Sylvia \s(y)-lvia, syl-via\ as a girl's name is pronounced SIL-vee-ah. It is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Sylvia is "woods, forest". The Latin form Silvia was more popular for centuries until recently. Rhea Silvia was an ancient nature goddess, mother to the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. Shakespeare used the name Silvia for the love interest in his play "Two Gentlemen of Verona", probably intending to give the impression of a typical Italian girl though the name has come to be regarded as an English name.
Sylvia has 23 variant forms: Silva, Silvaine, Silvana, Silvania, Silvanna, Silvia, Silviana, Silvianne, Silvie, Sylva, Sylvana, Sylvanna, Sylvee, Sylvette, Sylviana, Sylvianne, Sylvie, Sylvina, Sylvine, Sylvonna, Sylwia, Zilvia and Zylvia.
For more information, see also the related name Xylia.