The exact origin of the name is unclear but possibly derived from the Celtic words meaning people, tribe, and woman. Saint Genevieve, known as the patron of Paris, is credited with saving the city from the Huns during the 5th century. Introduced to Britain from France during the 19th century, the name has been used steadily in both England and the United States. Canadian actress Genevieve Bujold, who's best-known for her television and film roles during the 1960s and 1970s, is a namesake.

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