Ancient Greek baby names have come back in a big way as they hold universal appeal to modern parents. Names for girls like Penelope and Calliope have rocketed up the popularity charts in recent years ushering in a fresh reputation for so many of these very old names. These amazing names might be inspired by Greek mythology or simply to honor Greek heritage and to celebrate the lasting influence the culture has had on our world.
While we do plan to highlight some baby names that are popular, our goal is to inspire expecting parents with some unexpected surprises that might be thrilling options for a girl’s name. You’ll find goddess names and more within the list below! Check out these 25 classic names for girls with Greek origins.
It’s a crying shame that Theodora has not appeared in the top 1000 in the US since the 1950s! New parents, get hip to this very old Greek name! Theodora is the female form of Theodore, and like that name, it comes with some amazing nicknames built in! Teddy, Dora, and Thea are all wonderful!
Many royals have borne this name, most recently Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, the older sister of the present Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Roxane is the preferred Greek spelling of a name that comes from Persia but was adopted by the ancient Greeks. Roxanne, Roksana, and Roxanna are all alternative forms of this name that have been popular in one way or another. Roxane means “dawn.” Feminist scholar and activist Roxane Gay boasts this wonderful name!
Sure, you could go with the Greek goddess name Demeter, but we favor the fresher sound of Demetria. But, do you! Demeter is an Earth goddess and if you’re after a subtle nature name, this would be a smart choice. Demetria brings us the excellent nickname, Demi! This name was hot through the sixties and nineties but it has since fallen from favor! Let’s bring Demetria back.
The lyrical name Eulalia features a double “L” sound that’s undeniably fun to say. Eulalia has spawned a number of other names and diminutives in a variety of languages. Eula is the traditional short form, but Lalia or Lally would make more appealing and contemporary-sounding nicknames. In French, you’ll hear Eulalie. In Spanish, there’s the charming Olalla. The sky’s the limit.
Niko is a shortened form of the more traditional name Nicola. Nicola was so beloved that the Romans adopted the name! Niko is closer to its root, Nike, than Nicola. Nike is the goddess of victory and thus, the name means “victorious people.” Unfortunately, this ancient Greek name has not gotten much play in recent years and we think it’s time to reintroduce Niko to the world!
Name a more iconic Greek name than Olympia, we dare you. Olympia of course is inspired by Mount Olympus, home to the gods and the Olympic games. Olympia has not seen much favor in the US since the twenties and we think it’s about time this name starts being used more widely! With the ubiquity of Olivia at this point, Olympia would make for an excellent alternative.
Paris, in Greek legend, was the son of King Priam of Troy and his wife, Hecuba. A dream regarding his birth was interpreted as an evil portent, and he was consequently expelled from his family as an infant. We love Paris as a name for girls and a nod to the romantic French city. The ancient Greeks also called Paris Alexandros which means “defender.”
According to Nameberry, Penelope is a name from Greek mythology. She was the wife of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey. It has two possible origin stories! Penelope was either derived from the Greek pēnē, meaning “thread of a bobbin,” or penelops, a type of duck. Mythological Penelope was cared for by a duck as an infant and later was known for delaying her suiters by pretending to weave a garment while her husband was at sea.
Baby Name Generator
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We love the name Penelope and we’re happy to report that the name is more popular today in the US than ever before!
Sorry for all the P-names back-to-back! Phoebe one of the best of them. A mythological, biblical, Shakespearean, and Salinger name, the warm and captivating Phoebe means “radiant, shining one.” And, if you’re like us, that would be true for famous bearer of Fleabag fame, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
In classical mythology, Phoebe is the by-name of Artemis, goddess of the moon and of hunting.
Old-style imaginative name of the Greek mythological earth mother of all the gods. A lot better than the Roman equivalent: Ops! Ops! Rhea reentered the US top 1000 in 2015. Its only previous appearance on the list since 1968 was 2004. Rhea means “a flowing stream.” New parents, help make this excellent name more popular than ever! It is perfect.
In the Aristophanes comedy, Lysistrata is the Athenian woman who organizes fellow wives to end the war in their country by denying their husbands sex until a peace treaty is signed (Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq was inspired by the tale). Don’t think about that too hard! Lysistrata is an excellent name! It means “she who disbands armies.” Ly, Lys, Lysi, Lyra, and Sissy are all possibilities for nicknames.
Many people believe that Artemisia is the female form of Artemis, but Artemis is also feminine. So, feel free to choose either as you have history on your side! Artemis was the Greek goddess of the moon. The origin of the name in Greek culture remains a mystery but it could possibly mean “holy” or “bear.” Another possibility is “butcher” as Artemis was also the goddess of hunting.
In Greek mythology, Thalia was one of the Three Graces and also the Muse of comedy and bucolic poetry, making this a Hellenic choice that you should absolutely use. The name means “to flourish.” Who would not want that for their baby girl? Thalia has been up and down on the top 1000 list since the thirties. The name is still in the top 1000, but not nearly as popular as it once was.
Sadly, Agatha has not been popular in the US since the 1940s. We think it’s due for a comeback! This ancient charmer was brought to England by the Norman conquest and belonged to the daughter of William the Conqueror. Although it might make you think of Agatha Christie, the name is not all that mysterious. The venerable name means “good woman.”
Zenobia is a name borne by queens, operas, fictional characters, plays, and films. Septimia Zenobia, a third-century Queen known for her beauty and intelligence, is the inspiration for many literary works. The name is often shortened to Zena. Zenobia means “force of Zeus.” This name was most popular in the US in 1909. It’s not had a great run since then.
Aretha Franklin is reason enough to choose this remarkable name, but it does have Greek origins. Aretha means “virtuous.” You’d be hard pressed to find anyone with the name today as it hasn’t been widely given in the US since the 1970s.
This gorgeous take on more common names like Angela or Angelina comes straight from Greek mythology! Angelia is the daimona, or spirit, of messages and communication, and the daughter of Hermes. We love how gentle and loving this name sounds. The Romans gave us the more popular Angela, but Angelia holds its own charms. The name means “angel.”
Chloe debuted in Greek mythology as an alternative name for the goddess of farming and fertility, Demeter. She was called Chloe in the spring months, due to the name’s relation to sprouts and growth. The name actually means “young green shoot.” Chloe is one of the most popular Greek names in the US and today, it’s more popular than ever!
In Greek mythology, Athena is the name of the daughter of Zeus who was the goddess of wisdom, war, crafts, math, and bravery, and more. The name is associated with, and likely comes from, the city of Athens. Thankfully, this gorgeous name is on the rise in the US and it’s more popular today than ever before.
Cora is one of the very best! This gorgeously simple Greek name means “maiden” and is a diminutive of Persephone (Kore), who was the goddess of fertility and the underworld. Cora was not as popular in the 1970s and 80s but it’s making a comeback! Cora is also an exceptional nickname for Cordelia and Caroline if you want to take that route.
Helen of Troy was a legendary beauty who is cited as the reason for the decade-long Trojan War. The name has spawned many variations including the French Helene and Helena, Eleanor, Elena, Ella, Nell, or Leonora. Helen is one of the US’s favorite names but it was at its peak in the first fifty years of the twentieth century. Helen means “bright.”
Cleo is one of our very favorite names on this list. Of course, you could go with the full Cleopatra, but Cleo seems more approachable today. Cleopatra was one of the most powerful women in history and would be an excellent inspiration for this name. Cleo is still in the top 1000 but it’s not nearly as popular as it once was. This Greek name means “shining light.”
Hypatia, an ancient Greek name, has a distinguished namesake. Hypatia of Alexandria was an early philosopher and scholar of mathematics and astronomy. If you’re a fan of the artist Judy Chicago, you probably know that she included a setting for Hypatia at her famous The Dinner Party. Unfortunately, this name has never taken off for baby girls born in the US. That’s a shame because this name means “supreme.”
For fans of Cora who want a little more meat on their baby’s name, Corinna is an alternative with the same root. Corinna is a poetic name that sounds soft and sweet. It had a great run in the US until it fell off the charts in the seventies. We’d love to hear more of this charming name these days.
Zoe was in use as a name as far back as the Roman classical period, and was popular with the early Christians, who bestowed it with hopes of eternal life, but it didn’t migrate to the English-speaking world until the mid-nineteenth century. Before the Romans fell in love with the name, Alexandrian Jews invented it as a translation for Eve. Thus, the name means “life.”
Zoe is one of the most popular names around the world and it’s more popular today, in all of its many forms, than ever before. You will not be sorry if you choose this excellent name. However, we’ve warned you that it’s exceedingly popular.
There you go! 25 classic Greek names for baby girls that truly shine. We hope you enjoyed this mix of unique names and more popular ones as well.
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