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Aphra Behn (1640-1689) was one of the first English women to earn a living through her writing.
turabiannights  9/5/2006
I do not have any clue about the origin of the name but I do know there was a Aphra Behn in England some centuries ago. She is the first professional female author we know of. Here are some links with the information we have on her:

This one is particularly interesting as it offers some variants of the name, which might help to trace the etymology.
VickyG057  12/29/2007
Aphra became a name used occasionally by 17th century English Puritans and their descendants. It was coined when they misread Biblical verse Micah 1-10 in the King James Bible (“in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust”). Many Puritan parents took Aphrah to be a personal name, rather than a word meaning “dust.”

Kate  4/1/2008
This name is pretty much synonymous with Aphra Behn (I don't know of any other famous Aphras), so I don't see anyone using this name who doesn't like Restoration literature and / or drama.

That said, Aphra Behn was an admirable woman (though Victorian women condemned her for embracing the "licentious mores" of her time). She was perhaps the first woman in recorded history to make her living entirely off of her writing - writing which often challenged the status quo of her time (particularly gender roles / dynamics; e.g. when the men take liberties Florinda near the end of "The Rover," it was supposed to shock the audience).

If a little girl were named Aphra today, I would guarantee she would be the only one in her class.
erb816  11/10/2015
This name is very beautiful. I wish it were used more often. I've also read a few of Aphra Behn's works online and I've enjoyed all of them.
Buneary  12/3/2017

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