Sansa is a name many people will associate with George R.R. Martin‘s character in his epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. I’ve seen many sites list it as being derived from Sanskrit meaning “praise, admiration”; digging around, it seems the source of this derivation comes from a shortened form of Sanskrit praśaṃsā प्रशंसा meaning “praise, admiration, approval, commendation”. Considering that Sansa Stark has a younger sister named Arya, which also comes from Sanskrit meaning “noble”, it seems to deepen the possibility that Sansa may be derived from this source.
However, much of the inspiration behind A Song of Ice and Fire is based on historical fiction so it’s also possible that Sansa Stark was based, in part, on Sancia of Aragon (also known as Sancha), who was born the illegitimate daughter of King Alfonso II of Naples, and was married to Gioffre Borgia; in the books, Sansa Stark was engaged to Joffrey Lannister. The similarities between the names (Gioffre and Joffrey both derive from the same name, Geoffrey) suggests the possibility that the name Sansa is based on Sancia, which derives from Latin sanctus meaning “sacred; holy, saintly”.
Sansa is also the name of a variety of apples which was developed by researchers in Japan and New Zealand, a combination of the Akane and Gala apples. I couldn’t find any information behind where the name came from but Sansa is a Japanese name, or it could be used as a Japanese name. Hon’inbō Sansa is the name of a Buddhist priest and famous Go player (he was born Kanō Yosaburō) born in 17th century Japan; the kanji used in his name is made up of san 算 (counting, calculation) and sa 砂 (sand).
Sansa is also the name of an African musical instrument, a thumb piano, also known as mbira and kalimba.
Origin: Sanskrit, Proto-Indo-European, Japanese
- Sancia (Medieval Spanish, Italian)
- Sancha (Spanish)
- Sanctia (Late Roman)
- Sanctius (Late Roman)
- Sancho (Spanish)
- Sancio (Italian, Spanish)