Spotlight on: Mina

Kathryn requested a spotlight on the name Mina, which is such a sweet name — I’m happy to do so! Specifically she asked,

Could you do a spotlight on Mina (as a nickname and/or on its own)? I’m really digging the name lately, but curious about catholic/saintly connections.”

Firstly, Mina can definitely stand on its own, though I’m pretty sure it started as a nickname. Behind the Name says Mina is the “Short form of WILHELMINA and other names ending in mina,” like Giacomina (!), but also includes names that don’t end in mina as possibilities:


I can definitely see Mina being used as a nickname for Jamesina, and I assume Jacobina and Jacqueline are on the list because James, Jacob, and Jacques are the same name, even though Mina as a nickname for Jacobina and Jacqueline would be unexpected. Giacomina is also related to James, via its Italian form Giacomo. And Zhaklina’s definitely unexpected! Though I just looked it up, and it’s actually a variant of Jacqueline. I think Mina could work for Thomasina too, since, like Jamesina, it ends in ina and has that M in there. And the saintly connections there are obvious, any of the Sts. James, Jacob, and Thomas, and in fact, because James/Jacob is so well represented in this entry, I’m feeling like an argument could be made that Mina could honor Grandpa James or Uncle Jacob?

But I think Wilhelmina is the name that most people would think of as the most natural fit for Mina-as-a-nickname or variant. Wilhelmina is clunky-chic, used by such amazing namers as Natalie Hanson (though they use the nickname Willa), and Mina trims Wilhelmina down for everyday use really nicely. I wasn’t able to find any holy Wilhelminas (unless they use a different spelling?), but there are a bunch of Sts. William to choose for patron.

I could also see Mina working really well as a nickname for something like Minerva or Mary Christina, or any of the names Minnie can be used as a nickname for (for example, actress Minnie Driver was born Amelia, and Nameberry argues Minnie can be used as a nickname for any M name — so Mina too?). There’s also an Italian singer that goes by Mina, but her given name is Anna Maria. I love that!

What do you all think of Mina? Do you prefer it as a given name or a nickname, and if a nickname, what is your favorite formal name for it? Do you know any Minas, and if so what do you know of their name story?

Updated to add: How could I forget Philomena?? Such a great given name to get to the nickname Mina/Mena!



33 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Mina

  1. I have a great grandmother Wilhemina, who had a daughter Wilmma Ann, my mother’s aunt. I think I was nearly 15 before I figured out her name was not Aunt Old Man…ha ha…

    I do love both names, Wilhemina and Mina.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a classmate in high school named Minna (pronounced MEE-na, like Mina) who was Finnish by heritage. I just looked on Behind the Name to see the origin of that name, spelled that way, and it says it’s short for Wilhelmina (and has usage in Finnland)! I don’t think my erstwhile classmate was named Wilhelmina, though, so maybe it’s made its way into usage as a name in and of itself.

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  3. Love it! Thank you! I’m so glad you mentioned Minnie. It’s a great-grandmother’s given name and the main reason I’ve been looking at Mina, so I’m glad it’s an easy jump.

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  4. Philomena nn mena has been a favorite of mine. My husband, not so much 😉

    If I’m ever blessed to be able to have more children, I’m shooting for this to AT LEAST be on the list!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found that there is a 4th century Egyptian saint and martyr – St. Menas, sometimes seen as St. Mena or St. Mina. Since he is an early Christian, is recognized by both Roman and Orthodox, but is particularly revered in Coptic Churches. And in Egypt Mina is male name – for Coptic Christian boys. Still I think could very easily be used as girl name with this patronage.

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  6. We have friends who have a “Mena” – her real name is Philomene (the French version – not sure if I spelled it right). Anyway, she goes by Mena.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. i know a little french-italian girl named mina. her dad is named guillaume, but her mom was actually worried she would always think of the singer 🙂 she’s really well known in italy. nina has become super popular, so mina is a nice quirkier alternative.

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  8. I love your ideas, Kate, specially Mina for Minerva!

    I thought of Saint Philomena, too, but there is also a Saint Firmina or Fermina, celebrated on november 24th and a Saint Irmina celebrated on december 24th.

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  9. Check out the show Good Bones on TLC ( its a house rehab/ Flip type show). Its a mother daughter team that fixes houses in Indiana and the daughters name is Mina.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was going to mention this show! (It’s one of my faves.) I always assumed that Mina’s name was a nn for Christina, and had never even considered that nn for anything else. Her brother goes by Tad, which I haven’t quite figured out either, but I’m guessing Theodore.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mina for Christina’s a cute idea! I did look her up — she was born Mina Nicole, so it’s not a nickname for anything. Tad’s a traditional nickname for Thaddeus, though I could see it working for Theodore too!


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