ADONIS m Greek Mythology
From Phoenician Adonai
which means "lord". In Greek myth Adonis was a handsome young shepherd killed while hunting a wild boar. The anemone flower is said to have sprung from his blood. Because he was loved by Aphrodite
allowed him to be restored to life for part of each year. The Greeks borrowed this character from Semitic traditions, originally Sumerian (see DUMUZI
AELLA f Greek Mythology
Means "whirlwind" in Greek. In Greek myth this was the name of an Amazon warrior killed by Herakles
during his quest for Hippolyta's girdle.
AENEAS m Roman Mythology
Latin form of the Greek name Αινειας (Aineias)
, derived from Greek αινη (aine)
meaning "praise". In Greek legend he was a son of Aphrodite
and was one of the chief heroes who defended Troy from the Greeks. The Roman poet Virgil
continued his story in the 'Aeneid', in which Aeneas travels to Italy and founds the Roman state.
AGAUE f Greek Mythology
Means "illustrious, noble" in Greek. This was the mother of Pentheus in Greek myth.
AGLAIA f Greek Mythology, Greek
Means "splendour, beauty" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the three Graces or Χαριτες
(Charites). This name was also borne by a 4th-century saint from Rome.
AJAX m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αιας (Aias)
, perhaps deriving from Greek αιαστης (aiastes)
"mourner" or αια (aia)
"earth, land". In Greek mythology this was the name of two of the heroes who fought for the Greeks in the Trojan War, the son of Telamon and the son of Oileus. When the armour of the slain hero Achilles
was not given to Ajax Telamonian, he became mad with jealousy and killed himself.
ALCYONE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Αλκυονη (Alkyone)
, derived from the word αλκυων (alkyon)
meaning "kingfisher". In Greek myth this name belonged to a daughter of Aeolus and the wife of Ceyx. After her husband was killed in a shipwreck she threw herself into the water, but the gods saved her and turned them both into kingfishers. This is also the name of the brightest of the Pleiades, the seven stars in the constellation Taurus.
ALTHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Αλθαια (Althaia)
, perhaps related to Greek αλθος (althos)
"healing". In Greek myth she was the mother of Meleager. Soon after her son was born she was told that he would die as soon as a piece of wood that was burning on her fire was fully consumed. She immediately extinguished the piece of wood and sealed it in a chest, but in a fit of rage many years later she took it out and set it alight, thereby killing her son.
ANDROMEDA f Greek Mythology
Means "to be mindful of a man" from the Greek element ανηρ (aner)
"man" (genitive ανδρος
) combined with μεδομαι (medomai)
"to be mindful of". In Greek mythology Andromeda was an Ethiopian princess rescued from sacrifice by the hero Perseus
. A constellation in the northern sky is named for her. This is also the name of a nearby galaxy, given because it resides (from our point of view) within the constellation.
ANTIGONE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek αντι (anti)
"against, compared to, like" and γονη (gone)
"birth, offspring". In Greek legend Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. King Creon of Thebes declared that her slain brother Polynices was to remain unburied, a great dishonour. She disobeyed and gave him a proper burial, and for this she was sealed alive in a cave.
AOIDE f Greek Mythology
Means "song" in Greek. In Greek mythology she was one of the original three muses, the muse of song.
ARCADIA f Various
Feminine form of ARCADIUS
. This is the name of a region on the Greek Peloponnese, long idealized for its natural beauty.
ARES m Greek Mythology
Perhaps from either Greek αρη (are)
"bane, ruin" or αρσην (arsen)
"male". The name first appears as a-re
in Mycenaean Greek writing. Ares was the blood-thirsty god of war in Greek mythology, a son of Zeus
ARIADNE f Greek Mythology
Means "most holy", composed of the Cretan Greek elements αρι (ari)
"most" and αδνος (adnos)
"holy". In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos
. She fell in love with Theseus
and helped him to escape the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, but was later abandoned by him. Eventually she married the god Dionysus
ASTRAEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek Αστραια (Astraia)
, derived from Greek αστηρ (aster)
meaning "star". Astraea was a Greek goddess of justice and innocence. After wickedness took root in the world she left the earth and became the constellation Virgo.
ATALANTA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Αταλαντη (Atalante)
meaning "equal in weight", derived from αταλαντος (atalantos)
, a word related to ταλαντον (talanton)
meaning "a scale, a balance". In Greek legend she was a fast-footed maiden who refused to marry anyone who could not beat her in a race. She was eventually defeated by Hippomenes, who dropped three golden apples during the race causing her to stop to pick them up.
ATHENA f Greek Mythology, English
Meaning unknown. Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare and the patron goddess of the city of Athens in Greece. It is likely that her name is derived from that of the city, not vice versa. The earliest mention of her seems to be a 15th-century BC Mycenaean Greek inscription from Knossos on Crete.... [more]
ATLAS m Greek Mythology
Possibly means "enduring" from Greek τλαω (tlao)
meaning "to endure". In Greek mythology he was a Titan punished by Zeus
by being forced to support the heavens on his shoulders.
ATROPOS f Greek Mythology
Means "inevitable, inflexible" in Greek, derived from the negative prefix α (a)
combined with τροπος (tropos)
"direction, manner, fashion". Atropos was one of the three Fates or Μοιραι
(Moirai) in Greek mythology. When her sister Lachesis decided that a person's life was at an end, Atropos would choose the manner of death and cut the person's life thread.
BRISEIS f Greek Mythology
Patronymic derived from Βρισευς (Briseus)
, a Greek name of unknown meaning. In Greek mythology Briseis (real name Hippodameia) was the daughter of Briseus. She was captured during the Trojan War by Achilles
. After Agamemnon
took her away from him, Achilles refused to fight in the war.
BRONTE m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, an Anglicized form of Irish Ó Proinntigh
meaning "descendant of Proinnteach". The given name Proinnteach
meant "bestower" in Gaelic. The Brontë sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - were 19th-century English novelists. Their father changed the spelling of the family surname from Brunty
, possibly to make it coincide with Greek βροντη
CALYPSO f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Καλυψω (Kalypso)
which probably meant "she that conceals", derived from καλυπτω (kalypto)
"to cover, to conceal". In Greek myth this was the name of the nymph who fell in love with Odysseus
after he was shipwrecked on her island of Ogygia. When he refused to stay with her she detained him for seven years until Zeus
ordered her to release him.
CARINA (1) f English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Late Roman
Late Latin name derived from cara
meaning "dear, beloved". This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr. It is also the name of a constellation in the southern sky, though in this case it means "keel" in Latin, referring to a part of Jason
's ship the Argo.
CASSANDRA f English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κασσανδρα (Kassandra)
, derived from possibly κεκασμαι (kekasmai)
"to excel, to shine" and ανηρ (aner)
"man" (genitive ανδρος
). In Greek myth Cassandra was a Trojan princess, the daughter of Priam
. She was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo
, but when she spurned his advances he cursed her so nobody would believe her prophecies.... [more]
CASTOR m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Καστωρ (Kastor)
, possibly related to κεκασμαι (kekasmai)
meaning "to excel, to shine" (pluperfect κεκαστο
). Alternatively it could be derived from the Greek word καστωρ (kastor)
meaning "beaver", though the legends about Castor do not mention beavers, which were foreign animals to the Greeks. In Greek myth Castor was a son of Zeus
and the twin brother of Pollux
. The constellation Gemini, which represents the two brothers, contains a star by this name.
CHARON m Greek Mythology
Possibly means "fierce brightness" in Greek. In Greek mythology Charon was the operator of the ferry that brought the newly dead over the River Acheron into Hades.
CHRYSEIS f Greek Mythology
Patronymic derived from CHRYSES
. In Greek legend she was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo
. After she was taken prisoner by the Greeks besieging Troy, Apollo sent a plague into their camp, forcing the Greeks to release her.
CLEOPATRA f Ancient Greek (Latinized)
From the Greek name Κλεοπατρα (Kleopatra)
which meant "glory of the father", derived from κλεος (kleos)
"glory" combined with πατηρ (pater)
"father" (genitive πατρος
), This was the name of queens of Egypt from the Ptolemaic royal family, including Cleopatra VII, the mistress of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. After being defeated by Augustus she committed suicide by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp. Shakespeare's tragedy 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1606) is based on her.
CYBELE f Near Eastern Mythology (Latinized)
Meaning unknown, possibly from Phrygian roots meaning either "stone" or "hair". This was the name of the Phrygian mother goddess associated with fertility and nature. She was later worshipped by the Greeks and Romans.
CYNTHIA f English, Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κυνθια (Kynthia)
which means "woman from Kynthos". This was an epithet of the Greek moon goddess Artemis
, given because Kynthos was the mountain on Delos on which she and her twin brother Apollo
were born. It was not used as a given name until the Renaissance, and it did not become common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century.
DAEDALUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek Δαιδαλος (Daidalos)
which was derived from δαιδαλλω (daidallo)
meaning "to work cunningly". In Greek myth Daedalus was an Athenian inventor who was banished to Crete. There he designed the Labyrinth for King Minos
, but he and his son Icarus
were eventually imprisoned inside it because he had aided Theseus
in his quest against the Minotaur. Daelalus and Icarus escaped using wings fashioned from wax, but Icarus fell from the sky to his death.
DAMON m Greek Mythology, English
Derived from Greek δαμαζω (damazo)
meaning "to tame". According to Greek legend, Damon and Pythias were friends who lived on Syracuse in the 4th century BC. When Pythias was sentenced to death, he was allowed to temporarily go free on the condition that Damon take his place in prison. Pythias returned just before Damon was to be executed in his place, and the king was so impressed with their loyalty to one another that he pardoned Pythias. As an English given name, it has only been regularly used since the 20th century.
DEIMOS m Greek Mythology
Means "terror" in Greek. This was one of the sons of the Greek god Ares
. Also, a moon of Mars bears this name.
DESPOINA f Greek Mythology, Greek
Means "mistress, lady" in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon. She was worshipped in the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were secret rites practiced at Eleusis near Athens.
DIKE f Greek Mythology
Means "justice" in Greek. In Greek mythology Dike was the goddess of justice, one of the ‘Ωραι
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the ancient Greek name Δωρις (Doris)
which meant "Dorian woman". The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-).
ECHO f Greek Mythology
Means "echo" from the word for the repeating reflected sound, which derives from Greek ηχη (eche)
"sound". In Greek mythology Echo was a nymph given a speech impediment by Hera
, so that she could only repeat what others said. She fell in love with Narcissus
, but her love was not returned, and she pined away until nothing remained of her except her voice.
ELECTRA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ηλεκτρα (Elektra)
, derived from ηλεκτρον (elektron)
meaning "amber". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Agamemnon
and the sister of Orestes
. She helped her brother kill their mother and her lover Aegisthus in vengeance for Agamemnon's murder. Also in Greek mythology, this name was borne by one of the Pleiades, who were the daughters of Atlas
ENDYMION m Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ενδυειν (endyein)
meaning "to dive into, to enter". In Greek mythology he was an Aeolian mortal loved by the moon goddess Selene
, who asked Zeus
to grant him eternal life. Zeus complied by putting him into an eternal sleep in a cave on Mount Latmos.
EOS f Greek Mythology
Means "dawn" in Greek. This was the name of the Greek goddess of the dawn.
ERIS f Greek Mythology
Means "strife" in Greek. In Greek mythology Eris was the goddess of discord. She was the sister and companion of Ares
EUDORA f Greek Mythology
Means "good gift" in Greek, from the elements ευ (eu)
"good" and δωρον (doron)
"gift". This was the name of a nymph, one of the Hyades, in Greek mythology.
EUROPA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ευρωπη (Europe)
, which meant "wide face" from ευρυς (eurys)
"wide" and ωψ (ops)
"face, eye". In Greek mythology Europa was a Phoenician princess who was abducted and taken to Crete by Zeus
in the guise of a bull. She became the first queen of Crete, and later fathered Minos
by Zeus. The continent of Europe is named for her. This is also the name of a moon of Jupiter.
EURYDICE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Ευρυδικη (Eurydike)
which meant "wide justice", derived from ευρυς (eurys)
"wide" and δικη (dike)
"justice". In Greek myth she was the wife of Orpheus. Her husband tried to rescue her from Hades, but he failed when he disobeyed the condition that he not look back upon her on their way out.
EUTERPE f Greek Mythology
Means "delight" in Greek, ultimately from ευ (eu)
"good" and τερπω (terpo)
"to satisfy, to cheer". In Greek mythology she was one of the nine Muses, the muse of music and joy. She was said to have invented the double flute.
EVADNE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ευαδνη (Euadne)
, from ευ (eu)
meaning "good" possibly combined with Cretan Greek αδνος (adnos)
meaning "holy". In Greek legend Evadne was the wife of Capaneus. After Capaneus was killed by a lightning bolt sent from Zeus
she committed suicide by throwing herself onto his burning body.
HEBE f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ‘ηβη (hebe)
meaning "youth". In Greek mythology Hebe was the daughter of Zeus
. She was a goddess of youth who acted as the cupbearer to the gods.
HECATE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek ‘Εκατη (Hekate)
, possibly derived from ‘εκας (hekas)
meaning "far off". In Greek mythology Hecate was a goddess associated with witchcraft, crossroads, tombs, demons and the underworld.
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek ‘Εκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ‘εκτωρ (hektor)
"holding fast", ultimately from εχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends belonging to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HELIOS m Greek Mythology
Means "sun" in Greek. This was the name of the young Greek sun god, a Titan, who rode across the sky each day in a chariot pulled by four horses. His sister was the moon goddess Selene
HELLE (2) f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Helle was the daughter of Athamus and Nephele. She and her brother Phrixus escaped sacrifice by fleeing on the back of a golden ram, but during their flight she fell off and drowned in the strait that connects the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara, which was thereafter called the Hellespont ("the sea of Helle").
HERAKLES m Greek Mythology
Means "glory of Hera" from the name of the goddess HERA
combined with Greek κλεος (kleos)
"glory". This was the name of a hero in Greek and Roman mythology, the son of Zeus
and the mortal woman Alcmene
. After being driven insane by Hera
and killing his own children, Herakles completed twelve labours in order to atone for his crime and become immortal.
HERMES m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Probably from Greek ‘ερμα (herma)
meaning "cairn, pile of stones, boundary marker". Hermes was a Greek god associated with speed and good luck, who served as a messenger to Zeus
and the other gods. He was also the patron of travellers, writers, athletes, merchants, thieves and orators.... [more]
HERMIONE f Greek Mythology
Derived from the name of the Greek messenger god HERMES
. In Greek myth Hermione was the daughter of Menelaus and Helen. This is also the name of the wife of Leontes in Shakespeare's play 'The Winter's Tale' (1610). It is now closely associated with the character Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series of books, first released in 1997.
HERO (1) f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ‘ηρως (heros)
meaning "hero". In Greek legend she was the lover of Leander, who would swim across the Hellespont each night to meet her. He was killed on one such occasion when he got caught in a storm while in the water, and when Hero saw his dead body she drowned herself. This is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's play 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1599).
HESTIA f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ‘εστια (hestia)
"hearth, fireside". In Greek mythology Hestia was the goddess of the hearth and domestic activity.
HORATIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was possibly derived from Latin hora
"hour, time, season", though the name may actually be of Etruscan origin. A famous bearer was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman lyric poet of the 1st century BC who is better known as Horace in the English-speaking world.
HYACINTHUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized), Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Υακινθος (Hyakinthos)
, which was derived from the name of the hyacinth flower. In Greek legend Hyakinthos was accidentally killed by Apollo
, who caused a lily to arise from his blood. The name was also borne by several early saints, notably a 3rd-century martyr who was killed with his brother Protus.
ICARUS m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Ικαρος (Ikaros)
, of unknown meaning. In Greek myth Icarus was the son of Daedalus
, locked with his father inside the Labyrinth by Minos
. They escaped from the maze using wings devised from wax, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and the wax melted, plunging him to his death.
IO f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Io was a princess loved by Zeus
, who changed her into a heifer in order to hide her from Hera
. A moon of Jupiter bears this name in her honour.
ISMENE f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek ισμη (isme)
"knowledge". This was the name of the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta in Greek legend.
KALLIOPE f Greek Mythology
Means "beautiful voice" from Greek καλλος (kallos)
meaning "beauty" and οψ (ops)
meaning "voice". In Greek mythology she was a goddess of epic poetry and eloquence, one of the nine Muses.
KLEIO f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek κλεος (kleos)
meaning "glory". In Greek mythology she was the goddess of history and heroic poetry, one of the nine Muses. She was said to have introduced the alphabet to Greece.
KLOTHO f Greek Mythology
Means "spinner" in Greek. In Greek mythology Klotho was one of the three Fates or Μοιραι
(Moirai). She was responsible for spinning the thread of life.
KLYTIË f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek κλυτος (klytos)
meaning "famous, noble". In Greek myth Klytië was an ocean nymph who loved the sun god Helios. Her love was not returned, and she pined away staring at him until she was transformed into a heliotrope flower, whose head moves to follow the sun.
LACHESIS f Greek Mythology
Means "apportioner" in Greek. She was one of the three Fates or Μοιραι
(Moirai) in Greek mythology. She was responsible for deciding how long each person had to live.
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.
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, to chatter", 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.
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
meaning "lion", a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
LEON m English, German, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". During the Christian era this Greek name was merged with the Latin cognate Leo
, with the result that the two forms are used somewhat interchangeably across European languages. In England during the Middle Ages this was a common name among Jews. A famous bearer was Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), a Russian Communist revolutionary.
LETO f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Lycian lada
meaning "wife". Other theories connect it to Greek ληθω (letho)
meaning "hidden, forgotten". In Greek mythology she was the mother of Apollo
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).
LOTUS f English (Rare)
From the name of the lotus flower (species Nelumbo nucifera) or the mythological lotus tree. They are ultimately derived from Greek λωτος (lotos)
. In Greek and Roman mythology the lotus tree was said to produce a fruit causing sleepiness and forgetfulness.
MARCIUS m Ancient Roman
Roman family name which was a derivative of the praenomen MARCUS
. This was the name of an early, possibly legendary, king of Rome.
MARIS f English (Rare)
Means "of the sea", taken from the Latin title of the Virgin Mary
, Stella Maris
, meaning "star of the sea".
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
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.
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
MOIRA f Irish, Scottish, English
Anglicized form of MÁIRE
. It also coincides with Greek Μοιρα (Moira)
meaning "fate, destiny", the singular of Μοιραι
, the Greek name for the Fates. They were the three female personifications of destiny in Greek mythology.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (1)
PAN m Greek Mythology
Possibly from an Indo-European root meaning "shepherd, protector". 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.
PARIS (1) m Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Luwian or Hittite origin. 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.
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.
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. With her mother she was worshipped in the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were secret rites practiced at the city of Eleusis near Athens.
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).
PHOENIX m & f English (Modern)
From the name of a beautiful immortal bird which appears in Egyptian and Greek mythology. After living for several centuries in the Arabian Desert, it would be consumed by fire and rise from its own ashes, with this cycle repeating every 500 years. The name of the bird was derived from Greek φοινιξ (phoinix)
meaning "dark red".
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
POSEIDON m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek ποσις (posis)
"husband, lord" and δα (da)
"earth". The name first appears in Mycenaean Greek inscriptions as po-se-da-o
. 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.
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).
PTOLEMY m History
From the Greek name Πτολεμαιος (Ptolemaios)
, derived from Greek πολεμηιος (polemeios)
meaning "aggressive, warlike". Ptolemy was the name of several Greco-Egyptian rulers of Egypt, all descendants of Ptolemy I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. This was also the name of a Greek astronomer.
RHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Roman Mythology
Latinized form of Greek ‘Ρεια (Rheia)
, meaning unknown, perhaps related to ‘ρεω (rheo)
"to flow" or ερα (era)
"ground". In Greek mythology Rhea was a Titan, the wife of Cronus
, and the mother of Zeus
. Also, in Roman mythology a woman named Rhea Silvia
was the mother of Romulus
, the legendary founders of Rome.
SEMELE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Phrygian origin. In Greek mythology she was one of the many lovers of Zeus
, being jealous, tricked Semele into asking Zeus to display himself in all his splendour as the god of thunder. When he did, Semele was struck by lightning and died, but not before giving birth to Dionysos
SIMON (2) m Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek σιμος (simos)
meaning "flat-nosed". In Greek mythology this was the name of one of the Telchines, demigods who were the original inhabitants of Rhodes.
TETHYS f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek τηθη (tethe)
meaning "grandmother". In Greek mythology this was the name of a Titan associated with the sea. She was the wife of Oceanus.
THANATOS m Greek Mythology
Means "death" in Greek. This was the name of the Greek god of death who resided with Hades in the underworld.
THEIA f Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek θεα (thea)
meaning "goddess". In Greek myth this was the name of a Titan goddess of sight, glittering and glory. She was the wife of Hyperion and the mother of the sun god Helios, the moon goddess Selene, and the dawn goddess Eos.
THESEUS m Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek τιθημι (tithemi)
meaning "to set, to place". Theseus was a heroic king of Athens in Greek mythology. He was the son of Aethra, either by Aegeus or by the god Poseidon
. According to legend, every seven years the Cretan king Minos
demanded that Athens supply Crete with seven boys and seven girls to be devoured by the Minotaur, a half-bull creature that was the son of Minos's wife Pasiphaë. Theseus volunteered to go in place of one of these youths in order to slay the Minotaur in the Labyrinth where it lived. He succeeded with the help of Minos's daughter Ariadne
, who provided him with a sword and a roll of string so he could find his way out of the maze.