A Spring Flowering of Greek Names
Spring is the time of year for gentle rains and soft winds, the greening of leaves and the growing of flowers. The animals are all awakening and the season of rebirth starts. It’s probably the most romanticized season. Historically, Spring has been known as the time for having babies, for birth and fertility and in recent studies, Spring and mid-Summer have statistically had more births. If you’re looking for a name that represents the springtime and all its lovely flowers and greenery, I have a list of generally underused Greek names just for you.
Goddesses of the Spring
Persephone – Persephone is pronounced per-SEF-oh nee and she’s the queen of the underworld, wife of Hades and goddess of spring growth. While Persephone generally has a bad rep, it’s really a very lovely name. She’s the reason we have flowers and green things during the Spring and Summer. Though her name has been attributed to having a negative meaning, it’s really an unknown as the words for ‘dark blue’ and the word for ‘sound’ both appear in her name.
Eirene – Eirene is pronounced EE-ree-nee and she is the spirit of peace and goddess of the springtime. This is the ancient form of the name Irene. To me, it has a cute sound, too cute for me, but could fit right in with the trend of nickname names on the girls nowadays.
Thallo –Thallo is pronounced THA-loh (A like in apple) and she’s the goddess of spring buds and shoots. The name literally means ‘the one who brings blossoms’ and if you don’t like the boyish sound of Thallo, try the alternative form, Thalatte (tha-LA-tee, the A’s like in apple). With the trend of boys names on girls, this one has a boyish sound (like Milo or Hugo) but it’s still a legitimately female name.
Auxo – Pronounced OX-oh, she was a minor goddess of Spring growth. I generally prefer the more feminine form, Auxesia (ox-ES-ee-ah) which I think has a flowing, hissing sound I find really pleasing, but for those who want a spunky, tomboyish name, this one, like Thallo, could be for you.
Eiar – This name is pronounced EE-ahr and she’s the goddess of the spring. If you want my honest opinion, I think this name has a cool sound, but would be much better suited for the middle spot as I can see kids on the playground saying the name like a donkey sound. It would make a lovely middle name with something longer and more consonant heavy in the front.
Antheia – This is pronounced AHN-the-ah and she is the goddess of flowers and flowery wreaths. She was one of the Charites or Graces. This is another one that just rolls off the tongue when you say it. It’s lovely and lyrical and lends itself to the nicknames Thea or Annie. If you want a more ‘modern’ form, use the Roman version, Anthea.
Ancient Greek Names Relating to Nature
Chloe – Pronounced KLO-ee, this is a well-used name, in the US Top 10. Despite that fact that it is so accessible and so well liked, Chloe is an ancient name. As far as its nature meaning, Chloe means ‘green shoot’ and started out as an epithet for the goddess Demeter.
Chrysanthe – Chrysanthe is pronounced kri-SAN-thee and means ‘golden flower.’ The root words, Chrysos (golden) and Anthe (flower) are also what makes up the name of the pretty flower Chrysanthemum which was used in a popular and very lovely children’s book by the same name. While Chrysanthemum might seem like too much for a lot of people, perhaps the ancient name Chrysanthe seems more usable.
Euthalia – Euthalia is pronounced u-THAY-lee-ah and means ‘flower, bloom.’ Though names with the EU sound at the beginning aren’t popular at all right now (Euphemia, Eugenia, Eulalia, Eunice being examples) but I think this name has a certain sound that makes it just pretty enough to work with modern parents. It’s an ancient name that deserves a chance.
Chrysanthos – Chrysanthos is pronounces kri-SAN-thos and means ‘golden flower.’ One famous Chrysanthos was Chrysanthos of Madytos who was a poet, chanter and Archbishop of Madytos. He was responisible for a reform of the Byzantine notation in music and is why we have the Chrysanthine notation. For parents looking for something older or more adventurous than Christopher, this could be for you.
Hyacinthus – Hyacinthus is pronounced hi-ah-KIN-thus and comes from Greek mythology. In the myth, Hyacinthus was accidentally killed by Apollo who then caused a lily to grow from his blood. Several early saints bore this name and is where we get the name for the Hyacinth flower. If Hyacinth is viable for a girl, why not Hyacinthus for a boy?
Neophytus – Pronounced nee-oh-FI-tus, this one has a cool nickname but a very old sound. This one might be a little too much for most parents, but it does have a very interesting sound and could be perfect for someone seeking a name this adventurous. It means ‘newly planted.’
Thales – Thales is pronounced THAH-lees and comes from the Greek word Thallo meaning ‘to blossom’. There was a pre-Socratic philosopher named Thales. Aristotle regarded him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition. I think it has a very cool sound, and assessable nickname (Lee), and a very nice historical connection.
Zoticus – This is pronounced ZO-ti-cus (the Zo sort of like Zah) and means ‘full of life’ just like Spring is full of life. It has that cool, zippy Z at the beginning and just generally has a very unusual but daring sound.
And then, of course, there’s Phoenix which is a bird from Greek mythology that represents rebirth. The Phoenix dies and is reborn from its own ashes over and over again. It’s a symbol that has always represented renewal and rebirth. While I think Phoenix works the best on a boy, it is gaining ground on the girl’s side. It’s number 388 on the boys side with 723 births and 645 on the girls side with 439 births.
Angel Thomas, better known on Nameberry as Dantea, is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for onomastics who writes fantasy novels in her spare time. Her knowledge of Greek names stems form her ancestry and her religion.
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on May 7th, 2013 at 12:21 am
Nice blog, Dantea 😉 Although, to be honest, I wouldn’t use any of these names. Some are quite pretty (Persephone, Antheia, Chrystanthe), but they’re all Greek to me! Maybe a bit too much for someone who isn’t Greek.
on May 7th, 2013 at 4:31 am
Always been a fan of Persephone and Chrysanthe. Eiar and Thalatte are new to me; I love Thalatte and am adding it to the list! Eiar might be a bit too much of a target, though, I agree.
With Euthalia, is the “eu” sound a “you” sound (as in the actual word you), or an “uh” sound (rhymes with the end of Erica)? Another words, is the “e” silent? Or did you mean something else entirely? Ooh, rhymes with BOO? I rather like it with the silent e (uh sound), never been a fan of names that begin with the “you” sound. Sorry if this is confusing, I’m very bad at pronouncing names.
On the boys side, I think Chrysanthos would work great. I really like Thales and Zoticus, too.
on May 7th, 2013 at 6:18 am
Great post, Dantea! Eirene is particularly pretty.
on May 7th, 2013 at 8:08 am
Awesome blog Angel,
My moms name is Irene (more pronounced like in greek though).
And I really like Eiar could see that as a mn for a baby girl with a twin with “matching” middle IO.
on May 7th, 2013 at 9:27 am
Very interesting post, I really enjoyed learning more about unusual Greek names 🙂
I think my girl favourite is Antheia, but I don’t personally like any of the boy names.
on May 7th, 2013 at 1:57 pm
I’m glad you all enjoyed it. I’m glad I helped give you all some names you could add to your lists. ^_^
Sarahmezz — lol It’s fine. Greek names aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. ^_^
Redwoodfey — Euthalia has a beginning sound like YOU or the letter U.
on May 7th, 2013 at 4:23 pm
Thanks for the blog (and thank you, thank you for including pronunciations!) I like a lot of Greek or Greek-root names, and these unusual ones are intriguing. Chrysanthe and Chrysanthos might be my favorites. The chrysanthemum is my birth-month flower, but these versions are more usable than Chrysanthemum.
I also think Thalatte, Antheia and Euthalia are gorgeous (I like the similar Eulalie/Eulalia, too.) I like Thales pretty well and think Hyacinthus and Neophytus are pretty cool, especially for middle names. I could see the negative connotations of the word neophyte being a problem with Neophytus, though.
on May 7th, 2013 at 4:33 pm
I love Chrysanthe! I used it for a character in a story about ancient Greece (alongside Demosthenes and Cyrus :)) and thought it was an undiscovered gem. Also, Antheia is really pretty!
By the way, you wouldn’t happen to know anything about the name Christofily, would you? I can’t seem to find it anywhere, but I once had a teacher named Christofily, and she was very Greek. I’m guessing since “philia” means friend-like love (I think?), it might be a phonetic way of saying “best friend of Christ.” Any insight?
on May 7th, 2013 at 4:50 pm
Hi jame1881. From what I can tell, your teachers name is a misspelling (or ‘alternate’) of Christophile which is a feminine form of Christophilos. Chrsitophilos (kris-to-fee-los) comes from the Greek Christos (Christ) and Philos (Friend) and would mean ‘friend of Christ’ . So you were on the right track ^_^
Thank you all again. I’ll be doing more Greek name posts in the future ^_^
on May 7th, 2013 at 5:46 pm
Thanks! I look forward to your future posts!
on May 7th, 2013 at 8:09 pm
My daughter has a goddess name a Roman one, I like Greek god/godess names but think we will steer away from a god/godess theme with baby name too. I really enjoyed reading this blog post and discovering new gems 🙂
I especially am drawn to- Thallo & Zoticus
on May 7th, 2013 at 8:09 pm
*baby number two* not baby name too!
on June 8th, 2013 at 7:40 am
I just found this. Dantea! Great blog. Chrysanthe is amazing, and I’m wondering where I was on this one all this time. As long as I can avoid the nickname Chris… 🙂
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