add to your listSave

Meaning & History

From Greek Σιβυλλα (Sibylla), meaning "prophetess, sibyl". In Greek and Roman legend the sibyls were ten female prophets who practiced at different holy sites in the ancient world. In later Christian theology, the sibyls were thought to have divine knowledge and were revered in much the same way as the Old Testament prophets. Because of this, the name came into general use in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was spelled both Sibyl and Sybil. It became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century, perhaps helped by Benjamin Disraeli's novel 'Sybil' (1845).
VariantsSybil, Cybill, Sybella
Other Languages & CulturesSibylle, Sybille French Sibylla, Sibylle, Sybille German Sibylla Greek Sibilla Italian Sibylla Late Greek Sibylla, Sybilla Late Roman Sébire Norman Sybilla Polish Sibylla Swedish


currently out of the US top 1000, legend, literature, medieval, Oscar Wilde characters, prophets, word names
Entry updated December 8, 2017   Contribute