Popular Girls' Names from Greek Myth

Greek Mythological Names Inspire Baby Names

Maybe you don't first think of Greek mythological names as being ideal for the modern day baby. However, over the years several names from Greek myths have been risen in popularity with American parents, in part because of their timeless simplicity. The myths themselves, of wisdom, brightness and loyalty, carry additional appeal for parents trying to choose the perfect way to describe their baby girls. 

Greek names combine the best of both worlds--incorporating history and meaning with the fresh new twist on modern-day parenthood. Here are a few of the more popular names from Greek myth that have resonated with parents over the years.


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Sophia took the top spot in 2013, and has consistently ranked among the top 10 most popular girls' names for the past decade, according to the Social Security database. In Greek myth, Sophia is a goddess of wisdom. 


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Chloe also has ranked in the top 20 of popularity charts regularly since about the 1990s, in the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Australia. Its alternate spelling, Khloe, is most often associated with a member of the Kardashian family. But Chloe has much nobler roots than an American reality television show; the name comes from one of the many names of the Greek goddess Demeter. It's a reference to young plants and foliage. 




Possibly made popular by actress Penelope Cruz, the name Penelope came out of nowhere in 2001 to begin climbing U.S. name charts. For better or worse, this is another classic name associated with the Kardashian clan: daughter Kourtney named her daughter Penelope in 2012. It's enjoyed popularity among various other Hollywood celebrities, including Tina Fey, as a baby name. In Greek mythology, Penelope was the long-suffering, loyal wife of Odysseus, and her name has come to mean "loyalty" and "steadfastness." 



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It's probably a safe bet that the popularity of the 1990s television show Friends helped the name Phoebe climb the charts. Originally the name of a Titan associated with the moon, Phoebe's popularity as a name for baby girls remains a favored choice for many parents. The original meaning of the name is simply "bright and pure."


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Melissa, a powerhouse name landing in the top 10 from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s has long been a common name, although she's not as common as she once was. Many don't automatically associate Melissa with Greek mythology, but in fact the name was that of a mountain nymph who took care of Zeus.



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Cassandra peaked in her popularity in the early 1980's, but continues to be a much loved name with a regal sound. The name of a Trojan princess, Cassandra means "shining upon man." Her mythical backstory is somewhat ominous, which may account for the decline in her popularity: Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy by the Greek god Apollo, but cursed so that her prophecies would never be believed. 


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Selene often appears with the more popular spelling, Selena. Often associated with the tragic story of Latin pop-star, Selena reached its peak in popularity in 1995, the year of the singer's death. Selene was the goddess of the moon.


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Cynthia was a name that dominated the top 10 list in the 1960's, but has since dropped in popularity. Even so, the name has continuously appeared on name charts for over a century. In Greek myth, Cynthia was associated with Artemis, goddess of the moon.

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