Penelope Origin and Meaning

The name Penelope is a girl's name of Greek origin meaning "weaver".

Penelope is an unlikely 21st century baby name success story. Off the Top 1000 for 25 years, Penelope jumped back on in 2001 and has been heading uphill ever since, propelled by the trend for mythological names, Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, and some high-profile celebrity babies.

In Greek mythology, Penelope was the wife of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey. It has two possible origin stories—Penelope was either derived from the Greek pēnē, meaning "thread of a bobbin", or from penelops, a type of duck. Mythological Penelope was cared for by a duck as an infant, and later was known for fending off would-be suitors by pretending to weave a garment.

Penelope's status as a Kardashian baby name -- Kourtney's daughter Penelope was born in 2012 -- brought the ancient name to widespread attention. The most popular girls' name starting with P, Penelope was also picked for their girls by Tina Fey, by Anna Chlumsky, and by Natalie and Taylor Hanson, of the group Hanson.

Penelope has several British novelists as namesakes—Penelopes Fitzgerald, Mortimer, Gilliatt, and Lively. And yes, she's also a Harry Potter character: Penelope "Penny" is a student at Hogwarts.

A perennial Nameberry favorite, Penelope can be shortened to the traditional Penny or -- Berry style -- the fresher Nell or Poppy.

# 23 in the US

Penelope Rank in US Top 1000

# 34 on Nameberry

Penelope Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Penelope Popularity

Famous People Named Penelope

  • Penelope Cruz (Sánchez)Spanish actress
  • Penelope Ann Miller (born Penelope Andrea Miller)American actress
  • Penelope SpheerisAmerican director and producer
  • Penelope FitzgeraldEnglish novelist
  • Penelope Margaret LivelyEgyptian,British novelist
  • Penelope Alice WiltonEnglish actress
  • Penelope Anne Constance KeithEnglish actress
  • Penelope HoustonAmerican singer,songwriter
  • Penelope "Penny" HeynsSouth African Olympic swimmer
  • Penelope Jane LeachEnglish child psychologist
  • Penelope MitchellAustralian actress
  • Penelope "Penny" OleksiakCanadian swimmer
  • Penelope Savalasdaughter of actor Telly Savalas
  • Penelope Carolyn "Penny" Jacoblate daughter of novelist Piers Anthony
  • Penelope Anne "Penny" Hanson (b. 2005)daughter of musician Taylor Hanson
  • Penelope Jane Charlotte Nannini (b. 2010)daughter of singer Gianna Nannini
  • Penelope Athena Richmond (b. 2011)daughter of actress Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond
  • Penelope Mogol (b. 2012)daughter of fitness trainer Tracy Anderson and Matt Mogol
  • Penelope Scotland Disick (b. 2012)daughter of TV personalities Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick
  • Penelope Salomondaughter of Canadian actress Jessalyn Gilsig
  • Penelope Joan So (b. 2013)daughter of actress Anna Chlumsky and Shaun So
  • Penelope Charlevoix Gnoffo (b. 2015)daughter of TV personalities Terra Jole and Joe Gnoffo ("Little Women: LA")
  • Penelope Froch (b. 2015)daughter of boxer Carl Froch
  • Penelope Juliette Espina (b. 2015) daughter of youtubers Bramty Juliette and luis Espina
  • Penelope Jane Rae (b. 2016) daughter of Sam and Jennika Rae of Samika Vlogs on Youtube
  • Penelope "Penny" ParkerYouTuber with the best laugh, voice actress on "Real,Time Fandub"

Penelope in Pop Culture

  • Penelopeknown in Greek Mythology as the wife of Odysseus.
  • Penelope Lou "Penny" Pingletona character in the film/musical "Hairspray"
  • Penelope Clearwatera character in the "Harry Potter" novels by J. K. Rowling.
  • Penelope Blossomcharacter in Archie Comics and TV's "Riverdale"
  • Penelope "Penny" Widmore Humecharacter on Lost
  • Penelope "Penny" Halliwellcharacter on the TV show 'Charmed'
  • Penelope Garciaa character on TV's "Criminal Minds"
  • Penelope Wilhernprotagonist of 2006 movie "Penelope"
  • Penelope Guerrerocharacter in "The Purge"
  • Penelope "Penny" Prouda character on Disney TV Show "The Proud Family"
  • Penelope Alvarezcharacter from Netflix's original series "One Day at a Time"
  • Penelope "Peppi" Torrescharacter from Svetlana Chmakova's series "Awkward"
  • Penelope Trotwoodcharacter in "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles"
  • Penelope Twitecharacter in Joan Aiken's Wolves Chronicles books
  • Penelope Pussycatfemale cat, love interest of Garfield the cat in cartoon show "Garfield and Friends"
  • Penelope Taintcharacter on the "Amanda Show"
  • Penelope Prisscharacter in the Rooster Teeth animated series "Camp Camp"

Penelope in Nameberry Blog Posts