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Gender: F Meaning of Myra: "sweet-smelling oil" Origin of Myra: Greek Myra's Popularity in 2013: #771

Popularity: this week.

As with many grandmother-y names, this choice may be coming back into style. It rose almost 100 spots between 2012 and 2013, and could climb even higher on the next list.

Myra was invented in the seventeenth century by a poet called Fulke Greville as a short form of Miranda--or perhaps an anagram of Mary-- and it quickly caught on with other poets and romantic novelists, particularly popular with the Scots. There were leading characters named Myra in Sinclair Lewis's novel Babbitt and in Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy. Later it was the name of the central character in Gore Vidal's 1968 Myra Breckinridge, and plays a minor role in the Divergent. trilogy.

Myra was as high as Number 158 in the 1880s; it now ranks at Number 771. A notable namesake is the great pianist, Dame Myra Hess.

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Famous People Named Myra

Myra Hindley, perpetrator of the Moors Murders, dubbed 'the most evil woman in Britain'
Dame Myra Hess (1890-1965), British pianist
Myra Ellen Amos, birth name of US musician Tori Amos (b. 1963)
Myra Maybelle Shirley, birth name of Old West outlaw Belle Starr

Pop Culture References for the Name Myra

Myra Breckinridge, main character of Gore Vidal's gender-bending satirical novel of the same name
Myra, minor character in Veronica Roth's "Divergent" trilogy
Myra Driscoll Henshawe, in Willa Cather's "My Mortal Enemy" (1926)
Lady Myra Hope-Ashburn, wealthy friend to Dr. Gwyneth Cornwell in "The Widow" (1957) by Francis King
Myra Monkhouse, girlfriend to Steve Urkel on "Family Matters"
Myra, 1964 song by The Seekers

Maira, Mayra, Mira, Myree, Myrena, Myria