The name Sebastian has a long history, beginning in third-century Rome. The name means "venerable" or "revered" and comes from the Latin name Sebastianus, which means "from Sebaste." (Sebaste was a city that is now Sivas, Turkey.)
The name of the town has Greek origins and is derived from the word σεβαστός, or sebastos, which means venerable. Someone who is venerable has earned respect, usually because they're wise and have integrity.
The name Sebastian is typically pronounced "suh-bas-chen." It's popular around the world, particularly in Europe, and there are variations of the pronunciation including, "seh-bas-dyan," "zeh-bas-tyan," and "seh-bahs-tee-ahn." The most common spelling of this name is Sebastian, but variants include:
The popularity of the name Sebastian in Catholic countries is linked to Saint Sebastian. Catholic tradition states that Sebastian was a Roman soldier serving under Emperor Diocletian, who regularly murdered citizens for their religious beliefs. Sebastian was discovered to be a Christian and was tied to the stake and shot with arrows.Legend says he survived under the care of Saint Irene of Rome, only to be beaten to death by Diocletian upon his return to Rome.He would later be named a saint who provides special care for archers, athletes, and martyrs as well as protection from the plague.
Sainthood isn't the only historical reference for this name. It also belonged to a king ruling Portugal in the 16th century. King Sebastian was killed in battle in a crusade. His death actually triggered a myth and an entire belief system called Sebastianism, stating that he would return to Portugal in the future as a type of messianic hero defending the monarchy.
In the United States, Sebastian first reached the top 100 baby names for boys in the year 2000, when it jumped from numbers 152 to 81 on the Social Security Administration's list. We can't help but wonder if this massive jump had something to do with actor Ryan Phillippe. (He starred as Sebastian Valmont in the teen film Cruel Intentions, released in 1999.) By 2010, Sebastian was ranked number 68, and climbed to spot 19 by 2020.
Traditionally, Sebastian is used for boys. However, this name is also given to a small number of baby girls each year. Whether used for boys or girls, Sebastian has several good nicknames, including Seb, Bastian, and Baz.
With a rich history, a melodic flow, and a hint of elegance, Sebastian is a name you can expect to hear more of in the future.
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