Spotlight on: Regina

Weeks ago Laura asked me to do a spotlight on Regina — I try really hard not to forget anyone’s request, even if it takes me a while to get to it. It’s been on my to-post list since then! And today’s the day, woo!

So Regina: What do you all think of when you hear it? I think of Mother Mary first and foremost — she’s always been my first association, maybe because I never knew anyone in real life with the name except for one small baby named Maria Regina, for Our Lady, so again — Mother Mary’s the big association there, for me. It’s a lot less popular than it used to be, so I imagine it might feel pretty dated to a lot of you, especially if you know women with the name.

And then there’s the pronunciation issue … how do you say it? I’ve always said reh-JEE-nah, but I understand there are some who say reh-JYE-nah, which of course rhymes with a part of the female anatomy, and even if parents are determined to have the reh-JEE-nah pronunciation, there’s still the chance that someone will mistakenly say reh-JYE-nah. (Turns out that’s the pronunciation of Saskatchewan’s capital, so … it’s definitely a possibility. Check out Abby’s profile of Regina for more info.) I can see that being the kind of thing a little girl might be mortified over (see the conversation from yesterday about names with bullying potential). (I guess a hard G is also a possibility, according to behindthename. Have you ever heard that?)

But, if that isn’t a concern, or if the intention is to put the name in the middle spot, I think this is just one of those great Catholicky Catholic names — super Marian, super traditional, *especially* paired with Maria. It’s got cute nickname potential too — certainly the familiar Gina, and also apparently Ina (Ina Garten was born just Ina though), and I think Ree could work, or Rina, or Ria.

The variants of Regina, though, are where I *think* most people of childbearing age right now would feel more comfortable: Reina/Raina/Rayna, or the Bulgarian Raya, or the French Régine or Reine (pronounced like wren, or like rain I think — the spelling Raine would make it more obvious if you prefer the latter). The Irish Ríona is quite pretty too, and I’ve also seen Regan presented as a variant of Regina, though I’m not sure how accurate that is since it was mentioned in the comments and not in the official post at BTN (and King Lear’s daughter and the character in The Exorcist ruin Regan for a lot of people, which is such a pity, because I love Regan).

What do you all think of Regina? Would you use it for a daughter? Do you know any little Reginas? What about pronunciation — how do you say it? What have you heard?

45 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Regina

  1. I love Regina! I love it’s Marianness and it makes me think of Regina King who is super duper awesome!!

    Unfortunately, I am in the “Mean Girls” generation, so using Regina would just make all my peers think of Regina George, so it’s unusable for me as a first name at least.

    I say reh-GEE-nuh. The reh-GYN-uh is just too unfortunate of a sound I think to be used.

    I think one of my friends might be Anna Regina. I’m not 100% sure, but I think I remember her talking about being named after St. Anne and Mother Mary.

    Liked by 2 people

      • For my generation (I’m in college for reference), it’s SO strong. One of the most quoted movies I think in my group of friends. We basically compare everything to it to make it relatable. Like in my Shakespeare class, we’re constantly comparing different female characters to Regina, Gretchen or Karen in our attempt to understand them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohhh, Anna Regina is so pretty!

    Growing up in the 50s and 60s, I had a very dear Friend named Regina and only ever thought to say it Re-Jee-nah, and always associated it with Mary our Queen. Nowadays, I could see myself calling her Reggey or something on those lines…more fun-like! Beautiful name…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve only heard it pronounced re-GEE-nuh, too. I agree the “GYE” sound would be unusable today! This was a namd Dh and I briefly considered for DD. There was a loved one (male) named Gino, and Regina/Gina would have been an honor name for him. Dh and I also liked Rebecca/Rebekah, but there are too many in the fam already, and we deny Regina had a similar sound (plus Dh and I totally disagreed on the spelling we wanted for Rebecca). I also love the Queen Mary connection to the namd and my mom even graduated from Salve Regina collage, so I’ve heard the name many times growing up.

    Ultimately, we nixed Regina, though. It just couldn’t beat out some of our other options. I would be thrilled to meet a little Regina!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ps. I’ve known 2 Reginas in my lifetime. Both very lovely women, and both went by the full name. It’s also worth noting another reason we nixed Regina was due to two very bad associations with “Jeannies.” I really struggled with the idea of having a “Gina” due to the similar sound. Oh, the difficulties of name associations!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you! So funny that just this morning I was feeling very drawn to Regina again and hoping that you would do the name spot light someday. I would love to use a Catholicy Catholic Marian first name and Regina fills the bill. To me it sounds distinguished and distinctive and it happens to flow nicely with our last name. But I do worry about it sounding dated and hubby tends to prefer “sweeter” sounding girls names. Look forward to reading more comments.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well that’s just weird! In a good way! I love the meaning of “queen,” it really does make it feel very distinguished for a girl. I’m loving the comments — they’re a better barometer of the general mindset!

      Like

  6. One of my son’s speech therapist was Regina nn Gina. She was in her early 30s. There was also a middle school age girl at my daughter’s summer camp last summer named Regina. I only heard the names of the girls in one unit and it was a treasure trove of Marian names! Regina, Mary, Grace, Mercedes, Regina — all in one unit!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. And currently Regina is the evil/turned good queen on “Once Upon a Time” so would be a current association.

    I have a cousin Regina (mid 50s). She was the only Regina I ever knew growing up so even then it wasn’t a popular name. She got called Reggie some in school. The other Regina I know is mid 20s, went to school with my oldest sons. She goes by either Regina or Gina. Both pronounce it reh-JEE-nah. I think it can work well inside Catholic circles because we know the association. I didn’t particularly care for it when I was growing up, but think it is really pretty now. I think the more current trendy Catholic nod to this title is now Caeli.

    I am going to see my cousin in a few weeks. I can ask her about her feelings.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. My very first dental hygienist was named Regina, so I always associated Regina and (dental) hygiene-a! The only Re-GEE-nuhs with a hard G were from Germany, but I do love that pronunciation. I really like the name in general, too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, I LOVE Regina. I’ve considered it with both of our girls but have chickened out both times. I’m just too afraid of its potential rhyme! I knew a girl in high school named Gina and people would call her “jye-nah” as a joke. I’m SURE it would happen to a Regina, too.

    Liked by 10 people

  10. This is my future daughter’s name (due in January!!) She was originally supposed to be Regina Maria (because of the Latin-ness of it) but now my husband likes Regina Mary, which is fine by me because it’s both for the Blessed Mother. Also I’m Rosemary, os Regina Mary and Rosemary together is cutesie.

    I’m already calling her Reggie and Reg (not with a hard G though, pronounced Rej)

    I never heard of the other pronunciation with the bad rhyme though. Yikes, I hope no one associates that with it!

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Haven’t talked to my cousin yet, but my mom was telling me the story of my cousin’s naming because she had been talking to my aunt. This is the late fifties and she was born in a Catholic hospital. When my cousin was born they didn’t have a name picked out. Before they could leave the hospital she had to have a name for the birth certificate and the nun suggested Regina (Regina Marie) so that is what they went with. I wondered because to me it is such a Catholic name, but my uncle was Catholic by baptism only and his wife was not. So this makes a lot of sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. My baby girl (just turned one) is Regina Caeli, obviously named for Mary Queen of Heaven! 😀 We had a different girl name chosen with our first two (which ended up being boys) but came across the Regina Caeli combo during the third pregnancy and fell in love.

    Our families have a tradition of naming their first daughter after the Blessed Mother. We love how obviously Marian “Regina Caeli” is, rather than the middle name Marie (our original pick) which for us was kind of the safe fallback. (Adorable middle name but have 4 cousins with the same one!).

    I love the nickname Reggie which I first saw in one of my favorite movies Charade, with Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant (Audrey’s character is Regina/Reggie), but it just hasn’t stuck yet. Maybe It will when she’s older, but for now we usually call her Regina or Gina.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Regina got put back on my radar screen (and my list for this little one) the other day. My oldest daughter had a friend Anna over and when her mom picked me up we ended up talking about names (happy day!). She mentioned that her other daughters were Mary C/Katherine (not sure of spelling) and Regina. Swoon! Turns out Anna’s middle name is Marie so all of her daughters had a Marian name which I thought was so lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. My newest daughter (Sylvie Regin@) is named after my grandmother (Helen Regin@), and Grandma does pronounce hers with a hard G. We chose to soften the G for Sylvie because her name is also a nod to “Salve Regina.”

    Liked by 2 people

  15. One of my best friends is named Regina and goes (exclusively) by Gina. Growing up, we also knew a large family with the oldest sister named Regina, nn Gina. (She’s probably 10 years older than me.) I love this name. I do know that in the case of the Queen of England, it’s pronounced with the long “i” (reh-JYE-nah). The other day I was talking about the show The Crown and how Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother advised her that she was no longer Elizabeth Windsor, but Elizabeth Regina. My nearly 11-year-old son gave me the side eye and was like, “WHAT?!” He thought the Queen was being referred to as Elizabeth vagina. Lololololol

    Liked by 1 person

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