AGAUE f Greek Mythology
Means "illustrious, noble"
in Greek. This was the mother of Pentheus in Greek myth.
AGRIPPINA f Ancient Roman
Feminine derivative of AGRIPPA
. This name was borne by the scheming mother of the Roman emperor Nero, who eventually had her killed. This was also the name of a 3rd-century Roman saint who is venerated in Sicily.
ALTHEA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Ἀλθαία (Althaia)
, perhaps related to Greek ἄλθος (althos)
. 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.
APHRODITE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Phoenician origin. Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty, identified with the Roman goddess Venus
. She was the wife of Hephaestus
and the mother of Eros
, and she was often associated with the myrtle tree and doves. The Greeks connected her name with ἀφρός (aphros)
, resulting in the story that she was born from the foam of the sea. Many of her characteristics are based on the goddess known as Ashtoreth
to the Phoenicians and Ishtar
to the Mesopotamian Semitic peoples, and on the Sumerian goddess Inanna
ARIANRHOD f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Possibly means "silver wheel"
or "round wheel"
in Welsh. In Welsh myth Arianrhod was the mother of the brothers Dylan
Llaw Gyffes. In earlier myths she was a goddess of the moon.
BERTHA f German, English, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht
meaning "bright, famous"
. It was borne by the mother of Charlemagne
in the 8th century, and it was popularized in England by the Normans. It died out as an English name after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. The name also appears in southern Germanic legends (often spelled Perchta
) belonging to a goddess of animals and weaving.
CORNELIA f German, Romanian, Italian, Dutch, English, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of CORNELIUS
. In the 2nd century BC it was borne by Cornelia Scipionis Africana (the daughter of the military hero Scipio Africanus), the mother of the two reformers known as the Gracchi. After her death she was regarded as an example of the ideal Roman woman. The name was revived in the 18th century.
DANAË f Greek Mythology
From Δαναοί (Danaoi)
, a word used by Homer
to designate the Greeks. In Greek mythology Danaë was the daughter of the Argive king Acrisius. It had been prophesized to her father that he would one day be killed by Danaë's son, so he attempted to keep his daughter childless. However, Zeus
came to her in the form of a shower of gold, and she became the mother of Perseus
. Eventually the prophecy was fulfilled and Perseus killed Acrisius, albeit accidentally.
DEMETER (1) f Greek Mythology
Possibly means "earth mother"
, derived from Greek δᾶ (da)
meaning "earth" and μήτηρ (meter)
meaning "mother". In Greek mythology Demeter was the goddess of agriculture, the daughter of Cronus
, the sister of Zeus
, and the mother of Persephone
. She was an important figure in the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were secret rites performed at Eleusis near Athens.
DIONE (1) f Greek Mythology
From Greek Διός (Dios)
meaning "of ZEUS"
. By extension, it means "goddess"
. This was the name of an obscure Greek goddess who, according to some legends, was the mother of Aphrodite
EMESE f Hungarian
Possibly derived from Finno-Ugric eme
. In Hungarian legend this was the name of the grandmother of Árpád, founder of the Hungarian state.
EUNICE f Biblical, English, Biblical Latin
Latinized form of the Greek name Εὐνίκη (Eunike)
meaning "good victory"
, derived from εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and νίκη (nike)
meaning "victory". The New Testament mentions her as the mother of Timothy
. As an English name, it was first used after the Protestant Reformation.
EUROPA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Εὐρώπη (Europe)
, which meant "wide face"
from εὐρύς (eurys)
meaning "wide" and ὄψ (ops)
meaning "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.
EVE f English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name חַוָּה (Chawwah)
, which was derived from the Hebrew word חָוָה (chawah)
meaning "to breathe"
or the related word חָיָה (chayah)
meaning "to live"
. According to the Old Testament Book of Genesis, Eve and Adam
were the first humans. God created her from one of Adam's ribs to be his companion. At the urging of a serpent she ate the forbidden fruit and shared some with Adam, causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden
GAIA f Greek Mythology, Italian
From the Greek word γαῖα (gaia)
, a parallel form of γῆ (ge)
. In Greek mythology Gaia was the mother goddess who presided over the earth. She was the mate of Uranus
and the mother of the Titans and the Cyclopes.
GOLDA f Yiddish
From Yiddish גאָלד (gold)
. This is the name of Tevye's wife in the musical Fiddler on the Roof
(1964). It was also borne by the Israeli prime minister Golda Meir (1898-1978).
GUDRUN f Norse Mythology, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
From the Old Norse name Guðrún
meaning "god's secret lore"
, derived from the elements guð
"god" and rún
"secret lore". In Norse legend Gudrun was the wife of Sigurd
. After his death she married Atli, but when he murdered her brothers, she killed her sons by him, fed him their hearts, and then slew him.
HERLEVA f Ancient Germanic
Germanic name, possibly a derivative of hari
"honour", or erla
"noble" (or their Old Norse cognates). This was the name of the mother of William the Conqueror, who, according to tradition, was a commoner.
JEDIDAH f Biblical
From Hebrew יָדִיד (yadid)
meaning "beloved, friend"
. In the Old Testament this is the name of the wife of King Amon of Judah and the mother of Josiah
JOYCE f & m English
From the medieval masculine name Josse
, which was derived from the earlier Iudocus
, which was a Latinized form of the Breton name Judoc
. The name belonged to a 7th-century Breton saint, and Breton settlers introduced it to England after the Norman Conquest. It became rare after the 14th century, but was later revived as a feminine name, perhaps because of similarity to the Middle English word joise
"to rejoice". This given name also formed the basis for a surname, as in the case of the Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941).
KAUSALYA f Hinduism
Means "of the Kosala people"
in Sanskrit. Kosala was an ancient Indian kingdom that was at its most powerful in the 6th century BC. In Hindu legend Kausalya is the name of the mother of the hero Rama
KUNTI f Hinduism
in Sanskrit. In the Hindu epic the Mahabharata
this is the name of the mother of the Pandavas.
LAMIA (2) f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Greek λαιμός (laimos)
. 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.
LETO f Greek Mythology
Possibly from Lycian lada
. Other theories connect it to Greek λήθω (letho)
meaning "hidden, forgotten"
. In Greek mythology she was the mother of Apollo
LOIS (1) f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωίων (loion)
meaning "more desirable"
. Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice
and the grandmother of Timothy
. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριάμ (Mariam)
and Μαρία (Maria)
- the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam)
, a name borne by the sister of Moses
in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness"
, and "wished for child"
. However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved"
or mr "love"
MAYA (1) f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi
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 Μήδεια (Medeia)
, possibly derived from μήδομαι (medomai)
meaning "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.
MONICA f English, Italian, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Late Roman
Meaning unknown, most likely of North African or Phoenician origin. In the 4th century this name was borne by the North African saint Monica of Hippo, the mother of Saint Augustine, whom she converted to Christianity. Since the Middle Ages it has been associated with Latin moneo "advisor"
and Greek monos "one"
. As an English name, Monica
has been in general use since the 18th century.
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.
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.
PAPA f Polynesian Mythology
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 Tāne
RHEA f Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology
Meaning unknown, perhaps related to ῥέω (rheo)
meaning "to flow"
or ἔρα (era)
. 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.
SARA f Greek, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, German, French, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Polish, English, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Bosnian, Biblical Greek
Form of SARAH
used in various languages.
SARAH f English, French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "lady, princess, noblewoman"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham
's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became pregnant with Isaac
at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai
, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15
SILVIA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, German, Dutch, English, Late Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of SILVIUS
Silvia was the mother of Romulus
, the founders of Rome. This was also the name of a 6th-century saint, the mother of the pope Gregory the Great. It has been a common name in Italy since the Middle Ages. It was introduced to England by Shakespeare, who used it for a character in his play The Two Gentlemen of Verona
(1594). It is now more commonly spelled Sylvia
in the English-speaking world.
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
THEIA f Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from Greek θεά (thea)
. In Greek myth this was the name of a Titan goddess of light, 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
TIAMAT f Semitic Mythology
From Akkadian tâmtu
. In Babylonian myth Tiamat was the personification of the sea, appearing in the form of a huge dragon. By Apsu she gave birth to the first of the gods. Later, the god Marduk
(her great-grandson) defeated her, cut her in half, and used the pieces of her body to make the earth and the sky.