Fiona was coined by the Scottish author James MacPherson for use in his 19th century Ossianic Poems as a feminine form of the Irish mythological name Fionn, which means "white; fair." It was adopted in the late 1800s by the author William Sharpe, who wrote under the pen-name Fiona McLeod. It's from this source that the name became popular in England and Scotland, and now throughout English-speaking countries. Fiona is generally pronounced /fee OH na/.

Fíona /FEE uh na/, a separate unrelated name, is a modern form of the Old Irish name Fíne, which comes from the Latin word vinea meaning "vine."

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