Wednesday, October 24, 2012


leocadia zamora y quesada by frederico de madrazo 
Leocadia Zamora y Quesada by Frederico de Madrazo (1847)

Don't be so quick to pass up the intriguing and memorable Leocadia (lee-oh-KAY-dee-ah in Greek, lay-oh-KAH-dee-ah in Spanish), which includes international variant spellings Leokadia, Laocadia and Liocadia. Nicknames include Leo for a tomboy, Cay, Cady, Lea, Leda, Dia, and Adia. This Spanish variant of the Greek name meaning "clear, bright" from the word leukos and name Eleokadia has been used in all Spanish speaking countries, influenced by the martyred 5th century Saint Leocadia and the subjects of two famous paintings. "La Leocadia" is a famous painting by Goya, which is of Goya's house maid Leocadia Zorrilla (Weiss). She was supposedly his "last love" and the subject of a few of his paintings, although her daughter may have been in a couple of his paintings as well. Two other lesser-known namesakes bear the name, including Leocadia Alba, a Spanish actress born in 1866, and Leocadia Zamora, featured in the above picture, who was the daughter of the Regent to Havana and native to Port Prince. Ms. Zamora was pretty much famous for being beautiful, although she was well loved by those that knew her, including her suitors Washington Irving and Frederico Madrazo himself. Both men claimed Leocadia was the love of their life, but for unknown reasons she decided to give up court life for the life of a Carmelite nun.

Leocadia Zorrilla, Goya's "Last Love"

I think Theodosia, Zenobia and Leocadia would make for excellent sisters, or other Greek or Spanish names such as Eulalia, and Carnelian would be a nice brother name. Leocadia has never ranked in the U.S. White Pages claims there are currently 739 living people named Leocadia, 100% of them are older than 55, and that 1917 marked the height of its popularity. While other distinctly Spanish names are being used, such as Lluvia and Lourdes, there were no babies named Leocadia in 2011, which is quite a shame. If White Pages is correct, there haven't been any babies named Leocadia for at least 55 years. I'll go digging through the SSA list later to find out for sure.


  1. I've come across Leocadia before, and I thought it was fab then. I don't know why it's not being used... there's so much going for it!

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