"laurel tree, bay tree"

Daphne Origin and Meaning

The name Daphne is a girl's name of Greek origin meaning "laurel tree, bay tree".

In Greek mythology, Daphne was the nymph daughter of Peneus, a river god. Peneus saved Daphne from Apollo’s romantic obsessions by transforming her into a laurel tree. It is from this myth that the plant genus daphne, which contains the laurel species, gets its name.

Daphne's origins may be Greek, but it's seen by Americans as quintessentially British—as in the Daphne Moon character on Frasier and the heroine of the new romantic drama Bridgerton. The shrub inspired the popularity of the name in England, where it became part of the British vogue for plant names at the end of the nineteenth century.

Though we don't see it becoming a Top 100 name in the US, Daphne is obviously finding more widespread acceptance—and for a distinctive, deeply-rooted, attractive girls' name, that's a positive thing. In fact, Daphne has been in the US Top 1000 for every year but two -- 1913 and 1938 -- since 1880, the first year the US government recorded baby names. And it's now at its highest point since the 1960s.

Its most famous bearer is Daphne du Maurier, author of such suspense novels as Rebecca. Fictional Daphnes have appeared in Some Like It Hot (Jack Lemmon as a woman), The Jewel in the Crown, Scooby-Doo, Harry Potter, and Heroes.

# 278 in the US

Daphne Rank in US Top 1000

# 14 on Nameberry

Daphne Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Daphne Popularity

Famous People Named Daphne

  • Daphne Eurydice ZunigaAmerican actress
  • Daphne Miriam MerkinAmerican novelist and critic
  • Daphne du MaurierLady Browning, English novelist and playwright
  • Daphne Jessie AkhurstAustralian tennis player
  • Daphne BloomerAmerican actress
  • Daphne RubinVega, Panamanian,American dancer, singer, and actress
  • Daphne Diana Joan Susanna GuinnessBritish,Irish artist, model, and heiress
  • Daphne GroeneveldDutch model
  • Daphne FowlerEnglish TV quiz show champion
  • DaphnéFrench singer
  • Daphne Winifred Louise FieldingEnglish author and socialite
  • Daphne Margaret Sybil Désirée ParkBaroness Park of Monmouth, English diplomat and spy
  • Daphne Ivory Wayansdaughter of actor Keenen Ivory Wayans
  • Daphne van den Hoogenband (b. 2007)daughter of swimmers Pieter van den Hoogenband and Minouche Smit
  • Daphne Marie CorbozAmerican soccer player

Daphne in Pop Culture

  • Princess Daphnecharacter from "Dragon's Lair"
  • Daphne Blakecharacter on animated series "Scooby Doo"
  • Daphne Leandercharacter in "The Internment Chronicles" by Lauren DeStefano
  • Daphne Grimmcharacter in Michael Buckley's "The Sisters Grimm" series
  • Daphne Paloma Vasquezcharacter on TV's "Switched at Birth"
  • Daphne Allenminor character on Supernatural
  • Daphne Powell character on TV's "No Ordinary Family"
  • Daphne Mooncharacter on TV's "Frasier"
  • Daphne Greengrasscharacter in the Harry Potter series
  • Daphne Reynoldscharacter in movie "What a Girl Wants"
  • Daphne Hatzilakosteacher on TV's "Degrassi: The Next Generation"
  • Daphne Glovermain character on TV's "Underemployed"
  • Daphne Harridge Collinscharacter on TV's "Dark Shadows"
  • Daphne de Lucecharacter in Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series
  • Crown Princess Daphnecharacter on animated series "Winx Club"
  • Daphne Rose Clarkecharacter on Australian soap "Neighbours"
  • Daphne Brooncharacter in Scottish comic strip "The Broons"
  • Daphne Millbrookcharacter on TV's "Heroes"
  • Daphne Millicent Turnercharacter in the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton
  • Princess Daphnecharacter in video game "Dragon's Lair"
  • "Daphne Descends" song by The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Daphne ChandersAmerican "Queer as Folk" series character
  • Daphne Conradcharacter from TV's "Nashville"
  • Daphne Laceycharacter in the "St Clare" book series by Enid Blyton, who has a twin sister called Dora
  • Daphne Yewbeamcharacter in Jenny Nimmo's "The Children of the Red King" series
  • Daphne Diazcharacter on TV's "Stuck in the Middle"
  • Daphnethe only named tunnel toad in "Toad Patrol"
  • Daphne de Vallerandcharacter in Echoes by Danielle Steel
  • Daphne KlugerAnne Hathaway's character in "Ocean's Eight"