[ 1 syll. cla-re, cl-are ] The baby girl name Clare is also used as a boy name, though the use for girls is more popular. It is pronounced as KLEHR- †. Clare's language of origin is Latin and it is predominantly used in English. It is derived from the word clarus which is of the meaning 'clear, bright, famous'. Clare was used as a medieval form of Clara, itself a feminine form of the Latin Clarus; in modern use, English speakers have adopted Clara as a re-Latinized form of the accepted English name Clare.
The name was borne by various Italian saints, most notably Saint Clare of Assisi (1193-1253), founder of the Poor Clares order of nuns. Use of the first name has been reinforced by the surname Clare, which is of a different origin and is ultimately from a county name in Suffolk and the Irish Clare River. The surname was introduced to Ireland by Richard de Clare or 'Stronbow', 2nd Earl of Pembroke (-1176). In literature, Clara has appeared in various romances from the 15th century, and in Charles Dickens' novel David Copperfield (1850). In Scotland, Clara has been used as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Sorcha. The form Clarissa is borne by the heroine of Samuel Richardson's novel Clarissa (1748). The name has been used as the feminine form of Clarence despite the difference in etymology. Clare is the feminine form of the English and French Clair.
The name Clare is widely used; it has 35 forms that are used in English and foreign languages. English forms of the name include Clair, Clairine, Clar, Clara (used in Catalan, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Scandinavian, and Spanish as well), Claretha, Clari, Clarie, Clarina (used in German as well), Clarinda, Clarine, Clarissa (used in German and Italian as well), Clarisse (used in French as well), Clarita (used in Spanish as well), Claritza, Clarizza, and Lara. Other English forms include the diminutives Clarette (used in French as well), Clarice (used in French as well), Clarrie, and Clarry.
Forms used in foreign languages include Chiara (Italian), Clairette (French), Clareta (Spanish), Clarinde (German), Clarisa (Spanish), Kalea (Hawaiian), Klaartje (Dutch), Klara (Czech, German, Latvian, Polish, Russian, Scandinavian, Slavic, and Ukrainian), Klarika (Hungarian and Slavic), Klarina (German), Klarissa (German and Latinized), Klára (Czech and Hungarian), and Klárisza (Hungarian). The diminutive Claretta (Italian) is another foreign form.
See also the related categories, medieval, poor, english, latin, nuns (priestess), clear (fair), river, heroine (conqueror), bright, irish, literature, italian, dickens, saints, anglicized, and gaelic.
Clare is an all-time favorite. At present it is still a somewhat popular baby girl name, but not as much as it was in the past. The name increased in popularity from the 1980s up to the 1990s. Its usage peaked in 1998 with 0.026% of baby girls being named Clare. It had a ranking of #499 then. The baby name has slipped in popularity since then. In 2018, it ranked at #759 with a usage of 0.019%. Among the family of girl names directly related to Clare, Claire was the most commonly used. It was more commonly used than Clare by 12 times in 2018. In the last century Clare has mainly been a baby girl name. There were 4 times more baby girls than boys who were named Clare in 1941.
† Pronunciation for Clare: K as in "key (K.IY)" ; L as in "lay (L.EY)" ; EH as in "ebb (EH.B)" ; R as in "race (R.EY.S)"