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Gender: F Meaning of Agnes: "pure, virginal" Origin of Agnes: Greek

Popularity: this week.

Agnes, though it was the third most common English girls' name for four hundred years, has long been stuck in the attic. But now it looks like Agnes was so far out it's just about ready to come back in. It did look cute on a little girl in Despicable Me, and nickname Aggie has lots of retro appeal.

And Agnes has been making inroads in the celebrisphere--first actress Elisabeth Shue chose Agnes for her third child, and more recently Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany named their daughter Agnes Lark.

In medieval times, St. Agnes was a very popular saint, leading to its popularity as a girl's name. Agnes Grey is the title of one of the two novels written by Anne, the third Bronte sister. French pronunciation -- ahn-YEZ -- makes it more attractive, but few Americans would comply. Other interesting variations: the Welsh Nesta, the Latin/Scandinavian Agneta, the Spanish Inez/Ines/Ynez, and the Scottish Segna--which happens to be Agnes spelled backwards.

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Famous People Named Agnes

Agnes Ayres, American silent film star
Agnes Bruckner, American actress
Agnes Moorehead, American actress
Agnes Lark Bettany, b. 2011, daughter of Jennifer Connelly
Agnes Obel, Danish singer
Agnes Varis, prolific philanthropist, founder of Agvar Chemicals
Saint Agnes of Assisi
Agnes Sorel, 1422-50, famous royal mistress
Agnes Charles, daughter of American actress Elisabeth Shue

Pop Culture References for the Name Agnes

Agnes, nerdy character on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
Agnes Grey, a novel by Anne Bronte
Agnes, the real name of Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Agnes Fleming, Oliver Twist's mother (who was seduced by Edwin Leeford)
Agnes, from the movie Despicable Me
Agnes Andrews, character from Gossip Girl
Agnes, from the movie The Poker House
Lady Agnes Holland from Upstairs Downstairs
Agnes and Agatha Pitt from the American Girl Samantha Parkington series
Agnes Adler, character played by Lake Bell in "It's Complicated."
Agnes Wickfield, David Copperfield

Ag, Aggi, Aggie, Aggye, Agi, Agie, Agnesse, Agnessina, Agnis, Agnus, Agy, Agye, Anais, Anees, Aneesha, Aneska, Anessa, Anesse, Anice, Anisha, Anissa, Annais, Anneyce, Annice, Annis, Annisah, Annise, Annisha, Ina, Inah, Nesa, Nesi, Nessi, Nessie, Nessy, Nevesah, Nevsa, Neysa, Oona, Oonagh, Oonah, Senga

Agnes's International Variations

Oanez (Breton) Anka, Anezka, Agnesa, Agneska (Czech) Anneke (Dutch) Agna, Antje, Anke (German) Aignéis (Irish Gaelic) Agnesca, Anete, Agnella, Agnesina, Agnola, Hagne (Italian) Ines, Inez (Portuguese) Agnessa, Agnia, Nessa, Inessa (Russian) Agnethe, Agneta, Agnek, Agne (Scandinavian) Neza (Slavic) Agnese, Ynes, Inesa, Ynez (Spanish) Nesta (Welsh)