"white ring, circle"

Gwendolen Origin and Meaning

The name Gwendolen is girl's name of Welsh origin meaning "white ring, circle".
Gwendolen, an ancient Welsh favorite, retired decades ago in favor of the short form Gwen, but now, as in the case all across the naming board, the nickname has faded and the more distinguished original is up for reappraisal.

Gwendolen means "white circle," probably alluding to an ancient moon goddess, and appears in both Welsh and English legend, once as a fairy with whom King Arthur fell in love and another was the wife of the wizard Merlin.

Gwendolen is the name of principal characters in George Eliot's novel Daniel Deronda and in the Oscar Wilde play, The Importance of Being Earnest.

An alternate spelling is Gwendolyn, as in Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer prize for poetry. Gwendolyn, always the more popular spelling in the U.S. and the full name of the character Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years is now at Number 514, having reached as high as 112 in the 1950's.

Singer Gwen Stefani was actually christened Gwen.

Gwendolen Popularity

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Famous People Named Gwendolen

  • Gwendolen Mary "Gwen" JohnWelsh artist
  • Gwendolen Florence Mary GuinnessCountess of Iveagh, British politician
  • Gwendolen Margaret CarterCanadian,American political scientist
  • Gwendolen Mary "Gwen" Darwin RaveratEnglish wood engraver
  • Gwendolen Mary FitzalanHoward, Duchess of Norfolk
  • (Florence) Gwendolen ReesWelsh zoologist and parasitologist
  • Gwendolen Josephine Gyngelldaughter of TV journalist Leila McKinnon & David Gyngell

Gwendolen in Pop Culture

  • Gwendolen Harletha central character in George Eliot's 'Daniel Deronda'
  • Gwendolen Fairfaxcharacter from Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest'
  • Gwendolen Chanta central character in Diana Wynne Jones's 'Charmed Life'
  • "Gwendolen" novel by Buchi Emecheta