for a name that’s traditional yet adaptable to modern times. It offers a global appeal and can suit either a boy or a girl, depending on where you are in the world. Its versatility in spelling and pronunciation allows for a personalized touch.
Similar names you might consider include Nicolette, Natalie, or if for a boy, the more traditional Nicholas. Each of these alternatives shares a certain rhythmic quality with Nicola.