ARETHUSA f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Ἀρέθουσα (Arethousa)
meaning "quick water"
, which is possibly derived from ἄρδω (ardo)
meaning "water" and θοός (thoos)
meaning "quick, nimble". This was the name of a nymph in Greek mythology who was transformed into a fountain.
CALYPSO f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Καλυψώ (Kalypso)
, which probably meant "she that conceals"
, derived from καλύπτω (kalypto)
meaning "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.
DAPHNE f Greek Mythology, English, Dutch
in Greek. In Greek mythology she was a nymph turned into a laurel tree by her father in order that she might escape the pursuit of Apollo
. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the end of the 19th century.
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.
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the Greek name Δωρίς (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 (1924-2019).
ECHO f Greek Mythology
From the Greek word ἠχώ (echo)
meaning "echo, reflected sound"
, related to ἠχή (eche)
meaning "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.
EUDORA f Greek Mythology
Means "good gift"
in Greek, from the elements εὖ (eu)
meaning "good" and δῶρον (doron)
meaning "gift". This was the name of a nymph, one of the Hyades, in Greek mythology.
IARA f Native American, Tupi
Means "lady of the water"
, from Tupi y
"water" and îara
"lady, mistress". In Brazilian folklore this is the name of a beautiful river nymph who would lure men into the water. She may have been based upon earlier Tupi legends.
IONE f Greek Mythology, English
From Ancient Greek ἴον (ion)
meaning "violet flower"
. This was the name of a sea nymph in Greek mythology. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, though perhaps based on the Greek place name Ionia
, a region on the west coast of Asia Minor.
KALLISTO f Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek κάλλιστος (kallistos)
meaning "most beautiful"
, a derivative of καλός (kalos)
meaning "beautiful". In Greek mythology Kallisto was a nymph who was loved by Zeus
. She was changed into a she-bear by Hera
, and subsequently became the Great Bear constellation. This was also an ancient Greek personal name.
KLYTIË f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek κλυτός (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.
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
. As a Ukrainian name, it is more commonly transcribed Larysa
LARUNDA f Roman Mythology
Possibly connected to Greek λαλέω (laleo)
meaning "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.
MELIA f Greek Mythology
Means "ash tree"
in Greek, a derivative of μέλι (meli)
meaning "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
in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a daughter of Procles, as well as an epithet of various Greek nymphs and priestesses. According to the early Christian writer Lactantius this was the name of the sister of the nymph Amalthea
, with whom she cared for the young Zeus
. Later it appears in Ludovico Ariosto's 1516 poem Orlando Furioso
belonging to the fairy who helps Ruggiero
escape from the witch Alcina. As an English given name, Melissa
has been used since the 18th century.
NEREIDA f Spanish
Derived from Greek Νηρηΐδες (Nereides)
meaning "nymphs, sea sprites"
, ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god NEREUS
, who supposedly fathered them.
NERISSA f Literature
Created by Shakespeare for a character in his play The Merchant of Venice
(1596). He possibly took it from Greek Νηρηΐς (nereis)
meaning "nymph, sea sprite", ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god NEREUS
, who supposedly fathered them.
OENONE f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek Οἰνώνε (Oinone)
, derived from οἶνος (oinos)
. In Greek mythology Oenone was a mountain nymph who was married to Paris before he went after Helen.
SABRINA f English, Italian, German, French
Latinized form of Habren
, the original Welsh name of the River Severn. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Sabrina was the name of a princess who was drowned in the Severn. Supposedly the river was named for her, but it is more likely that her name was actually derived from that of the river, which is of unknown meaning. She appears as a water nymph in John Milton's masque Comus
(1634). It was popularized as a given name by Samuel A. Taylor's play Sabrina Fair
(1953) and the movie adaptation that followed it the next year.
THISBE f Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology
From the name of an ancient Greek town in Boeotia, itself supposedly named after a nymph. In a Greek legend (the oldest surviving version appearing in Latin in Ovid's Metamorphoses
) this is the name of a young woman from Babylon. Believing her to be dead, her lover Pyramus kills himself, after which she does the same to herself. The splashes of blood from their suicides is the reason mulberry fruit are red.