Selma is a feminine name of ambiguous origin. It could be a form of Selima, which in turn is a name first recorded in a poem by Thomas Gray. One possibility is that Selima was influenced by the Arabic name Selim meaning "peaceful". The Turkish name Selma is ultimately of Arabic origin. The use of Selma in Germany and Scandinavia stems from the Ossianic poetry of James Macpherson, where it appears as a place name. Its specific popularity in Sweden is likely due to the Selma poems of Frans Michael Franzén. It was later introduced into Denmark by Swedish immigrants, after which it likely became more common due to the works of the author Selma Lagerlöf.
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