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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

Saint Agnes of Rome, 3rd century virgin-martyr
Saint Agnes of Assisi, sister of Clare of Assisi, abbess of the Order of Poor Ladies
Agnes Sorel, mistress of King Charles VII of France
Agnes George de Mille, American dancer and choreographer
Agnes Ayres (born Agnes Eyre Henkel), American silent film actress
Agnes Bruckner, American actress
Agnes Robertson Moorehead, American actress
Agnes (Emilia Carlsson), Swedish pop singer
Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel, Danish singer-songwriter
Agnes Varis, American businesswoman and philanthropist
Agnes Nixon, American soap opera writer and producer
Agnes Catharina Kant, Dutch politician
Agnes Schierhuber, Austrian politician
Agnes Charles, daughter of American actress Elisabeth Shue
Agnes Lark Bettany (b. 2011), daughter of actors Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany

Pop Culture References for the Name Agnes

"Agnes Grey," novel by Anne Bronte and its main character
"Agnes," novel by Peter Stamm and its main character
"Agnes," comic strip by Tony Cochran and its main character
Agnes, birth name of Esmeralda in Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame"
Agnes Fleming, mother of the title character in Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist"
Agnes Gru, little girl in movie "Despicable Me"
Agnes Andrews, character in the Gossip Girl series
Agnes, character in movie "The Poker House"
Agnes Holland, character on TV's "Upstairs Downstairs"
Agnes Pitt, character in the American Girl Samantha series, twin sister of Agatha Pitt
Agnes Adler, character in movie "It's Complicated"
Agnes Wickfield, character in Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield"
Agnes Gooch, character in movie "Auntie Mame" (famous line: "I'm your sponge")
Agnes Harmon, Arthur's deceased wife on TV's "Maude"
Agnes, nerdy character on TV's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"

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)