Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Daphne

Daphne comes to us from Greek mythology. In Greek the name Daphne (Δάφνη) means “laurel” which is connected to her legend. Daphne is a minor nature deity in classical Greek mythology but her story is significant nonetheless. Born a mountain nymph, the daughter of a river god, the beautiful Daphne, sworn to her virginity, spurned all men who loved her. In accordance with the typical mythological trickery, the god of love, Eros, stung Apollo with his arrow so that he fell deeply in love with Daphne (apparently Apollo gained the spiteful wrath of Eros by scoffing at his archery skills). This event sent Apollo into hot pursuit of Daphne. She escaped Apollo’s unwanted affections by begging her father to come to her rescue – and so he transformed Daphne into a laurel tree. Devastated by his loss, Apollo made a wreath of her leaves which became his cult symbol. In ancient Greece and Rome, laurel crowns were given to those who demonstrated achievements on a grand scale and came to symbolize victory. Ovid’s Metamorphoses recounts Apollo’s heartbroken words “’My bride’, he said, ‘Since you can never be, / At least, sweet laurel, you shall be my tree.’” The name Daphne came into modest vogue in the late 19th century among English speakers. Daphné is relatively popular among the French and it is also a name used in the Netherlands.

All About the Baby Name – Daphne

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME DAPHNE

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME DAPHNE

Daphne has been around on the American female naming charts since the late 1800s. At the turn of the 20th century, this was a name rarely used – enough to make the charts, but at very low levels of popularity it was hardly detectable. As the decades progressed into the last century, Daphne grew discreetly. The height of this name’s popularity came in the 1960s, but still she was on the lower end of moderation. In fact, the highest spot she’s ever achieved on the charts was at position #266 (1962) which makes her a pretty uncommon choice overall. Since we’ve entered the 21st century, Daphne is showing some promise (she’s advanced almost 200 positions up the charts in a little over 10 years), but, alas, the name is still scarcely used. This is simply baffling. Daphne is underused and neglected in our opinion, but all the better for parents who abhor overly trendy names. In reference to “fun” pop-trivia, Daphne Blake is the pretty, wealthy, danger-prone, red-headed fashionista in the Scooby-Doo cartoons. And Daphne Moon is the quirky, sarcastic live-in housekeeper on the popular “Frasier” sitcom. In 1938 the opera “Daphne” composed by Richard Strauss was first performed. Another opera called “Daphne” performed in 1598 (for which the score does not survive) is widely considered the very first opera ever composed. The name Daphne has ancient roots, mythological mystique, victorious meaning, operatic glory, and timeless beauty. What’s NOT to like about this name???

Quick Facts

ON DAPHNE

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

397

PRONUNCIATION:

DAF-nee

SIMPLE MEANING:

Laurel, victory

Characteristics

OF DAPHNE

Communicative

Creative

Optimistic

Popular

Social

Dramatic

Happy

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Daphne

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME DAPHNE

Daphne is a nymph in Greek mythology, who is said to have been pursued by the Olympian god, Apollo. It all came about because Apollo, a great archer, happened to make fun of little Cupid (Eros) and his arrows of love. Gods don’t like being dissed by gods, and Eros was no exception. So he made up two arrows, one tipped in gold, to inspire love and one tipped in lead, to inspire loathing. Off he shot them, one into Apollo, one into Daphne. Guess who got which? So Apollo endlessly ran after Daphne and she endlessly ran away from him. Finally becoming weary, she appealed to the gods for help, and she was transformed into a laurel bush. When Apollo reached the laurel, he loved it and claimed it as his own, adorning himself with its leaves and crowning winners of the Pythian games with its sacred wreaths. We really like this name, but you have to decide if you’d want your child to be a tree or the plaything of a god.

Popular Songs

ON DAPHNE

Daphne
is an opera by Richard Strauss

Daphne Descends
a song by The Smashing Pumpkins

Daphne and Apollo
a song by Nerina Pallot

Famous People

NAMED DAPHNE

Daphne Zuniga (actress)
Daphne Du Maurier (writer)
Daphné (French singer)
Daphne Guinness (Irish socialite)

Children of Famous People

NAMED DAPHNE

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Daphne

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME DAPHNE

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Daphne