Mermaid Names: Beyond Madison and Ariel
Mermaid names have made it big in recent years. There’s Madison, Darryl Hannah’s character from Splash. Disney christened The Little Mermaid Ariel in 1989, and she and her princess friends are now found on little girls’ gear everywhere you look.
Deema – From the new Nickelodeon series Bubble Guppies, about a group of preschoolers and their adventures with teacher Mr. Grouper
Diana – From 2003 movie Mermaids, about a trio of fish-tailed sisters who set off to avenge the death of their merman father
June – From 2003 movie Mermaids
Molly – Another of the Bubble Guppies
Muirgen – An Irish story says that she was brought from the sea and baptized, and in some tellings, became a saint
Nixie – Yet another name for a water-dwelling spirit
Ondine – A German water sprite who marries a mortal, but never gets her happily ever after. In 2009, Colin Farrell played a fisherman who makes a surprising catch in the movie Ondine; Audrey Hepburn rose to fame playing Ondine on Broadway in 1954.
Oona – Another of the Bubble Guppies
Venus – From 2003 movie Mermaids, and known for posing on a shell in the Botticelli painting
Names That Would Fit a Mermaid
Cleodora – The daughter of a river god and lover of Poseidon
Doris – An ocean nymph from Greek myth
Ianthe – Another ocean nymph
Marina – From the Latin marinus – of the sea
Oceane – Pronounced oh SEE ahn, she’s big in the French-speaking world
Pearl – The jewel of the ocean
Sedna – An Inuit goddess of the sea
Tethys – An ancient Greek sea goddess, and mother of thousands of water nymphs
Waverly – Not related to the word wave, but the connection is irresistible
Ariel’s big sisters in The Little Mermaid
Aquata – Probably the least wearable of the group
From the mermaid statues of Norfolk, Virginia
And if you’re expecting a little merman, there’s always Triton.
Guest post by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain.
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on March 14th, 2011 at 12:12 am
I have an Una (pron Oona) Pearl, perhaps she will take to the sea one day.
There is a lovely series of Australian kids books about a mermaid called Thora, pretty name.
on March 14th, 2011 at 2:01 am
I shouldn’t be surprised that I love so many of these names, seeing as I’ve always loved mermaids.
Faves: Lorelei (the best name ever, in my book), Coralia, Nixie, Miranda, Avalon, Melusina, and Ocarina. That last one is one of my secret favorites! Where did it come from? I play the ocarina, and I’ve always thought it would make a beautiful name.
Charlotte Vera Said
on March 14th, 2011 at 2:32 am
Oooh, this was a fun list! I don’t think that many of these would ever actually show up on a birth certificate around our house, but that doesn’t take away from the thrill that I still feel when reading about mermaids even this many years after I first watched The Little Mermaid as a young girl and fell in love with the tale.
Actually, a part of me would love to put Una/Oona on our baby name list, but she just doesn’t fit into enough of our required categories. Perhaps in the middle for a fifth daughter. . .
on March 14th, 2011 at 9:20 am
Penni, Una Pearl is gorgeous! And I love Thora.
Linelei, I just looked up ocarina, and it means “little goose” – oca is goose in Italian. I guess they thought an ocarina resembled a little goose? What a cool instrument to play! No idea how she got her name, though, and the location of the statue (http://mermaidwatch.blogspot.com/2009/05/ocarina.html) gives no clues!
Charlotte, I think I still know all the words to “Under the Sea!”
on March 14th, 2011 at 9:21 am
Aww, I love this list! Don’t forget Atargatis/Derketo, Aycayia, Lí Ban, and the Nereids (although they weren’t mermaids initially).
I used to want so badly to be a mermaid. Kinda still do. 🙂
on March 14th, 2011 at 11:32 am
Oh, I like a lot more of these than I thought I would!
Ondine, Oona!, Sabrina from the first group. I adore Oona and have her in the middle: Penelope Oona Violet. I love Oona there!
Cleodora’s gorgeous, Ianthe, Nerissa & Pearl are lovely; as are Beatrice, Lola! & Sybil. I think the mermaid link is an added bonus on those last three in particular. I never knew my nickname was a mermaid name! 😀
on March 14th, 2011 at 1:24 pm
So many of these are beautiful! I love Una. I confess I also love Undine, although I wouldn’t use that for a child; I have used it for a character in one of my books, though.
I agree with Abby – Una Pearl is a beautiful name, Penni!
on March 14th, 2011 at 1:59 pm
These are so lovely! I really like Coralia, Ondina, Medusa and Onda (means wave in portuguese)
on March 14th, 2011 at 3:15 pm
Awesome list, I love mermaids!! You forgot Aquamarine, but maybe that was a bit too obvious :-).
FYI, Sedna is also the name of the sea witch in the non-Disney musical of The Little Mermaid, and therefore an equivalent of Ursula… why must villains have such awesome names?
on March 14th, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Undine? Really? Sounds ssssooooooo much like undies as in underwear. Not ok! I hear the teasing already…. My name is the name of a nereid in Greek mythology. Kind of strange because I don’t really like the ocean…but I guess I don’t really like my name much, either.
on March 14th, 2011 at 5:19 pm
I love Melusine, also the name of a great fairy tale. I was hoping that no one else would discover this treasure 🙂
on March 14th, 2011 at 6:49 pm
Sorry ’bout that, Sarah. 😉
And crazynamegirl, I agree – Undine is not the most wearable of names. Ondine seems quite stylish, though.
Kitty, I’m disappointed to learn Sedna is attached to a villain. She was a last-minute addition to the list – I really like her!
Lola, I know! I’m not sure how all of the Norfolk mermaids got their names, but I *loved* reading the list. Penelope Oona Violet has great initials – P.o.V. – point of view!
Filipa, Onda is great.
on March 14th, 2011 at 10:08 pm
I LOVE this list! It totally had me singing the song in the Little Mermaid where all the sisters are introduced. They all fit! lol.
on March 15th, 2011 at 12:52 am
When I was a little girl, and we would play mermaids in the pool, I would often (though not always) choose Shelley as my mermaid name. Now I am a grown up girl, and married to a man who’s last name is Shelley. I get to be a mermaid forever now.
on April 26th, 2011 at 12:49 am
My daughter’s name is Lorelei June, born before either the Gilmore Girls or Mermaids. How curious! We sort of liked the maritime associations of Lorelei, but June is a family name.
on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:21 pm
I just saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Just as good as the first one) any way, the Mermaid’s name is Syrena. So pretty!!!!!!!!!
on June 12th, 2011 at 8:40 pm
I loove mermaids. I think a mermaid’s name should be with three spellings; that makes the whole creature more beautiful, if you see what I mean.
Cornelia, Miranda, Adeleide, Angelica, Melody, Sabrina, Venus, Afrodite, Madeleine, Michelle, Cleodora and Syrena are beautiful names. I also love Tallullah, it’s so exotic and wonderful:)
Katie Ann Said
on June 27th, 2011 at 5:28 pm
Whenever I played mermaids, I was Ripple. Now I think it sounds more like a dog’s name 🙂
on July 19th, 2011 at 2:33 pm
I’m Currently co writing Peter Pan for our local drama group (TOADS)pantomime this year. Found this list very helpful for the Mermaids Lagoon scene! 🙂
on October 29th, 2011 at 5:36 pm
I love mermaids and as a little girl I wanted was to be a mermaid. I played mermaids all the time and liked to be “Ariel” more than myself.
Penni, Una Pearl is a gorgeous name!
on January 18th, 2013 at 12:46 pm
Miranda is on our short list for a girl. Always thought it sounded mermaidish and it had the Shakespearean tempest/shipwreck connection.
I was 10 when The Little Mermaid came out so I grew up loving the name Ariel and pretty much wanting to her. (I dye my hair red to this day.)
One that’s missing from this list is Senara, the Breton saint whose legend had a mermaid twist.
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