Its source is bonne, a French name meaning "Good girl."
Before unification with England, Scotland maintained close ties with France, a traditional enemy of the English. The term ''bonnie'' was developed by the Scots from a word borrowed from their sometime allies.
In America, use of Bonnie as a name was influenced by Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel Gone With the Wind. Scarlett and Rhett's daughter was named after the popular Confederate tune ''The Bonnie Blue Flag,'' and Americans North and South followed suit.
Campers remember the name every time they sing ''My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.'' This pleasant association counterbalances that of the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde, which portrayed (and romanticized) the real-life crimes of 1930s gangster Bonnie Parker.