Names Categorized "women and death"

This is a list of names in which the categories include women and death.
gender
usage
Adonis m Greek Mythology
From Phoenician 𐤀𐤃𐤍 (ʾadon) meaning "lord, master". 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, Zeus 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.
Agatha f English, German, Dutch, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἀγαθή (Agathe), derived from Greek ἀγαθός (agathos) meaning "good". Saint Agatha was a 3rd-century martyr from Sicily who was tortured and killed after spurning the advances of a Roman official. The saint was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). The mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a famous modern bearer of this name.
Agnes f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Estonian, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Ἁγνή (Hagne), derived from Greek ἁγνός (hagnos) meaning "chaste". Saint Agnes was a virgin martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with Latin agnus "lamb", resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name became common in Christian Europe.... [more]
Agrippina f Ancient Roman, Sicilian
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.
Aino f Finnish, Estonian, Finnish Mythology
Means "the only one" in Finnish. In the Finnish epic the Kalevala this is the name of a girl who drowns herself when she finds out she must marry the old man Väinämöinen.
Alcestis f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Ἄλκηστις (Alkestis), derived from ἀλκηστής (alkestes) meaning "brave, valiant", a derivative of ἀλκή (alke) meaning "strength, prowess". In Greek mythology she was the wife of King Admetus. She offered to die in place of her husband, though she was eventually rescued from the underworld by Herakles. This story was told by the Greek playwright Euripides in his 5th-century BC tragedy Alcestis.
Alma 1 f English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Albanian, Slovene, Croatian
This name became popular after the Battle of Alma (1854), which took place near the River Alma in Crimea and ended in a victory for Britain and France. However, the name was in rare use before the battle; it was probably inspired by Latin almus "nourishing". It also coincides with the Spanish word meaning "the soul".
Althea f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek name Ἀλθαία (Althaia), perhaps related to Greek ἄλθος (althos) meaning "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.
Anastasia f Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, English, Spanish, Italian, Georgian, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of Anastasius. This was the name of a 4th-century Dalmatian saint who was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Due to her, the name has been common in Eastern Orthodox Christianity (in various spellings). As an English name it has been in use since the Middle Ages. A famous bearer was the youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II, who was rumoured to have escaped the execution of her family in 1918.
Angerona f Roman Mythology
Possibly from Latin angor "strangulation, torment" or angustus "narrow, constricted". Angerona was the Roman goddess of the winter solstice, death, and silence.
Anne 1 f French, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, German, Dutch, Basque
French form of Anna. It was imported to England in the 13th century, but it did not become popular until three centuries later. The spelling variant Ann was also commonly found from this period, and is still used to this day.... [more]
Antigone f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ἀντί (anti) meaning "against, compared to, like" and γονή (gone) meaning "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.
Asia 1 f English (Modern), Italian (Modern)
From the name of the continent, which is perhaps derived from Akkadian asu, meaning "east".
Atropos f Greek Mythology
Means "inevitable, inflexible" in Greek, derived from the negative prefix (a) combined with τρόπος (tropos) meaning "direction, manner, fashion". Atropos was one of the three Fates or Μοῖραι (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.
Awilix f Mayan Mythology
Meaning uncertain, possibly from a place name Awilizapan, or possibly from a Q'eqchi' Maya word meaning "swallow (bird)". This was the name of the K'iche' Maya goddess of the moon, night and death.
Balder m Norse Mythology
From Old Norse Baldr meaning "hero, lord, prince", derived from baldr meaning "brave, bold". In Norse mythology Balder was the handsome son of Odin and Frigg. Because of the disturbing dreams he had when he was young, his mother extracted an oath from every thing in the world that it would not harm him. However the devious god Loki learned that she had overlooked mistletoe. Being jealous, he tricked the blind god Hoder into throwing a branch of mistletoe at Balder, which killed him.
Barbara f English, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
Derived from Greek βάρβαρος (barbaros) meaning "foreign". According to legend, Saint Barbara was a young woman killed by her father Dioscorus, who was then killed by a bolt of lightning. She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen. Because of her renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. In England it became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century.
Beatrix f German, Hungarian, Dutch, English, Late Roman
Probably from Viatrix, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator meaning "voyager, traveller". It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus "blessed, happy". Viatrix or Beatrix was a 4th-century saint who was strangled to death during the persecutions of Diocletian.... [more]
Blandine f French
French form of the Roman name Blandina, which was the feminine form of Blandinus, which was itself a derivative of the cognomen Blandus. Saint Blandina was a 2nd-century slave from Lyons who was martyred by being thrown to wild beasts.
Bláthnat f Irish Mythology
Means "little flower" from Irish bláth "flower" combined with a diminutive suffix. In Irish legend she was a maiden abducted and married by Cú Roí. She was rescued by Cúchulainn, who killed her husband, but was in turn murdered by one of Cú Roí's loyal servants.
Brân m Welsh Mythology
Means "raven" in Welsh. According to the Second Branch of the Mabinogi, Brân the Blessed (called Bendigeidfran) was a giant king of Britain. He was the son of the divine figure Llŷr. After his sister Branwen was mistreated by her husband the Irish king Matholwch, Brân led an attack on Ireland (the text says that he was so big he was able to wade there). Although victorious, the British lost all except seven men with Brân being mortally wounded by a poisoned spear. He asked the survivors to cut of his head and return with it to Britain. The head continued to speak for many years until it was buried in London.
Branwen f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Means "white raven" from Old Welsh bran "raven" and gwen "white, blessed". According to the Second Branch of the Mabinogi she was the daughter of Llŷr. After she was mistreated by her husband Matholwch, the king of Ireland, she managed to get a message to her brother Brân, the king of Britain. Brân launched a costly invasion to rescue her, but she died of grief shortly after her return.
Clytemnestra f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Κλυταιμνήστρα (Klytaimnestra) and Κλυταιμήστρα (Klytaimestra), in which the first element is κλυτός (klytos) meaning "famous, noble". The spelling Klytaimnestra would suggest the second element is μνηστήρ (mnester) meaning "courter, wooer", while Klytaimestra would suggest a connection to μήδομαι (medomai) meaning "to plan, to intend". There is debate over which spelling is earlier or more authentic, since the ancient texts seem to make puns based on both etymologies. Klytaimestra appears in the works of the Greek tragedians such as Aeschylus, while Klytaimnestra appears in Homer's poems (the earliest extant copy dating from the post-classical period).... [more]
Cyra f History (Ecclesiastical)
Meaning unknown. Saint Cyra was a 5th-century Syrian hermit who was martyred with her companion Marana.
Daenerys f Literature
Created by author George R. R. Martin for a character in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, first published 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones (2011-2019). An explanation for the meaning of her name is not provided, though it is presumably intended to be of Valyrian origin. In the series Daenerys Targaryen is a queen of the Dothraki and a claimant to the throne of Westeros.
Deirdre f English, Irish, Irish Mythology
From the Old Irish name Derdriu, meaning unknown, possibly derived from der meaning "daughter". This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobar, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise.... [more]
Delilah f Biblical, Biblical Hebrew, English
Means "delicate, weak, languishing" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament she is the lover of Samson, whom she betrays to the Philistines by cutting his hair, which is the source of his power. Despite her character flaws, the name began to be used by the Puritans in the 17th century. It has been used occasionally in the English-speaking world since that time.
Desdemona f Literature
Derived from Greek δυσδαίμων (dysdaimon) meaning "ill-fated". This is the name of the wife of Othello in Shakespeare's play Othello (1603).
Dido f Roman Mythology, Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, probably of Phoenician origin. Dido, also called Elissa, was the queen of Carthage in Virgil's Aeneid. She threw herself upon a funeral pyre after Aeneas left her. Virgil based the story on earlier Greco-Roman accounts.
Dolores f Spanish, English
Means "sorrows", taken from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, meaning "Our Lady of Sorrows". It has been used in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, becoming especially popular in America during the 1920s and 30s.
Drahomíra f Czech, Slovak
Czech and Slovak feminine form of Dragomir.
Dumuzi m Sumerian Mythology
From Sumerian 𒌉 (dumu) meaning "son, child" and 𒍣 (zid) meaning "true, loyal". This was the name of a Sumerian god of shepherds and vegetation, the husband of Inanna. He was said to spend half of each year in the underworld, resulting in the yearly cycle of seasons. He was known to the Semitic peoples of Mesopotamia as Tammuz.
Endymion m Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ἐνδύω (endyo) 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.
Ereshkigal f Sumerian Mythology
Means "lady of the great earth", from Sumerian 𒊩𒌆 (ereš) meaning "lady, queen" combined with 𒆠 (ki) meaning "earth" and 𒃲 (gal) meaning "great, big". In Sumerian mythology she was the goddess of death and the underworld.
Erzsébet f Hungarian
Hungarian form of Elizabeth. This is the native name of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. It was also borne by the infamous Erzsébet Báthory, a 16th-century countess and alleged murderer.
Eurydice f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Εὐρυδίκη (Eurydike) meaning "wide justice", derived from εὐρύς (eurys) meaning "wide" and δίκη (dike) meaning "justice, custom, order". 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.
Evadne f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Εὐάδνη (Euadne), from εὖ (eu) meaning "good" possibly combined with Cretan Greek ἀδνός (adnos) meaning "holy". This name was borne by several characters in Greek legend, including 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.
Freya f Norse Mythology, English (Modern), German
From Old Norse Freyja meaning "lady". This is the name of a goddess associated with love, beauty, war and death in Norse mythology. She claims half of the heroes who are slain in battle and brings them to her realm of Fólkvangr. Along with her brother Freyr and father Njord, she is one of the Vanir (as opposed to the Æsir). Some scholars connect her with the goddess Frigg.... [more]
Freyja f Icelandic, Norse Mythology
Icelandic and Old Norse form of Freya.
Frigg f Norse Mythology
Means "beloved", from Proto-Germanic *Frijjō, derived from the root *frijōną meaning "to love". In Norse mythology she was the wife of Odin and the mother of Balder. Some scholars believe that she and the goddess Freya share a common origin (though their names are not linguistically related).
Godeliva f Germanic (Latinized)
Feminine form of Goteleib. This was the name of an 11th-century Flemish saint who was murdered on her husband's orders.
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, rune". 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. Her story appears in Norse literature such as the Eddas and the Völsungasaga. She is called Kriemhild in German versions of the tale. This is also an unrelated character in the medieval German epic Kudrun.
Gwenllian f Welsh
Derived from the Welsh elements gwen meaning "white, blessed" and possibly lliain meaning "flaxen, made of linen" or lliant meaning "flow, flood". This name was used by medieval Welsh royalty, notably by a 12th-century princess of Deheubarth who died in battle with the Normans. It was also borne by the 13th-century daughter of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last prince of Gwynedd.
Hecate f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Ἑκάτη (Hekate), possibly derived from ἑκάς (hekas) meaning "far off". In Greek mythology Hecate was a goddess associated with witchcraft, crossroads, tombs, demons and the underworld.
Hel f Norse Mythology
In Norse mythology this was the name of the daughter of Loki. She got her name from the underworld, also called Hel, where she ruled, which meant "to conceal, to cover" in Old Norse (related to the English word hell).
Heledd f Welsh
Meaning unknown. This is the narrator of the medieval poem Canu Heledd, which laments the loss of her family, including her brother Prince Cynddylan, and the destruction of the kingdom of Powys in the 7th century.
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").
Hero 1 f Greek Mythology
Derived from Greek ἥρως (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).
Hippolyte 1 f Greek Mythology
Feminine form of Hippolytos. In Greek legend Hippolyte was the daughter of Ares, and the queen of the Amazons. She was killed by Herakles in order to obtain her magic girdle.
Inanna f Sumerian Mythology
Possibly derived from Sumerian nin-an-a(k) meaning "lady of the heavens", from 𒎏 (nin) meaning "lady" and the genitive form of 𒀭 (an) meaning "heaven, sky". Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility and war. She descended into the underworld where the ruler of that place, her sister Ereshkigal, had her killed. The god Enki interceded, and Inanna was allowed to leave the underworld as long as her husband Dumuzi took her place.... [more]
Iya f Russian
Meaning unknown. This name was borne by Saint Ia of Persia, a 4th-century martyr who is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Izanagi m Japanese Mythology
Probably means "male who invites" in Japanese, from (izana) meaning "invite, lure, attract". In Japanese mythology the god Izanagi was the husband of Izanami. When she died he unsuccessfully journeyed to the underworld to retrieve her. In the purifying rites that followed his return, the gods of the sun, moon and wind were created.
Izanami f Japanese Mythology
Probably means "female who invites" in Japanese, from (izana) meaning "invite, lure, attract". In Japanese mythology she was a creator goddess, the wife of Izanagi. She died giving birth to Kagutsuchi, the god of fire.
Jael f Biblical, Biblical Portuguese
From the Hebrew name יָעֵל (Ya'el) meaning "ibex, mountain goat". This name appears in the Old Testament belonging to the wife of Heber the Kenite. After Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army, was defeated in battle by Deborah and Barak he took refuge in Heber's tent. When he fell asleep Jael killed him by hammering a tent peg into his head.
Jezebel f Biblical
From Hebrew אִיזֶבֶל ('Izevel), probably from a Phoenician name, possibly containing the Semitic root zbl meaning "to exalt, to dwell". According to one theory it might be an altered form of the Phoenician name 𐤁𐤏𐤋𐤀𐤆𐤁𐤋 (Baʿlʾizbel) meaning "Ba'al exalts" with the first element removed or replaced.... [more]
Judith f English, Jewish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, French, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוּדִית (Yehudit) meaning "Jewish woman", feminine of יְהוּדִי (yehudi), ultimately referring to a person from the tribe of Judah. In the Old Testament Judith is one of the Hittite wives of Esau. This is also the name of the main character of the apocryphal Book of Judith. She killed Holofernes, an invading Assyrian commander, by beheading him in his sleep.... [more]
Juliet f English
Anglicized form of Giulietta or Juliette. This spelling was used for the ill-fated lover of Romeo in the play Romeo and Juliet (1596) by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare based his story on earlier Italian tales such as Giulietta e Romeo (1524) by Luigi Da Porto.
Kali 1 f & m Hinduism, Bengali, Tamil
Means "the black one" in Sanskrit. The Hindu goddess Kali is the fierce destructive form of the wife of Shiva. She is usually depicted with black skin and four arms, holding a severed head and brandishing a sword. As a personal name, it is generally masculine in India.
Klotho f Greek Mythology
Means "spinner" in Greek. In Greek mythology Klotho was one of the three Fates or Μοῖραι (Moirai). She was responsible for spinning the thread of life.
Kriemhild f German (Rare), Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Old German elements grimo "mask" and hilt "battle". Kriemhild was a beautiful heroine in the medieval German saga the Nibelungenlied, where she is the sister of Gunther and the wife of Siegfried. After her husband is killed by Hagen with the consent of Gunther, Kriemhild tragically exacts her revenge. She is called Gudrun in Norse versions of the tale.
Lachesis f Greek Mythology
Means "apportioner" in Greek. She was one of the three Fates or Μοῖραι (Moirai) in Greek mythology. She was responsible for deciding how long each person had to live.
Laci 2 f English (Modern)
Variant of Lacy. This name jumped in popularity in 2003 after the media coverage of the murder of Laci Peterson (1975-2002).
Laudine f Arthurian Romance
Possibly a derivative of Lot 2 (or derived from the same place name). It was used by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for a character in his romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. Also called the Lady of the Fountain, Laudine married Yvain after he killed her husband.
Laura f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, French, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Lithuanian, Latvian, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
Leander m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Λέανδρος (Leandros), derived from λέων (leon) meaning "lion" and ἀνήρ (aner) meaning "man" (genitive ἀνδρός). 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.
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.
Lenore f English
Short form of Eleanor. This was the name of the departed love of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven (1845).
Líadan f Irish (Rare)
Possibly from Old Irish líath meaning "grey". According to an Irish tale this was the name of a poet who became a nun, but then missed her lover Cuirithir so much that she died of grief. The name was also borne by a 5th-century saint, the mother of Saint Ciarán the Elder.
Libitina f Roman Mythology
Meaning uncertain, possibily from Etruscan lupu "dead". Libitina was the Roman goddess of funerals, corpses and death.
Licarayen f Indigenous American, Mapuche
Means "stone flower" in Mapuche, from likan "a type of black stone" and rayen "flower". According to a Mapuche legend this was the name of a maiden who sacrificed herself in order to stop the wrath of the evil spirit of a volcano.
Lizzie f English
Diminutive of Elizabeth.
Lorelei f Literature, English
From German Loreley, the name of a rock headland on the Rhine River. It is of uncertain meaning, though the second element is probably old German ley meaning "rock" (of Celtic origin). German romantic poets and songwriters, beginning with Clemens Brentano in 1801, tell that a maiden named the Lorelei lives on the rock and lures boaters to their death with her song.... [more]
Lot 1 m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "covering, veil" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a nephew of Abraham. Before Sodom was destroyed by God, he was directed to flee the city without looking back. However, his wife looked back on the destruction and was turned into a pillar of salt.
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.
Loviatar f Finnish Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Finnish mythology Loviatar, also known as Louhi, was a goddess of death and plague.
Ludmila f Czech, Latvian, Russian
Means "favour of the people" from the Slavic elements lyudu "people" and milu "gracious, dear". Saint Ludmila was a 10th-century duchess of Bohemia, the grandmother of Saint Václav. She was murdered on the orders of her daughter-in-law Drahomíra.... [more]
Mahsa f Persian
Means "like the moon" in Persian.
Marama f & m Maori, Polynesian Mythology
Means "moon" in Maori. This is the name of a moon god (or goddess) in Maori mythology.
Medea f Greek Mythology (Latinized), Georgian
From Greek Μήδεια (Medeia), derived from μήδεα (medea) meaning "plans, counsel, cunning". 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 Μέδουσα (Medousa), which was derived from μέδω (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.
Menodora f Ancient Greek
Means "gift of the moon", derived from Greek μήνη (mene) meaning "moon" and δῶρον (doron) meaning "gift". This was the name of a 4th-century saint who was martyred with her sisters Metrodora and Nymphodora.
Metrodora f Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek μήτηρ (meter) meaning "mother" (genitive μητρός) and δῶρον (doron) meaning "gift". This was the name of a 4th-century saint and martyr who was killed with her sisters Menodora and Nymphodora.
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.
Morrígan f Irish Mythology
Means either "demon queen" or "great queen", derived from Old Irish mor "demon, evil spirit" or mór "great, big" combined with rígain "queen". In Irish mythology Morrígan (called also The Morrígan) was a goddess of war and death who often took the form of a crow.
Naenia f Roman Mythology
Means "incantation, dirge" in Latin. This was the name of the Roman goddess of funerals.
Nanna 1 f Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Norse Mythology
Possibly derived from Old Norse nanþ meaning "daring, brave". In Norse mythology she was a goddess who died of grief when her husband Balder was killed.
Naoise m Irish, Irish Mythology
Meaning unknown, presumably of Irish origin. In Irish legend he was the young man who fled to Scotland with Deirdre, who was due to marry Conchobar the king of Ulster. Conchobar eventually succeeded in capturing Deirdre and killing Naoise, which caused Deirdre to die of grief.
Nephthys f Egyptian Mythology (Hellenized)
Greek form of Egyptian nbt-ḥwt (reconstructed as Nebet-Hut) meaning "lady of the house", derived from nbt "lady" and ḥwt "house". This was the name of an Egyptian goddess associated with the air, death and mourning. She was wife of the desert god Seth.
Nijolė f Lithuanian
Meaning unknown. This was possibly the name of a Lithuanian goddess of the underworld (according to the Polish-Lithuanian historian Teodor Narbutt).
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 and Artemis killed her 14 children with poison arrows. In grief, Niobe was turned to stone by Zeus.
Nymphodora f Ancient Greek
Feminine form of Nymphodoros. This was the name of a 4th-century saint who was martyred with her sisters Menodora and Metrodora.
Ophelia f English, Literature, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek ὠφέλεια (opheleia) meaning "help, advantage". This was a rare ancient Greek name, which was either rediscovered or recreated by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem Arcadia. It was borrowed by Shakespeare for his play Hamlet (1600), in which it belongs to the daughter of Polonius and the potential love interest of Hamlet. She eventually goes insane and drowns herself after Hamlet kills her father. In spite of this negative association, the name has been in use since the 19th century.
Orpheus m Greek Mythology
Perhaps related to Greek ὄρφνη (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.
Pallas 1 f Greek Mythology
Probably derived from a Greek word meaning "maiden, young woman". This was an epithet of the Greek goddess Athena. According to some legends it was originally the name of a friend of the goddess. Athena accidentally killed her while sparring, so she took the name in honour of her friend.
Perpetua f Spanish, Late Roman
Derived from Latin perpetuus meaning "continuous". This was the name of a 3rd-century saint martyred with another woman named Felicity.
Persefoni f Greek
Modern Greek transcription of Persephone.
Persephone f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, probably of Pre-Greek origin, but perhaps related to Greek πέρθω (pertho) meaning "to destroy" and φόνος (phonos) meaning "murder". In Greek myth she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. 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.
Phaedra f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From the Greek Φαίδρα (Phaidra), derived from φαιδρός (phaidros) meaning "bright". Phaedra was the daughter of Minos and the wife of Theseus in Greek mythology. Aphrodite caused her to fall in love with her stepson Hippolytos, and after she was rejected by him she killed herself.
Philomela f Greek Mythology (Latinized)
From Greek Φιλομήλη (Philomele), derived from φίλος (philos) meaning "lover, friend" and μῆλον (melon) meaning "fruit". The second element has also been interpreted as Greek μέλος (melos) meaning "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.
Phyllis f Greek Mythology, English
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.
Pocahontas f Indigenous American, Powhatan (Anglicized)
Means "little playful one" in Powhatan, an Algonquian language. This was the nickname of a 17th-century Powhatan woman, a daughter of the powerful chief Wahunsenacawh. She married the white colonist John Rolfe and travelled with him to England, but died of illness before returning.
Rachel f English, Hebrew, French, Dutch, German, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name רָחֵל (Rachel) meaning "ewe". In the Old Testament this is the name of the favourite wife of Jacob. Her father Laban tricked Jacob into marrying her older sister Leah first, though in exchange for seven years of work Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel too. Initially barren and facing her husband's anger, she offered her handmaid Bilhah to Jacob to bear him children. Eventually she was herself able to conceive, becoming the mother of Joseph and Benjamin.... [more]
Rizpah f Biblical
Means "coal, hot stone" in Hebrew. According to the Old Testament Rizpah was one of Saul's concubines. After her sons were put to death by the Gibeonites, she guarded the displayed bodies for five months to prevent animals from eating them.
Romeo m Italian, Romanian
Italian form of the Late Latin Romaeus or Late Greek Ρωμαῖος (Romaios), which meant "from Rome" or "Roman". Romeo is best known as the lover of Juliet in William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet (1596). Shakespeare based his play on earlier Italian stories by Luigi Da Porto (1524) and Matteo Bandello (1554), which both featured characters named Giulietta and Romeo.
Sabrina f English, Italian, German, French, Spanish
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).... [more]
Sapphira f Biblical
From the Greek name Σαπφείρη (Sappheire), which was from Greek σάπφειρος (sappheiros) meaning "sapphire" or "lapis lazuli" (ultimately derived from the Hebrew word סַפִּיר (sappir)). Sapphira is a character in Acts in the New Testament who is killed by God for lying.
Savitri f Hinduism, Indian, Hindi, Marathi
Means "relating to the sun" in Sanskrit. This is the name of a hymn dedicated to Savitr, a Hindu sun god, and it is also the name of his daughter. It is borne by several other characters in Hindu epics, including a wife of Brahma, a wife of Shiva, and a daughter of Daksha. In the Hindu epic the Mahabharata it is borne by King Satyavan's wife, who successfully pleas with Yama, the god of death, to restore her husband to life.
Scheherazade f Literature
Anglicized form of Shahrazad.
Semele f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly of Phrygian origin. In Greek mythology she was one of the many lovers of Zeus. Hera, 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.
Shahrazad f Persian (Rare), Arabic
Possibly means "noble lineage" from Persian چهر (chehr) meaning "lineage, origin" and آزاد (azad) meaning "free, noble". Alternatively, it might mean "child of the city" from شهر (shahr) meaning "city, land" combined with the suffix زاد (zad) meaning "child of". This is the name of the fictional storyteller in The 1001 Nights. She tells a story to her husband the king every night for 1001 nights in order to delay her execution.
Shannon f & m English
From the name of the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland, called an tSionainn in Irish. It is associated with the legendary figure Sionann and is sometimes said to be named for her. However it is more likely she was named after the river, which may be related to Old Irish sen "old, ancient". As a given name, it first became common in America after the 1940s.
Shelia f English
Variant of Sheila.
Sionann f Irish Mythology
In Irish legend this was the name of a granddaughter of the sea god Lir who went to Connla's Well, which was forbidden. The well burst and drowned her, leaving her body in the river thereafter known as the Sionainn (see Shannon).
Solange f French
French form of the Late Latin name Sollemnia, which was derived from Latin sollemnis "religious". This was the name of a French shepherdess who became a saint after she was killed by her master.
Sophonisba f Phoenician (Latinized), History
From the Punic name 𐤑𐤐𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋 (Ṣapanbaʿl) probably meaning "Ba'al conceals", derived from Phoenician 𐤑𐤐𐤍 (ṣapan) possibly meaning "to hide, to conceal" combined with the name of the god Ba'al. Sophonisba was a 3rd-century BC Carthaginian princess who killed herself rather than surrender to the Romans. Her name was recorded in this form by Roman historians such as Livy. She later became a popular subject of plays from the 16th century onwards.
Sunniva f Norwegian
Scandinavian form of the Old English name Sunngifu, which meant "sun gift" from the Old English elements sunne "sun" and giefu "gift". This was the name of a legendary English saint who was shipwrecked in Norway and killed by the inhabitants.
Tamar f Hebrew, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "date palm" in Hebrew. According to the Old Testament Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah and later his wife. This was also the name of a daughter of King David. She was raped by her half-brother Amnon, leading to his murder by her brother Absalom. The name was borne by a 12th-century ruling queen of Georgia who presided over the kingdom at the peak of its power.
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.
Tiamat f Semitic Mythology
From Akkadian tâmtu meaning "sea". 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.
Tisiphone f Greek Mythology
Means "avenging murder" in Greek, derived from τίσις (tisis) meaning "vengeance" and φόνος (phonos) meaning "murder". This was the name of one of the Furies or Ἐρινύες (Erinyes) in Greek mythology. She killed Cithaeron with the bite of one of the snakes on her head.
Ursula f English, Swedish, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Late Roman
Means "little bear", derived from a diminutive form of the Latin word ursa "she-bear". Saint Ursula was a legendary virgin princess of the 4th century who was martyred by the Huns while returning from a pilgrimage. In England the saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and the name came into general use at that time.
Valdís f Old Norse, Icelandic
Derived from Old Norse valr meaning "the dead, the slain" and dís meaning "goddess".
Valkyrie f Various
Means "chooser of the slain", derived from Old Norse valr "the slain" and kyrja "chooser". In Norse myth the Valkyries were maidens who led heroes killed in battle to Valhalla.
Venera f Sicilian, Russian, Bulgarian, Albanian
Form of Venus, from the genitive form Veneris. This name was borne by a 2nd-century saint who was martyred in Rome or Sicily.
Virginia f English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Greek, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman family name Verginius or Virginius, which is of unknown meaning, but long associated with Latin virgo "maid, virgin". According to a legend, it was the name of a Roman woman killed by her father so as to save her from the clutches of a crooked official.... [more]