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Gender: F Meaning of Hester: "star" Origin of Hester: Medieval variation of Esther, Persian

Popularity: this week.

The disgraced heroine of The Scarlet Letter's name, after long neglect, just might have a chance at revival, following in the wake of sister-name Esther. We've characterized her elsewhere as an eccentric aristocrat, much more accepted in the U.K. than she has been here.

Hester's beyond-Hawthorne's literary appearances include as characters in Theodore Dreiser's novel An American Tragedy, in Oscar Wilde's play A Woman of No Importance, in John Irving's novel A Prayer for Owen Meaney, and as Niles and Frasier Crane's mom on Frasier.

Hetty is Hester's usual nickname, sometimes used independently.

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Famous People Named Hester

Hester Santlow, "England's first ballerina"
Lady Hester Stanhope, traveler and Arabist; granddaughter of British statesman William Pitt, "The Great Commoner" (for whom Pittsburgh was named), and his wife, Lady Hester Grenville
Hester Thrale, English diarist
Paul Newell Hester, Australian musician

Pop Culture References for the Name Hester

Hester Prynne, heroine of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hester Shaw, from Mortal Engines
Hester, Lee Scoresby's daemon in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy
Hester Frump, Morticia's mother on The Addams Family television series (1965-6)
Hester Dethridge, one of Wilkie Collins's "best half-mad villainesses, homicidal keeper of Anne Silvester in her captivity," in Man and Wife (1870)
Hester Crane, character on "Cheers" and "Frasier"
Hester-Sue Terhune, character on 'Little House on the Prairie'
Hester, Sophie's friend in "The School for Good and Evil."
Hester, character from A woman called Fancy, by Frank Yerby

Hestia, Hetti, Hettie, Hetty