About the name Penelope

About the baby name Penelope, at Click Baby Names.com

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If you like the name Penelope, find out the meaning, origin, nicknames, variations and other information to help you decide if you want to use this first name for your baby.
Name meaning, variations & etymology

Precious Penelope: A name with legacy

Penelope is a classic name with Greek origins, closely associated with the character of Penelope from Homer’s “Odyssey” — the faithful wife of Odysseus who waited patiently for her husband’s return from the Trojan War.

Her crafty use of weaving and unweaving to fend off suitors has come to symbolize loyalty and cleverness.

Pronunciation of the name

Penelope is typically pronounced as Puh-NELL-uh-pee, spanning four syllables.

The emphasis is on the second syllable.

Origin of the name

The name Penelope comes from Greek mythology, where it was the name of the wife of Odysseus in Homer’s epic, “The Odyssey.”

Penelope is celebrated for her unwavering fidelity, waiting twenty years for her husband’s return from the Trojan War.

The name itself possibly derives from the Greek πηνέλοψ (pēnelops), a type of duck, or πηνελόπη (penelopē), meaning “weaver of threads.”

This second interpretation ties closely to the character’s story, as she wove and unwove a tapestry to delay remarrying.

Over centuries, Penelope has come to symbolize faithfulness, patience, and intelligence.

Popularity of the name

The popularity of Penelope has seen various highs and lows over time.

In the early 20th century, Penelope was generally less common but began its steady climb up the popularity charts in the 1960s.

In the United States, after hovering outside of the top names for much of the 20th century, Penelope began its upward climb in the early 2000s and broke into the Social Security Administration’s top 100 list in 2013.

Celebrities with the name

The name Penelope has been chosen by many celebrities for their children.

  • Penelope Cruz — Spanish actress known for her roles in both Hollywood and international films.
  • Penelope Scotland Disick — Daughter of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, frequently appearing on reality TV.
  • Penelope Athena Richmond — Daughter of actress Tina Fey, emphasizing the name’s appeal to those in the creative industries.
  • Penelope Wilton — British actress known for her roles in “Downton Abbey” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

Characters named Penelope also abound in popular culture:

  • Penelope Garcia — Beloved character from “Criminal Minds,” known for her vibrant personality and tech expertise.
  • Penelope Pitstop — Animated racing driver in “Wacky Races“.

Nicknames and variations

Penelope has several nicknames and variations.


  • Penny — A common and affectionate short form.
  • Nell — Offers a vintage feel.
  • Nellie — Adds a playful twist.
  • Poppy — A more modern and lively option.
  • Lola — While less obvious, it’s a creative take on the name.
  • Pippa — Reflects the name’s Greek roots with a British flair.


  • Penelopie — An alternative spelling that emphasizes the name’s melodic quality.
  • Penelopy — Another variation that keeps the original pronunciation.
  • Pennelope — A doubled consonant adds distinction.

Similar names

For those who love Penelope but are looking for alternatives, there are several names with a similar sound:

  • Persephone — Another name from Greek mythology, sharing a lyrical quality.
  • Calliope — Echoes the Greek origin and ends in the same vibrant “ee” sound.
  • Phoebe — Offers a similar combination of ancient roots and moderninity.
  • Melanie — Though not Greek, it shares a gentle, melodic quality.
  • Eloise — Different in origin but similar in elegance and phonetics.
  • Daphne — Another Greek name that combines tradition with a modern feel.
  • Seraphina — Shares the poetic and sophisticated air.


Also check out these name groups

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baby Name length

8 letters (long name length)

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FREE baby name printable

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