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Origin, Meaning, and History of Penelope

The name Penelope is of Greek origin and means “weaver.” The name is believed to have come from the Greek word “pēnelops,” which means “duck.” Some scholars have suggested that the name was originally a byname or nickname for a girl who resembles a duck. In contrast, others believe it is a reference to the weaving skills of the mythical Penelope.

Penelope is a figure from ancient Greek mythology. In Homer’s “The Odyssey,” she was the wife of Odysseus and is remembered for her unwavering faithfulness and loyalty during the ten years when her husband was away fighting in the Trojan War.

While Odysseus was gone, Penelope came across numerous suitors who wanted to marry her. To stall the event, she told the suitors that she would make a final decision on who to marry once she had finished weaving a shroud for her father-in-law. However, each night she would undo her work so that the shroud was never completed. Through her clever actions, Penelope could maintain her loyalty to Odysseus and preserve her household until he returned.

In literature and art, Penelope is often portrayed as a symbol of devotion, loyalty, and intelligence. The name is associated with a strong and steadfast woman who remains true to her beliefs and commitments.

Several notable persons made the name even more popular. They include American actress Penelope Ann Miller known for her role in Freshman released in 1990, American film and documentary director Penelope Spheesris famous for The Decline Of Western Civilization triology, and Australian TV actress Penelope Mitchell.

Penelope has maintained its place in the top 1000 baby names for girls in the US for over a century. However, the name’s popularity took a hit between 1975 and 2000. The name started picking up in the 2000s when celebrities like Taylor Hanson, Tina Fey, and Kourtney Kardashian chose it for their daughters.


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Greek, Judaism
1 word, 8 letters, 4 vowels, 4 consonants
Medium length and moderately easy to pronounce

How To Pronounce Penelope?

Pronounced as peh-neh-loh-pee

The way you pronounce a name can make all the difference.

Listen to the sound of the name Penelope in English.

Famous people with the name Penelope

  • Penelope CruzSpanish actress, won many Academy awards
  • Penelope Ann MillerAmerican actress, popular in Broadway
  • Penelope MitchellAustralian TV actress
  • Penelope SpheerisAmerican director, best known for her documentaries
  • Penelope KeithEnglish actress, popular for British sitcoms
  • Penelope LivelyBritish novelist, winner of the Booker Prize

Penelope On The Popularity Chart

The recent popularity of name has likely contributed to the popularity of the name Penelope. You can check out more details here.

Popularity Over Time

In the US, the name reached its height of popularity after 2010 and since then it remained on the top.

Source: Social Security Administration

Rank Over Time

According to the Social Security Administration’s list of the most popular baby names, Penelope ranked 23 in for girls in 2021. Have a look at the graph to better understand the name’s ranking over the years.

Source: Social Security Administration

Names With Similar Sound As Penelope

If you liked the sound of Penelope but want to check more options, here are some suggestions to consider.

Popular Sibling Names For Penelope

If you are looking for some matching sibling names that resonate with Penelope, check our suggestions here.

Boy Sibling Names For Penelope

Find matching brother names for Penelope and create a wonderful team of siblings.

Binal heart imagePannalal heart imagePanyala heart imagePeniel heart imagePenlea heart imagePenleigh heart imagePenley heart imagePenly heart imagePennlea heart imagePennleah heart image

Girl Sibling Names For Penelope

Looking for some suitable sister names for Penelope? Check out our collection of beautiful and unique names.

Panagiota heart imagePanagiotis heart imagePanan heart imagePandora heart imagePansie heart imagePanthea heart imagePen heart imagePenee heart imagePenna heart imagePenne heart image

Other Popular Names Beginning With P

Looking for more baby names starting with the letter P to resonate with your family’s naming tradition or to rhyme with the sibling names? Find a range of alternative names starting with this letter.

Names With Similar Meaning As Penelope

Like what Penelope means, but want a different name to go with the same meaning? Check out the options here.

Infographic: Know The Name Penelope‘s Personality As Per Numerology


Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

How To Communicate The Name Penelope In Other Languages

In Nautical Flags


In Sign Language


In Braille Alphabet


In Morse Code


Name Numerology For Penelope

Frequently Asked Questions

1.Is Penelope a southern name?

No, Penelope is a Greek name, but parents from various regions use it for their babies. People have been using names from across regions and cultures to create a special identity.

2. What is a good middle name to go with Penelope?

Some of the middle names that go well with Penelope are Celeste, Elizabeth, Grace, Amelia, and Faith. However, the list is not restrictive, as you can get creative with it.

3. What are some facts about the name Penelope?

Penelope, an ancient Greek name that means ‘weaver’ or ‘duck,’ grew to prominence due to its association with Odysseus’ loyal and intelligent wife in Greek mythology. It has undergone a resurgence, earning a spot in the top names given to baby girls in the United States.

4. How many babies are named Penelope?

As per the data from the US Social Security Administration, 6,388 baby girls were named Penelope in the year 2022 (1). This figure indicates the name’s popularity and highlights its appeal among parents.


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