The Greek Muses and Baby Names


There are nine well-known Muses in Greek Mythology, but not all of their names actually enjoy any usage today.  Let’s take a look and see which ones have survived to the modern lexicon:

  • ThaliaOf all the Muses, only Thalia is a top 1000 name in the U.S.  Currently ranking #789, Thalia was not only the name of the comedy Muse but also one of the Graces (Charites).  So, there were at least two of them in Greek Mythology.
  • Calliope – This will probably be the next Muse to crack the top 1000.  Last year, there were 218 Calliopes born in the U.S, up from 197 in 2014 and 187 in 2013.  There’s also the spelling Kalliope, which was given to 65 girls last year.  Anyway, this Muse represented epic poetry, and was mother to Orpheus
  • Clio – The history Muse gave her name to 37 American baby girls in 2015. 

Unfortunately, the extended data doesn’t indicate the presence of any other babies named after Muses in 2015.  Ourania (Astronomy) did recently appear, given to 5 babies in 2014.  The other names don’t seem to have any history in the American data.

I can’t see Erato (love poetry) or Euterpe (lyric) getting trendy any time soon, but I’d love it if Polyhymnia (sacred music/poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), or Terpsichore (dance) picked up steam.  Urania (likely the better-recognized spelling of Ourania) potentially presents playground pronunciation problems in American English if everyone still enunciates “Uranus” the way I think they might, but that hasn’t stopped the spelling from occasionally appearing in the data.

Do you have a favorite Muse name? 


3 thoughts on “The Greek Muses and Baby Names

    • Between the two I think I prefer Calliope (appears softer, more refined), though I know Kalliope is probably closer to the original Greek. When names originally spelled in Greek with kappa’s and chi’s suddenly become C’s and Ch’s in English instead of K’s and Kh’s, I think it’s because Latin got involved.

      Liked by 1 person

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