Beatrice is a female name, originally from Italian
, meaning "blessed woman." It is pronounced bay-a'-tree-chay
in Italian and bee'-a-tris
. The name originally came from the late Latin
" (made famous by early Christian martyr Saint Beatrix
), which itself was a bastardized fusion of the Latin terms viatrix
, "female traveller," and beatus
The most famous Beatrice, after whom all later Beatrices are named, was Dante's great love and muse Beatrice Portinari. Other notable Beatrices include:
- Sixteenth century Italian tragic heroine Beatrice Cenci, imprisoned by her own father and then beheaded for complicity in his murder, later immortalized in prose and verse.
- Beatrice, the sharp-witted antagonist to Benedick in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
- Princess Beatrice, one of Queen Victoria's daughters.
- English socialist, economist, and reformer Beatrice Webb.
- Beatrice, the all-female Hungarian rock band.
- American actress Beatrice Arthur, who starred in the popular 1980s TV show Golden Girls.
- Beatrice, Lemony Snicket's lost love, who once wrote a 200-page book explaining why it was impossible for her to marry him.
- Princess Beatrice of York, teenaged granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and currently fifth in the line of succession to the British crown.
- Beatrice, Nebraska, and its most famous offspring, Beatrice Foods, which was founded there in 1894, and was at one time the largest black-owned corporation in the United States with annual sales of $12 billion in the 1980s before falling prey to the leveraged buyout craze and being sold off piece by piece to other corporations, most notably ConAgra.