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Contributor Contrib.Lucille on 3/24/2013
This name was invented by Molière for his play "The Misanthrope" (17th century). Given that many characters in his play bear names that are obviously of Greek origin (or inspired by the Greek language), the name Célimène must then at least be partly Greek as well. Most sources claim that Molière derived the name from two Greek elements, the combination of which give the name the meaning of "princess of the moon". This cannot be correct, unfortunately. While the second element of the name could indeed correspond to Greek μήνη (mēnē) "moon", there is nothing in the Greek language that means "princess" (or even "prince") which also resembles the first element of the name. Most of the sources that give the meaning as "princesss of the moon" claim that the "prince" part of the name is derived from Greek χηλή (khēlē), but this word actually means "claw, grip", not "prince". As such, one must conclude that these sources are questionable at best. Instead, it's probably more likely that the name Célimène is actually a blend of Latin and Greek elements. The first half of the name looks like it was derived from the name Célie, which is the French form of Celia, a latinate name which was derived from Latin caelum meaning "heaven". The second half of the name is probably derived from Greek μενος (menos) meaning "strength" - compare also Philomène. As such, the meaning of Célimène would roughly be "heavenly strength". Finally, thanks to the exposure of the name via Molière's play, there have been cases in real life where parents were inspired to give their newborn daughter this name. Examples of real-life bearers include French singer Célimène Gaudieux (1807-1864) and French pianist Célimène Daudet (b. 1977).