LAIMA f Lithuanian, Latvian, Baltic Mythology
Means "luck" in Latvian and Lithuanian. This was the name of the Latvian and Lithuanian goddess of fate, luck, pregnancy and childbirth. She was the sister of the goddesses Dekla and Karta, who were also associated with fate.
LAIUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Λαιος (Laios)
, which is of unknown meaning. This was the name of a king of Thebes in Greek mythology, the husband of Jocasta
. Due to a prophecy that he would be killed by his son, Laius left his infant Oedipus
for dead. The boy survived but was ignorant of his true parentage. Years later he unwittingly killed Laius in a quarrel on the road.
LAKSHMANA m Hinduism
Means "having lucky marks" in Sanskrit. In the Hindu epic the 'Ramayana' he is the trusted companion of the hero Rama
, accompanying him into exile.
LAKSHMI f & m Hinduism, Indian, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Hindi
Means "sign, mark" in Sanskrit. This is the name of the Hindu goddess of prosperity, good luck, and beauty. She is the wife of Vishnu
and her symbol is the lotus flower, with which she is often depicted.
LAMIA (2) f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek λαιμος (laimos)
"throat". In Greek mythology this is the name of a queen of Libya who was a mistress of Zeus
, being jealous, kills Lamia's children, causing her to go mad and transform into a monster that hunts the children of others.
LARISA f Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly, which meant "citadel". In Greek legends, the nymph Larisa was either a daughter or mother of Pelasgus, the ancestor of the mythical Pelasgians. This name was later borne by a 4th-century Greek martyr who is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Church. The name (of the city, nymph and saint) is commonly Latinized as Larissa
, with a double s
LARUNDA f Roman Mythology
Possibly connected to Greek λαλεω (laleo)
"to talk", or the Latin term Lares
referring to minor guardian gods. In Roman mythology Larunda or Lara was a water nymph who was overly talkative. She revealed to Juno that her husband Jupiter was having an affair with Juturna, so Jupiter had Larunda's tongue removed. By the god Mercury she had two children, who were Lares.
LAUMA f Latvian, Baltic Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Latvian mythology this is the name of a forest spirit sometimes associated with childbirth and weaving.
LAVINIA f Roman Mythology, Romanian
Meaning unknown, probably of Etruscan origin. In Roman legend Lavinia was the daughter of King Latinus, the wife of Aeneas
, and the ancestor of the Roman people. According to the legend Aeneas named the town of Lavinium in honour of his wife.
LEANDER m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Λεανδρος (Leandros)
, derived from λεων (leon)
meaning "lion" and ανηρ (aner)
meaning "man" (genitive ανδρος
). In Greek legend Leander was the lover of Hero. Every night he swam across the Hellespont to meet her, but on one occasion he was drowned when a storm arose. When Hero saw his dead body she threw herself into the waters and perished.
LECH m Polish, Slavic Mythology
From the name of the Slavic tribe the Lendians, called the Lędzianie
in Polish. According to Slavic legend this was the name of the founder of the Polish people. A famous bearer was the Polish president Lech Wałęsa (1943-).
LEMMINKÄINEN m Finnish Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly related to Finnish lempi
"love". In the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala' this is the name of an arrogant hero. After he was killed his mother fetched his body from the River of Death and restored him to life. He is sometimes identified with the god Ahti
LIGEIA f Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λιγυς (ligys)
meaning "clear-voiced, shrill, whistling". This was the name of one of the Sirens in Greek legend. It was also used by Edgar Allan Poe in his story 'Ligeia' (1838).
LILITH f Near Eastern Mythology, Judeo-Christian Legend
Derived from Akkadian lilitu
meaning "of the night". This was the name of a demon in ancient Assyrian myths. In Jewish tradition she was Adam
's first wife, sent out of Eden and replaced by Eve
because she would not submit to him. The offspring of Adam (or Samael
) and Lilith were the evil spirits of the world.
LLEU m Welsh Mythology
Probably a Welsh form of LUGUS
. In the Mabinogion, Lleu Llaw Gyffes is the son of Arianrhod
. He was raised by his uncle Gwydion
, who helped him overcome the curses that his mother placed upon him.
LLYR m Welsh Mythology
Means "the sea" in Welsh. This was the name of the Welsh god of the sea. He possibly forms the basis for the legendary King Lear of the Britons.
LÓEGAIRE m Irish Mythology, Ancient Irish
Means "calf herder", derived from Irish loagh
"calf". In Irish mythology Lóegaire Búadach was an Ulster warrior. He saved the life of the poet Áed
, but died in the process. This was also the name of several Irish high kings.
LOKI m Norse Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly derived from the Indo-European root *leug
meaning "to break". In Norse legend Loki was a trickster god associated with magic and fire. Over time he became more and more evil, and he was eventually chained to a rock by the other gods.
LORELEI f Germanic Mythology
From a Germanic name meaning "luring rock". This is the name of a rock headland on the Rhine River. Legends say that a maiden named the Lorelei lives on the rock and lures fishermen to their death with her song.
LOUHI f Finnish Mythology
Variant of LOVIATAR
. In Finnish mythology Louhi was another name of the death goddess Loviatar. She appears in the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala' as a witch ruling the northern area known as Pohjola. She is the primary antagonist to the hero Väinämöinen
LUCIFER m Judeo-Christian Legend
Means "bringing light", derived from Latin lux
"light" and ferre
"to bring". In Latin this name originally referred to the morning star, Venus, but later became associated with the chief angel who rebelled against God's rule in heaven (see Isaiah 14:12). In later literature, such as the 'Divine Comedy' (1321) by Dante and 'Paradise Lost' (1667) by John Milton, Lucifer became associated with Satan himself.
LUCINA f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin lucus
meaning "grove", but later associated with lux
"light". This was the name of a Roman goddess of childbirth.
LUCRETIA f Ancient Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of the Roman family name Lucretius
, possibly from Latin lucrum
"profit, wealth". In Roman legend Lucretia was a maiden who was raped by the son of the king of Rome. This caused a great uproar among the Roman citizens, and the monarchy was overthrown. This name was also borne by a saint and martyr from Spain.
LUGH m Irish Mythology
Probably an Irish form of LUGUS
. In Irish mythology Lugh was a divine hero who led the Tuatha De Danann against the Fomorians who were led by his grandfather Balor. Lugh killed Balor by shooting a stone into his giant eye.
LUGHAIDH m Irish, Irish Mythology
Derived from the name of the Irish god LUGH
. This was the name of several characters in Irish legend, including the king Lughaidh mac Con.
LUGUS m Celtic Mythology
Probably from early Celtic meaning "light", ultimately from the Indo-European root *leuk
"light, brightness". This was the name of a Celtic (Gaulish) god of commerce and craftsmanship, who was equated by the Romans with Mercury
. He probably forms the basis for the characters and names of Lugh
(Irish) and Lleu
LYSSA (2) f Greek Mythology
Means "rage, fury, anger" in Greek. In Greek mythology Lyssa is a goddess associated with uncontrolled rage.
MADHAVA m Sanskrit, Hinduism
Means "vernal, of the springtime" in Sanskrit. This is an epithet of several Hindu gods. It was also the name of a 14th-century Hindu scholar.
MAEVE f Irish, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Medb
meaning "intoxicating". In Irish legend this was the name of a warrior queen of Connacht. Her fight against Ulster and the hero Cúchulainn
is told in the Irish epic 'The Cattle Raid of Cooley'.
MAIA (2) f Roman Mythology
Means "great" in Latin. This was the name of a Roman goddess of spring, the wife of Vulcan
. The month of May is named for her.
MANOJA m Hinduism
Means "born of the mind", from Sanskrit मनस् (manas)
meaning "mind, intellect, spirit" and ज (ja)
meaning "born". This is another name of the Hindu god Kama
MANU (1) m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Kannada
Means "thinking, wise" in Sanskrit. In Hindu belief this is a title of Svayambhuva, the progenitor of the human race, as well as several of his descendants.
MARAMA f Polynesian Mythology
Means "moon" in Maori. In Maori and other Polynesian mythology she was the goddess of the moon and death.
MARDUK m Near Eastern Mythology
Possibly from Sumerian amar-Utu
meaning "calf of UTU
". In Babylonian mythology he was the chief god, presiding over heaven, light, sky, battle, and fertility. After killing the dragon Tiamat
, who was an old enemy of the gods, he created the world and sky from the pieces of her body.
MARI (3) f Mythology
Possibly from Basque emari
"donation" or amari
"mother". This was the name of a goddess of the weather and fertility in Basque mythology.
MARS m Roman Mythology
Possibly related to Latin mas
"male" (genitive maris
). In Roman mythology Mars was the god of war, often equated with the Greek god Ares
. This is also the name of the fourth planet in the solar system.
MATH m Welsh Mythology
Possibly from Celtic matu
meaning "bear". According to the Mabinogion, Math ap Mathonwy was a king of Gwynedd and a magician. He was the uncle of the hero Gwydion
MAUI m & f Hawaiian, Polynesian Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Hawaiian mythology Māui was a trickster who created the Hawaiian Islands by having his brothers fish them out of the sea. He was also responsible for binding the sun and slowing its movement.
MAYA (1) f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi
Means "illusion" in Sanskrit. In Buddhist tradition this is the name of the mother of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha). This is also another name of the Hindu goddess Durga
MEDEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Georgian
From Greek Μηδεια (Medeia)
, possibly derived from μηδομαι (medomai)
"to think, to plan". In Greek mythology Medea was a sorceress from Colchis (modern Georgia) who helped Jason
gain the Golden Fleece. They were married, but eventually Jason left her for another woman. For revenge Medea slew Jason's new lover and also had her own children by Jason killed.
MEDUSA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Μεδουσα (Medousa)
, which was derived from μεδω (medo)
meaning "to protect, to rule over". In Greek myth this was the name of one of the three Gorgons, ugly women who had snakes for hair. She was so hideous that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone, so the hero Perseus
had to look using the reflection in his shield in order to slay her.
MEGAERA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Μεγαιρα (Megaira)
which was derived from μεγαιρω (megairo)
"to grudge". This was the name of one of the Furies or Ερινυες (Erinyes)
in Greek mythology. The name is used as a word in several European languages to denote a shrewish, ill-tempered woman (for example, French mégère
and Italian megera
MELCHIOR m Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend
Derived from Semitic roots meaning "king city". This was a name traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who were said to have visited the newborn Jesus
MELETE f Greek Mythology
Means "practice, exercise" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the original three muses, the muse of meditation.
MELIA f Greek Mythology
Means "ash tree" in Greek, a derivative of μελι (meli)
"honey". This was the name of a nymph in Greek myth, the daughter of the Greek god Okeanos.
MELISSA f English, Dutch, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus
in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
MELPOMENE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek μελπω (melpo)
meaning "to sing, to celebrate with song". This was the name of one of the nine Muses in Greek mythology, the muse of tragedy.
MELQART m Near Eastern Mythology
From Phoenician mlk
"king" and qrt
"city". This was the name of a Phoenician god worshipped especially in the city of Tyre.
MELUSINE f Mythology
Meaning unknown. In European folklore Melusine was a water fairy who turned into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. She made her husband, Raymond of Poitou, promise that he would never see her on that day, and when he broke his word she left him forever.
MENELAUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Μενελαος (Menelaos)
, derived either from μενω (meno)
meaning "to stay, to wait" or μενος (menos)
meaning "mind, strength, force" combined with λαος (laos)
meaning "the people". In Greek legend he was a king of Sparta and the husband of Helen
. When his wife was taken by Paris
, the Greeks besieged the city of Troy in an effort to get her back. After the war Menelaus and Helen settled down to a happy life.
MENTOR m Greek Mythology
Possibly related to Greek μενος (menos)
meaning "mind, strength, force". In Greek legend Mentor was the son of Alkimos. When Odysseus
left to fight in the Trojan War he entrusted Mentor with the care of his palace and the guardianship of his son Telemachos. When the goddess Athena
visited Telemachos she took the guise of Mentor.
MERCURY m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Mercurius
, probably derived from Latin mercari
"to trade" or merces
"wages". This was the name of the Roman god of trade, merchants, and travellers, later equated with the Greek god Hermes
. This is also the name of the first planet in the solar system.
MIDAS m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek myth Midas was a king of Phrygia in Asia Minor. He was granted a wish by the god Dionysos
- that everything he touch be turned to gold.
MIELIKKI f Finnish Mythology
Derived from Finnish mieli
"mind, mood". This was the name of a Finnish goddess of forests and hunting. By some accounts she is the wife of the god Tapio.
MINERVA f Roman Mythology, English
Possibly derived from Latin mens
meaning "intellect", but more likely of Etruscan origin. Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and war, approximately equivalent to the Greek goddess Athena
. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since after the Renaissance.
MINOS m Greek Mythology
Possibly from a Cretan word or title meaning "king". This was the name of a king of Crete in Greek mythology. He was the son of Zeus
. Because Minos had refused to sacrifice a certain bull to Poseidon
, the god had caused his wife Pasiphaë to mate with the bull, which produced the half-bull creature called the Minotaur. Minos had Daedalus
construct the Labyrinth to house the beast, but it was eventually slain by Theseus
MITHRA m Persian Mythology
Derived from an Indo-Iranian root *mitra
meaning "oath, alliance, friend". In Persian mythology he was a god of light and friendship, the son of the supreme god Ahura Mazda
. Worship of him eventually spread outside of Persia, where it was known as Mithraism.
MITRA (1) m & f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi
Means "friend" in Sanskrit, a cognate of MITHRA
. This is a transcription of both the feminine form मित्रा
and the masculine form मित्र
, which is the name of a Hindu god of friendship and contracts who appears in the Rigveda.
MNEME f Greek Mythology
Means "memory" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the original three muses, the muse of memory.
MNEMOSYNE f Greek Mythology
Means "remembrance" in Greek. In Greek mythology Mnemosyne was a Titan goddess of memory. She was the mother by Zeus
of the nine Muses.
MOHANA m & f Hinduism
Means "bewitching, infatuating, charming" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the masculine form मोहन
(an epithet of the Hindu gods Shiva
) and the feminine form मोहना
MOKOSH f Slavic Mythology
Derived from Slavic mok
meaning "wet, moist". Mokosh was a Slavic goddess of weaving, women, water and fertility. She was often depicted as a woman with a large head and long arms.
MORANA f Slavic Mythology, Croatian
From a Slavic root meaning "death, plague". In Slavic mythology this was the name of the goddess of winter and death.
MORDRED m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From Welsh Medraut
, meaning uncertain. In Arthurian legend Mordred was the illegitimate son (in some versions nephew) of King Arthur
. Mordred first appears briefly (as Medraut
) in the 10th-century 'Annales Cambriae', but he was not portrayed as a traitor until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth. While Arthur is away he seduces his wife Guinevere
and declares himself king. This prompts the battle of Camlann, which leads to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur.
MORPHEUS m Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek μορφη (morphe)
meaning "shape", referring to the shapes seen in dreams. In Greek mythology Morpheus was the god of dreams.
MORRIGAN f Irish Mythology
Derived from Irish Mór Ríoghain
meaning "great queen". In Irish myth she was a goddess of war and death who often took the form of a crow.
MOT m Near Eastern Mythology
Means "death" in Ugaritic. This was the name of the Ugaritic god of death and the lord of the netherworld. He was a son of the supreme god El
MUIRGEN f Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "born of the sea" in Gaelic. In Irish legend this was the name of a woman (originally named Líban
) who was transformed into a mermaid. After 300 years she was brought to shore, baptized, and transformed back into a woman.
MUKESHA m Hinduism
Means "ruler of Muka" in Sanskrit. This is another name of the Hindu god Shiva
, given to him because he killed Muka, a demon in the form of a wild boar.
MURUGAN m Hinduism, Tamil
Possibly from a Dravidian word meaning "youth". This is the name of a Tamil war god identified with Skanda
NABU m Near Eastern Mythology
Possibly from a Semitic root meaning "to announce". This was the name of an Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom, letters and writing.
NAENIA f Roman Mythology
Means "incantation, dirge" in Latin. This was the name of the Roman goddess of funerals.
NAGENDRA m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Telugu
Means "lord of snakes" from Sanskrit नाग (naga)
meaning "snake" (also "elephant") combined with the name of the Hindu god INDRA
, used here to mean "lord". This is another name for Vasuki, the king of snakes, in Hindu mythology.
NAIRYOSANGHA m Persian Mythology
Derived from Avestan nairyo
"male" and sangha
"word". Nairyosangha was a Zoroastrian Yazata (or angel) who served as a messenger for Ahura Mazda.
NALA m Hinduism
Means "stem" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a king of the Nishadha people in the Hindu epic the 'Mahabharata'.
NANABOZHO m New World Mythology
Means "my rabbit" in Ojibwe. In Anishinaabe mythology Nanabozho (also called Wenabozho
) is the name of a trickster spirit.
NANDA m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Tamil
Means "joy" in Sanskrit. In Hindu texts this is a name of both Vishnu
and the foster-father of Krishna
, as well as various other characters. In Buddhist texts this is the name of a god and a disciple of Buddha. Nanda was also the name of a 4th-century BC king who founded a dynasty in Magadha in India.
NAOISE m Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology
Meaning unknown, presumably of Gaelic origin. In Irish legend he was the young man who eloped with Deirdre
, the beloved of Conchobhar
the king of Ulster. Conchobhar eventually succeeded in having Naoise murdered, which caused Deirdre to die of grief.
NEASA f Irish, Irish Mythology
Meaning uncertain. In Irish legend she was the mother of Conchobhar
, king of Ulster. According to some versions of the legend she was originally named Assa
meaning "gentle", but was renamed Ni-assa
"not gentle" after she sought to avenge the murders of her foster fathers.
NECHTAN m Irish Mythology, Ancient Celtic
Celtic name of uncertain meaning, possibly meaning "damp" (cognate with NEPTUNE
). In Irish mythology Nechtan was the husband of Boand, the goddess of the River Boyne. This name was also borne by the 5th-century Saint Nectan of Hartland in Devon, who was supposedly born in Ireland. It was also the name of several kings of the Picts.
NEMESIS f Greek Mythology
Means "distribution of what is due, righteous anger" in Greek. In Greek mythology Nemesis was personification of vengeance and justice.
NEPHELE f Greek Mythology
From Greek νεφος (nephos)
meaning "cloud". In Greek legend Nephele was created from a cloud by Zeus
, who shaped the cloud to look like Hera
in order to trick Ixion, a mortal who desired her. Nephele was the mother of the centaurs by Ixion, and was also the mother of Phrixus and Helle by Athamus.
NEPHTHYS f Egyptian Mythology (Hellenized)
Greek form of Egyptian Nebt-Het
meaning "lady of the house", derived from Egyptian nbt
"lady" and hwt
"house". This was the name of an Egyptian goddess associated with the air, death and mourning. She was wife of the desert god Seth
NEPTUNE m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Neptunus
, which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to the Indo-European root *nebh
"wet, damp, clouds". Neptune was the god of the sea in Roman mythology, approximately equivalent to the Greek god Poseidon
. This is also the name of the eighth planet in the solar system.
NEREUS m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Derived from Greek νηρος (neros)
meaning "water". In Greek myth this was the name of a god of the sea, the father of the Nereids. It is mentioned briefly in the New Testament, belonging to a Christian in Rome. This was also the name of a Roman saint of the 1st century, a member of the army, who was martyred with his companion Achilleus because they refused to execute Christians.
NERTHUS f Germanic Mythology
Latinized form of Nerþuz
, the Germanic (feminine) equivalent of Njörðr
). Nerthus was a Germanic goddess of fertility as described by the Roman historian Tacitus in the 1st century.
NESTOR m Greek Mythology, Russian
Means "homecoming" in Greek. In Homer
's 'Iliad' this was the name of the king of Pylos, famous for his great wisdom and longevity, who acted as a counselor to the Greek allies.
NIKEPHOROS m & f Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "carrying victory" from Greek νικη (nike)
"victory" and φερω (phero)
"to carry, to bear". This name was borne by several Byzantine emperors, including the 10th-century Nikephoros II Phokas. Besides being a masculine personal name, it was also a title borne by the goddess Athena
NINA (2) f Near Eastern Mythology
Meaning unknown. This was the name of a Babylonian and Assyrian fertility goddess who was identified with Ishtar
. She was the patron goddess of the city of Nineveh. Her name was written using a character representing a fish surrounded by a character representing a house.
NIOBE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Niobe was the daughter of Tantalos, a king of Asia Minor. Because she boasted that she was superior to Leto
, Leto's children Apollo
killed her 14 children with poison arrows. In grief, Niobe was turned to stone by Zeus
NJORD m Norse Mythology, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From Old Norse Njörðr
, which was possibly derived from the Indo-European root *ner
meaning "strong, vigourous". Njord was the Norse god of the sea, sailing, fishing and fertility. With his children Freyr
he was a member of the Vanir.
NOKOMIS f New World Mythology
Means "my grandmother" in Ojibwe. In Anishinaabe mythology this is the name of Nanabozho
's grandmother. It was used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the grandmother of Hiawatha
in his poem 'The Song of Hiawatha' (1855).
NONA (1) f Roman Mythology
Derived from Latin nonus
meaning "ninth", referring to the nine months of pregnancy. This was the name of a Roman goddess of pregnancy. She was also one of the three Fates (or Parcae).
NUADA m Irish Mythology
Possibly means "protector" in Celtic. In Irish myth he was an Irish god and a leader of the Tuatha De Danann. He was killed in battle against the Fomorii.
NYX f Greek Mythology
Means "night" in Greek. This was the name of the Greek goddess of the night, the daughter of Khaos and the wife of Erebos.
ODIN m Norse Mythology, English (Modern)
Anglicized form of Old Norse Óðinn
which was derived from óðr
"inspiration, rage, frenzy". It ultimately developed from the early Germanic *Woðanaz
. In Norse mythology Odin was the highest of the gods, presiding over art, war, wisdom and death. He resided in Valhalla, where warriors went after they were slain.
ODYSSEUS m Greek Mythology
Perhaps derived from Greek οδυσσομαι (odyssomai)
"to hate". In Greek legend Odysseus was one of the Greek heroes who fought in the Trojan War. In the 'Odyssey' Homer
relates Odysseus's misadventures on his way back to his kingdom and his wife Penelope
OEDIPUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Οιδιπους (Oidipous)
, meaning "swollen foot" from οιδεω (oideo)
"to swell" and πους (pous)
"foot". In Greek mythology Oedipus was the son of the Theban king Laius
and his wife Jocasta
. Laius received a prophesy that he would be killed by his son, so he left the newborn to die of exposure. Oedipus was however rescued and raised in the home of the Corinthian king Polybus. After he had grown and learned of the same prophesy, Oedipus left Corinth so that he would not be a danger to Polybus, who he assumed was his father. On the road to Delphi he chanced upon his real father Laius and slew him in a petty disagreement, thus fulfilling the prophecy. He then correctly answered the Sphinx's riddle, winning the now vacant throne of Thebes and marrying the widowed queen Jocasta, his own mother. Years later they learned the truth of their relationship, prompting Jocasta to commit suicide and Oedipus to blind himself.
OENONE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek Οινωνε (Oinone)
, derived from οινος (oinos)
meaning "wine". In Greek mythology Oenone was a mountain nymph who was married to Paris before he went after Helen.
OISÍN m Irish, Irish Mythology
Means "little deer", derived from Irish os
"deer" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend Oisín was a warrior hero and a poet, the son of Fionn
OKEANOS m Greek Mythology
From the name of the river or body of water thought by the ancient Greeks to surround the Earth. In Greek mythology Okeanos was the Titan who personified this body of water.
ORION m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, but possibly related to Greek ‘οριον (horion)
"boundary, limit". Alternatively it may be derived from Akkadian Uru-anna
meaning "light of the heavens". This is the name of a constellation, which gets its name from a legendary Greek hunter killed by a scorpion sent by Gaia
ORPHEUS m Greek Mythology
Perhaps related to Greek ορφνη (orphne)
meaning "the darkness of night". In Greek mythology Orpheus was a poet and musician who went to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife Eurydice. He succeeded in charming Hades with his lyre, and he was allowed to lead his wife out of the underworld on the condition that he not look back at her until they reached the surface. Unfortunately, just before they arrived his love for her overcame his will and he glanced back at her, causing her to be drawn back to Hades.
ORVAR m Swedish, Norse Mythology
Means "arrow" in Old Norse. Orvar Odd is a legendary Norse hero who is the subject of a 13th-century Icelandic saga.
OSCAR m English, Irish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, French, Irish Mythology
Possibly means "deer friend", derived from Gaelic os
"deer" and cara
"friend". Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English name OSGAR
or its Old Norse cognate ÁSGEIRR
, which may have been brought to Ireland by Viking invaders and settlers. In Irish legend Oscar was the son of the poet Oisín
and the grandson of the hero Fionn
mac Cumhail.... [more]
OSIRIS m Egyptian Mythology (Hellenized)
Greek form of the Egyptian Asar
which is of unknown meaning. In Egyptian mythology Osiris was the god of the dead and the judge of the underworld. He was slain by his brother Seth
, but revived by his wife Isis
OURANIA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ουρανιος (ouranios)
meaning "heavenly". In Greek mythology she was the goddess of astronomy and astrology, one of the nine Muses.
OWAIN m Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Probably a Welsh form of EUGENE
, though it might be derived from Welsh eoghunn
meaning "youth". This was the name of several figures from Welsh history and mythology. In Arthurian legend Owain (also called Yvain
in French sources) was one of the Knights of the Round Table, the son of King Urien and husband of the Lady of the Fountain. His character was based on that of Owain ap Urien, a 6th-century Welsh prince who fought against the Angles. This name was also borne by Owain Glyndwr, a 14th-century leader of Welsh resistance against English rule.
PADMA f & m Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu
Means "lotus" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form पद्मा
and the masculine form पद्म
. According to Hindu tradition a lotus holding the god Brahma
arose from the navel of the god Vishnu
. The name Padma is used in Hindu texts to refer to several characters, including the goddess Lakshmi
and the hero Rama
PADMAVATI f Hinduism
Means "resembling lotuses", derived from the Sanskrit word पद्म (padma)
meaning "lotus" combined with वती (vati)
meaning "resemblance". This is the name of the foster-mother of the god Hindu Skanda.
PALLAS (1) f Greek Mythology
Probably derived from a Greek word meaning "maiden". In Greek mythology this was the name of a friend of the goddess Athena
. Athena accidentally killed her, and subsequently took the name Pallas in honour of her friend.
PALLAS (2) m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek παλλω (pallo)
"to brandish". In Greek mythology this was the name of a Titan and several other characters. It was also the name of a female character, though her name is probably from a different source (see Pallas
PAN m Greek Mythology
Derived from a Greek word meaning "shepherd". In Greek mythology Pan was a half-man, half-goat god associated with shepherds, flocks and pastures.
PANDORA f Greek Mythology
Means "all gifts", derived from a combination of Greek παν (pan)
"all" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". In Greek mythology Pandora was the first mortal woman. Zeus
gave her a jar containing all of the troubles and ills that mankind now knows, and told her not to open it. Unfortunately her curiosity got the best of her and she opened it, unleashing the evil spirits into the world.
PANKAJA m Hinduism
Means "born of mud", referring to the lotus flower, derived from Sanskrit पङ्क (panka)
meaning "mud" and ज (ja)
meaning "born". This is another name of the Hindu god Brahma
PAPA f Polynesian Mythology
Means "earth" in Maori. In Maori and other Polynesian mythology Papa or Papatuanuku was the goddess of the earth and the mother of many of the other gods. She and her husband Rangi
, the god of the sky, were locked in a tight embrace. Their children decided to separate them, a feat of strength accomplished by the god Tane
PARIS (1) m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology he was the Trojan prince who kidnapped Helen
and began the Trojan War. Though presented as a somewhat of a coward in the 'Iliad', he did manage to slay the great hero Achilles
. He was himself eventually slain in battle by Philoctetes.
PAX f Roman Mythology
Means "peace" in Latin. In Roman mythology this was the name of the goddess of peace.
PEGASUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Πηγασος (Pegasos)
, possibly either from πηγος (pegos)
"strong" or πηγαιος (pegaios)
"from a water spring". In Greek mythology Pegasus was the winged horse that sprang from the blood of Medusa after she was killed by Perseus
. There is a constellation in the northern sky named after the horse.
PELE f Polynesian Mythology
Meaning unknown. This was the name of the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire who is said to live in Kilauea.
PENELOPE f Greek Mythology, English
Possibly derived from Greek πηνελοψ (penelops)
, a type of duck. Alternatively it could be from πηνη (pene)
"threads, weft" and ωψ (ops)
"face, eye". In Homer
's epic the 'Odyssey' this is the name of the wife of Odysseus
, forced to fend off suitors while her husband is away fighting at Troy. It has occasionally been used as an English given name since the 16th century.
PEREDUR m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Possibly means "hard spears" in Welsh. This was the name of several figures from Welsh mythology. It was later used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Arthurian tales. The character of Percival
was probably based on him.
PERSEPHONE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, probably of Pre-Greek origin, but perhaps related to Greek περθω (pertho)
"to destroy" and φονη (phone)
"murder". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Demeter
. She was abducted to the underworld by Hades
, but was eventually allowed to return to the surface for part of the year. The result of her comings and goings is the changing of the seasons.
PERSEUS m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek περθω (pertho)
meaning "to destroy". In Greek mythology Perseus was a hero who was said to have founded the ancient city of Mycenae. He was the son of Zeus
. Mother and child were exiled by Danaë's father Acrisius, and Perseus was raised on the island of Seriphos. The king of the island compelled Perseus to kill the Gorgon Medusa
, who was so ugly that anyone who gazed upon her was turned to stone. After obtaining winged sandals and other tools from the gods, he succeeded in his task by looking at Medusa in the reflection of his shield and slaying her in her sleep. On his return he defeated a sea monster in order to save Andromeda
, who became his wife.
PERUN m Slavic Mythology
Means "thunder" in Slavic. In Slavic mythology Perun was the god of lightning, sometimes worshipped as the primary god. The oak was his sacred tree.
PHILOMELA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek φιλος (philos)
"lover, friend" and μηλον (melon)
"fruit". The second element has also been interpreted as Greek μελος (melos)
"song". In Greek myth Philomela was the sister-in-law of Tereus, who raped her and cut out her tongue. Prokne avenged her sister by killing her son by Tereus, after which Tereus attempted to kill Philomela. However, the gods intervened and transformed her into a nightingale.
PHOBOS m Greek Mythology
Means "fear, panic" in Greek. This was one of the sons of Ares
in Greek mythology. Also, one of the moons of Mars bears this name.
PHOEBE f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Biblical, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Φοιβη (Phoibe)
, which meant "bright, pure" from Greek φοιβος (phoibos)
. In Greek mythology Phoibe was a Titan associated with the moon. This was also an epithet of her granddaughter, the moon goddess Artemis
. The name appears in Paul
's epistle to the Romans in the New Testament, where it belongs to a female minister in the church at Cenchreae. In England, it began to be used as a given name after the Protestant Reformation. A moon of Saturn bears this name (in honour of the Titan).
PHRIXUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Φριξος (Phrixos)
which meant "thrilling, causing shivers", derived from φριξ (phrix)
"ripple, shiver". In Greek myth Phrixus was the son of Athamus and Nephele. He was to be sacrificed to Zeus
, but he escaped with his sister Helle on the back of the ram with the Golden Fleece.
PHYLLIS f Greek Mythology, English, German
Means "foliage" in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a woman who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. It began to be used as a given name in England in the 16th century, though it was often confused with Felicia
PISTIS f Greek Mythology
Means "trust, faith" in Greek. In Greek mythology Pistis was the personification of trust.
PITAMBARA m Hinduism
Derived from Sanskrit पीत (pita)
meaning "yellow" and अम्बर (ambara)
meaning "garment". This is another name of the Hindu gods Vishnu
, given to them because yellow clothing is traditionally worn at religious events.
POMONA f Roman Mythology
From Latin pomus
"fruit tree". This was the name of the Roman goddess of fruit trees.
POSEIDON m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek ποσις (posis)
"husband, lord" and δα (da)
"earth". In Greek mythology Poseidon was the unruly god of the sea and earthquakes, the brother of Zeus
. He was often depicted carrying a trident and riding in a chariot drawn by white horses.
PRABHAKARA m Hinduism
Means "light maker", derived from Sanskrit प्रभा (prabha)
meaning "light" and कर (kara)
meaning "maker". This is a name given to the sun in Hindu texts. It was also borne by a medieval Hindu scholar.
PROMETHEUS m Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek προμηθεια (prometheia)
meaning "foresight, forethought". In Greek myth he was the Titan who gave the knowledge of fire to mankind. For doing this he was punished by Zeus
, who had him chained to a rock and caused an eagle to feast daily on his liver, which regenerated itself each night. Herakles
eventually freed him.
PRYDERI m Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "care" in Welsh. According to Welsh legend this was the name of the son of Pwyll
. A central character in the Mabinogion, he succeeds his father as king of Dyfed, but is ultimately killed in single combat with Gwydion
PSYCHE f Greek Mythology
Means "the soul", derived from Greek ψυχω (psycho)
"to breathe". The Greeks thought that the breath was the soul. In Greek mythology Psyche was a beautiful maiden who was beloved by Eros (or Cupid in Roman mythology). She is the subject of Keats's poem 'Ode to Psyche' (1819).
PTAH m Egyptian Mythology
Possibly means "opener" in Egyptian. Ptah was an Egyptian god associated with creation and the arts.
PUCK m & f Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Dutch
Meaning unknown, from Old English puca
. It could ultimately be of either Germanic or Celtic origin. In English legend this was the name of a mischievous spirit, also known as Robin Goodfellow. He appears in Shakespeare's play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (1600).
PWYLL m Welsh Mythology
Meaning unknown. In the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh mythology, Pwyll is a king of Dyfed who pursues and finally marries Rhiannon
PYTHIOS m Greek Mythology
From the Greek place name Πυθω (Pytho)
, an older name of the city of Delphi, which was probably derived from Greek πυθω (pytho)
meaning "to rot". This was an epithet of Apollo
QUETZALCOATL m Aztec and Toltec Mythology
Means "feathered snake" in Nahuatl, derived from quetzalli
"feather" and coatl
"snake". In Aztec and other Mesoamerican mythology he was the god of the sky, wind, and knowledge, also associated with the morning star. According to one legend he created the humans of this age using the bones of humans from the previous age and adding his own blood.
QUIRINUS m Roman Mythology, Late Roman
Possibly derived from the Sabine word quiris
meaning "spear". Quirinus was a Sabine and Roman god who was later identified with Mars
. The name was also borne by several early saints.
RA m Egyptian Mythology
Possibly means "sun" in Egyptian. Ra was an important Egyptian sun god originally worshipped in Heliopolis in Lower Egypt. He was usually depicted as a man with the head of a falcon crowned with a solar disc. In later times his attributes were often merged with those of other deities, such as Amon
RAGHU m Hinduism, Indian, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam
Means "swift" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a heroic king in Hindu epics, the great-grandfather of Rama
. It is also mentioned as the name of a son of Buddha in Buddhist texts.
RAIJIN m Far Eastern Mythology
From Japanese 雷 (rai)
meaning "thunder" and 神 (jin)
meaning "god, spirit". This is the name of the god of thunder and storms in the mythology of Japan.
RAMA (1) m Hinduism, Indian, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam
Means "pleasing, beautiful" in Sanskrit. In Hindu belief this is the name of an incarnation of the god Vishnu
. He is the hero of the 'Ramayana', a Hindu epic, which tells of the abduction of his wife Sita
by the demon king Ravana, and his efforts to recapture her.