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Ancient Greek Names

Ancient Greek Names
Ancient Greek names are suddenly being used for modern babies. The revival of Greek mythology as a fresh naming influence has led to thousands of babies being born with once-unusual names like Penelope, Atlas, and Calliope.

Along with Penelope, Ancient Greek girl names ranking in the US Top 1000 include Athena, Alexandra, Chloe, Paris, Sophia, and Zoe.

For boys, the Ancient Greek name influence is even stronger. Along with Atlas, Ancient Greek boy names ranking in the Top 1000 include Alexander, Theodore, Orion, Leon, and Sebastian.

Now we are moving beyond names from solely mythology and considering names that were used in Ancient Greek culture. There is some crossover between these categories, although Greek children were usually given variations of the names of gods and goddesses, rather than the actual divine name.

Along with Alexandra and Zoe, Greek girl names in the US Top 700 include Anastasia, Chloe, and Irene. Boy baby names ranking highly include Alexander, Damon, Leonidas, Orion, and Theodore. In Greece, popular names include Athanasios, Eirene, Nicholas, and Sophia. Along with familiar choices like Jason, Gregory, and Melissa, you’ll find many intriguing names from Ancient Greece that are waiting to be discovered.

For more Greek names, take a look at our lists of Greek Goddess Names and Greek Baby Names for Modern Kids.

TheodoreHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Theodore is a derivative of the Latin Theodorus, a variation of the Greek name Theodōros. The components are from the Greek words theos, meaning "God," and dōron, meaning "gift," giving Theodore the meaning "God-given" or "gift of God." Names with similar origins include Theodora, Dorothy, and Dorothea.

AtticusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from Attica"
  • Description:

    Atticus derives from the Greek Attikos, meaning "from Attica," the Ancient Greek region that contained Athens. Atticus is a literary name in more ways than one. Before it became synonymous with Atticus Finch, the name Atticus was associated with Titus Pomponius Atticus, a Roman literary figure.

SebastianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "person from ancient city of Sebastia"
  • Description:

    Sebastian is derived from the Greek Sebastianos, meaning “from Sebastia.” Sebastia was a city in Asia Minor—modern day Sivas, Turkey. Sebastian is a name with a substantial history, first as the third-century martyr whose sufferings were a favorite subject of medieval artists, then as the name of memorable characters in such varied works as Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Tempest and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.

AnastasiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine variation of Anastasios
  • Meaning:

    "resurrection"
  • Description:

    Anastasia is the feminine form on Anastasius, a Greek name derived from the word anastasis, meaning "resurrection." It was a common name among early Christians, who often gave it to daughters born around Christmas or Easter. There are handful of saints named Anastasia, including the patron saint of weavers.

OrionHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Orion is a rising star, with both mythical and celestial overtones.

AmbroseHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "immortal"
  • Description:

    A favorite of British novelists including Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse, Ambrose has an air of blooming well-being and upper-class erudition. It comes from the same Greek root as 'ambrosia', the food of the gods, said to confer immortality.

AlexanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Alexander is derived from the Greek name Aléxandros, composed of the elements aléxein, meaning “to defend,” and aner, meaning “man.” According to Greek legend, the first Alexander was Paris, who was given the nickname Alexander by the shepherds whose flocks he defended against robbers. He was followed by Alexander the Great, aka Alexander III, who conquered much of Asia.

SimonHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "flat-nosed"
  • Description:

    Simon is pure and simple (not in the nursery rhyme sense), and an appealingly genuine Old and New Testament name that's not overused -- making Simon a stylish choice. In the Bible, Simon was the second son of Jacob and Leah and the original name of Saint Peter, as well as the name of several New Testament figures. Historically, Simon Bolivar is known as The Liberator of Latin America.

CosmoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, Italian, English
  • Meaning:

    "order, beauty"
  • Description:

    We all heard it on Seinfeld as the long-concealed first name of Kramer, then considered a punchline. Now some pioneering parents are embracing this expansive Greek name, which makes a creative and cool choice for a baby. Influential celebrity couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost chose it for their son, born in 2021, which will likely drive Cosmo up in popularity. In the UK, it currently ranks within the Top 1000 boy names and is trending upwards.

ChloeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "young green shoot"
  • Description:

    Chloe appeared in Greek mythology as an alternative name for the goddess of agriculture and fertility, Demeter. She was referred to as Chloe in the spring months, due to the name’s relation to sprouts and growth. Chloe is also mentioned in the New Testament as the name of a Greek Christian woman.

AlexandraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine form of Alexander
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Alexandra is the feminine form of Alexander, which ultimately derived from the Greek components alexein, meaning "to defend," and anēr, "man." In Greek mythology, Alexandra was an epithet of the goddess Hera. International variations include Alessandra and Alejandra.

DorianHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, name of a tribe
  • Description:

    The Dorians were an ancient Greek tribe, one of the three major pre-Spartan tribes. It literally means “of Doris,” a Greek district, or “of Doros,” referring to the son of Helen of Sparta. Dorian derives from the Greek doron, meaning “gift,” along with related names such as Dorothy and Dora.

LeonHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek variation of Leo
  • Meaning:

    "lion"
  • Description:

    Leon is one of the leonine names that is extremely hot in Europe right now. Although it peaked here in the 1920s, it is slowly making its way back, and it could climb further with parents wanting a more serious and studious alternative to Leo.

SophiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • Description:

    Sophia was derived from sophia, the Greek word for wisdom. The name was first famous via St. Sophia, venerated in the Greek Orthodox church—St. Sophia was the mother of three daughters named Faith, Hope and Love. It was first used in England in the seventeenth century and was the name of George I's both mother and wife.

LysanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "liberator"
  • Description:

    Lysander is a distinctive Greek name that could be thought of as a more creative cousin of Alexander. In ancient history, Lysander was the name of an esteemed Spartan naval commander and his literary cred comes from one of the two star-struck young men in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as one of the twin sons (the other being Lorcan) of Luna Lovegood, whom we learn about in the Harry Potter epilogue.

AndrewHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Andrew is a variant of the Greek name Andreas, ultimately derived from the element aner, meaning “man.” In the New Testament, Andrew was one of the twelve apostles and the first disciple to be called by Jesus. Although the origins of the name are Greek, Andrew is the patron saint of both Scotland and Russia, as well as Greece. It has associations with two of America's most famous artists, Wyeth and Warhol.

NicholasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "people of victory"
  • Description:

    Nicholas is derived from the Greek Nikolaos, a name that evolved from the components nikē, meaning “victory”, and laos, “people.” It shares origins with Nike, the name of the Greek goddess of victory. Nicholas is also a New Testament name that is well-used in literature, such as in Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby.

TheodoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Theodore
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Theodora is one of the most revival-worthy of the charmingly old-fashioned Victorian valentine names, softly evocative but still substantial, as is the reversed-syllable Dorothea. It was borne by several saints and by the beautiful ninth wife of the Emperor Justinian, who became the power behind his throne. A later royal was Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, the older sister of the present Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

AgnesHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "pure, virginal"
  • Description:

    Agnes is the Latin variation of the name Hagne, which itself derived from the Greek word hagnos, meaning "chaste." In medieval times, St. Agnes was a very popular saint, leading to its popularity as a girl's name. Agnes Grey is the title of one of the two novels written by Anne Brontë.

LinusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "flax"
  • Description:

    Can Linus lose its metaphorical security blanket and move from the Peanuts page onto the birth certificate? We think it has enough charm and other positive elements going for it for the answer to be yes.

DamianHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "to tame, subdue"
  • Description:

    Damian has sidestepped its demonic horror movie overtones, leaving a basically friendly and charming Irish image. A well-used upper-class name in England, it is growing in popularity here.

ChristopherHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek and Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bearer of Christ"
  • Description:

    Christopher derived from the Greek Christophoros, which is composed of the elements Christos, referring to Christ, and phero, meaning “to bear.” The name was originally used figuratively, to represent the bearing of Christ in one’s heart. Later it became used to honor Saint Christopher, a third century martyr who became the protective saint of travelers, reflecting the legend of Christopher being the giant who carried the Christ Child over a river.

IreneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "peace"
  • Description:

    Serene Irene, the name of the Greek goddess of peace and one of the most familiar Greek goddess names, was hugely popular in ancient Rome and again in the United States a hundred years ago.

DamonHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Damian
  • Description:

    Damon is a name with a strong, pleasing aura (much like the persona of Matt D.) and extremely positive ancient associations. From the classical myth, Damon and Pythias have become symbols of true friendship, as Damon risked his life to save his friend from execution. And Damon of Athens was the fifth century philosopher who taught both Pericles and Socrates.

DionHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "child of heaven and earth"
  • Description:

    In ancient Greece, a student of Plato; in modern America, a cool guy.

AdonisHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, from Semitic Adonai
  • Meaning:

    "lord"
  • Description:

    The name of a figure from Greek mythology, Adonis is a high-pressure name often synonymous with masculine beauty. Nonetheless, many mythological names that would have previously been deemed off limits have made their way up the popularity charts—for instance, Penelope currently ranks highly for girls. And indeed, Adonis was one of the fastest-rising boys' names of 2016, moving up 307 spots on the U.S. popularity chart in just one year.

ZoeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    The history of Zoe begins in the third century when the Alexandrian Jews translated Eve, which means 'life,' to the Greek equivalent Zoe. Zoe was in use as far back as the Roman classical period, and was popular with the early Christians, who bestowed it with hopes of eternal life, but it didn't migrate to the English-speaking world until the mid-nineteenth century. Alternate spellings include Zoey, Zoie, and Zooey.

DracoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "dragon"
  • Description:

    For as long as we all shall live, Harry Potter's sneering nemesis.

MelissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "honeybee"
  • Description:

    Melissa derives from the Greek word mélissa, meaning "bee," which was taken from the word for honey, meli. In Greek mythology, Melissa was a nymph who nursed the infant god Zeus with honey. Melissa was used as a given name by the early Greeks, as well as for fairies by Italian Renaissance poets.

AgathaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "good woman"
  • Description:

    Agatha until recently summoned up visions of martyred saints, mauve silk dresses, and high lace collars, but now that some dauntless excavators have begun to resurrect it, we're sure more will follow their lead. Actor Thomas Gibson used it for his daughter in 2004.

BasilHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "regal"
  • Description:

    Although Greek in origin--in the fourth century, a bishop by that name established the principles of the Greek Orthodox Church--Basil for years took on the aura of aquiline-nosed upper-class Britishness of Sherlock Holmes portrayer Basil Rathbone, then spiced with the fragrant aroma of the herb that entered with the Pesto generation.

LeanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lion-man"
  • Description:

    Leander is an almost unknown name with great potential as a possible alternative to the overused Alexander. In Greek legend, Leander was the powerful figure who swam across the Hellespont every night to visit his beloved Hero, a priestess of Venus.

EugeneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wellborn, noble"
  • Description:

    Eugene is a classic that has rather lost its way. On the one hand, it's a grandpa, even great-grandpa name that hasn't been one of the cool kids recently—or to quote Jim Carrey, who bears this name in the middle spot, "You can never get too cool with a name like Eugene." The hero of Disney's Tangled felt the same way, when he changed his birth name of Eugene to the more romantic Flynn.

LeonidasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lion"
  • Description:

    Leonidas is an ancient name that has started rising again along with centuries-old names such as Augustus and Cato. The original Leonidas was the most famous of Sparta's warriors, sacrificing his life at the Battle of Thermopylae; there is also a saint Leonidas.

HectorHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "holding fast"
  • Description:

    Previously used primarily by Latino families, this name of the great hero of the Trojan War as related in Homer's Iliad is beginning to be considered more seriously by others seeking noble ancient hero names as well--it was also the name of the knight who raised King Arthur as his own son.

JasonHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "to heal"
  • Description:

    Jason, the Number 3 name for the entire decade of the 1970s -- thus the title of our original baby-naming book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason -- is more likely to be dad's name now than baby's, but it's still a widely used name.

TimothyHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "honoring God"
  • Description:

    A second-tier classic, the New Testament Timothy moves in and out of fashion more than John and James. But though it peaked in the 1960s, many modern parents still appreciate its familiarity and lively rhythm. And the short form Tim feels eternally boyish.

EulaliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "sweetly speaking"
  • Description:

    Eulalia is a melodious name with a southern drawl, thanks to those lilting double Ls.

AchillesHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "thin-lipped"
  • Description:

    The name of the great Homeric hero with the vulnerable heel (portrayed by Brad Pitt in Troy) is widely used in European versions but rarely here. It certainly make a strong statement It premiered on the US Top 1000 list in 2015 and has been climbing ever since.

ChristianHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "follower of Christ"
  • Description:

    Christian has fallen a bit from its 90's and 00's heights, but it's still quite popular. Once considered overly pious, Christian is now seen as making a bold statement of faith by some, while also having secular appeal for others, perhaps influenced by such celebrities as Christian Slater and Christian Bale, not to mention the fashion world's Dior, Lacroix, Louboutin and Audigier.

AndreasHeart

  • Origin:

    Original New Testament Greek variation of Andrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Andreas is a beautiful name, with the patina of an Old Master painting, one that could make a dashing namesake for an Uncle Andrew.

AmbrosiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name or feminine form of Ambrose, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "Immortal"
  • Description:

    Ambrosia combines some of the more whimsical qualities of more popular Aurora and Isabella, with a heavenly meaning.

OrpheusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Meaning:

    "the darkness of the night"
  • Description:

    Name of the legendary ancient Greek poet and musician — whose music was so beautiful it made trees dance and rivers stop to listen — would provide a child with a challenging but indelible identity.

GregoryHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "vigilant, a watchman"
  • Description:

    The Greek name of sixteen popes and fifteen saints, the gregarious Gregory became big in the United States with the emergence of admirable actor Gregory Peck (born Eldred) in the late 1940s. From 1950 to 1973, it was in the Top 30, with nickname Greg becoming a Cool Dude name. So while Gregory may have morphed into an Upstanding Dad Name, it carries the winning combination of deep roots and a modern feel that still deserves consideration.

EuphemiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "fair speech"
  • Description:

    Ancient martyr's name that, though not especially appealing, might still be mildly possible, especially for Anglophiles. It was widely used in early Scotland, but was overtaken by its nickname, EFFIE.

IsidoreHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gift of Isis"
  • Description:

    Isabel and Isadora are back: could it now be time for a more widespread revival of Isidore? In 2014, both Isidore and Isadore were on the list of fastest-rising names in the US.

ZenoHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized form of Greek Zenon, related to Zeus, king of the gods
  • Description:

    Zeno, the name of two ancient philosophers, has a muscular dynamism that's lightened by its cheerful final vowel, resulting in a kind of offbeat sci-fi feel. Zeno of Citium was the founder of the Stoic school of thought, Zeno of Elea was another early, original Greek thinker, famed for his Paradoxes.

CyrilHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lordly"
  • Description:

    A British-accented Greek name with an intellectual image that has been off the U.S. charts since 1966, but was a Top 300 name at the turn of the last century.

DemetriusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "follower of Demeter"
  • Description:

    Classical and Shakespearean name that may appeal if you like your names long, flowing and multicultural.

OdysseusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Meaning:

    "wrathful"
  • Description:

    The name of the brave, resourceful hero of Homer's epic saga has almost always been considered too weighty for a child to bear, but at this point, some brave, resourceful parents out there might be willing to take it on.
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