Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Imogen

Imogen is another high-brow example of a literary name – one that was essentially created by William Shakespeare (in this case for his 1609 play Cymbeline). The source material for the play (loosely based on the works of a 16th century English chronicler by the name of Raphael Holinshed) used the name “Innogen” but either Shakespeare or his printer mistakenly transcribed it as “Imogen”. And from this error, a new English name was born. It’s strongly speculated that Innogen came from the Irish-Gaelic word “inghean” meaning “girl, maiden, daughter”. This would make sense because the character of Innogen (Imogen) is the daughter of an ancient Celtic King of the Britons, Cunobeline (Cymbeline). In Shakespeare’s play – a quasi-tragic romance with a happy ending – Imogen is a beautiful, faithful and virtuous princess. In true Shakespearean style, Imogen falls in love, is forbidden from seeing her only true love, stays virtuous and true for her banished lover, is wrongfully accused of being unfaithful to him, is the target of two ill-conceived murder plots, dresses up like a man to disguise her identity, is taken in by her long-lost brothers, and is finally reunited with her man. The twists and turns of the play’s plot line are nothing short of exhausting – yet everything works out neatly in the end (see literary references below for more information on the character of Imogen). We know for certain that Imogen is a name that’s been around since 1609 (thanks to The Bard), and it has remained in circulation over these past 400 years; however, she has come screaming back into fashion since the 1990s. Ok, maybe not in the United States, but definitely in England, Wales, Scotland and Australia where Imogen enjoys a lot of popularity right now. Americans do have some history with this name, only they’ve always spelled it Imogene and pronounced it IM-ə-jeen. Plus, it fell off the American charts in 1955 and has yet to return. Time to get the memo. Imogen is hot, hot, hot!

All About the Baby Name – Imogen

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME IMOGEN

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME IMOGEN

Imogen has never made the Top 1000 list of American female names. However, Imogene has. In fact, Imogene was quite popular in the 1920s – almost a Top 150 favorite. Eventually Imogene would fall from fashionable use and disappear from the U.S. charts altogether in 1955. Despite Imogen’s popularity overseas in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as Down Under in Aussie Land, modern 21st century American parents just do not take to it. For whatever reason; we don’t know. In any case, we like this name for its Shakespeare connection and literary cachet. We like that it’s actually the result of a misprinting of Innogen and yet still stuck and endured. We like that it’s different and unusual. And we like the simple etymology of “maiden” or “daughter”. There’s just something really sweet about this name.

Quick Facts

ON IMOGEN

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Celtic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

IM-ə-jən

SIMPLE MEANING:

Maiden

Characteristics

OF IMOGEN

Multi-talented

Intuitive

Oneness

Idealistic

Philanthropy

Independent

Perfection

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Imogen

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME IMOGEN

Imogen is the daughter of King Cymbeline in William Shakespeare’s romance, Cymbeline, most likely first produced in approximately 1611. Imogen is such a tender hearted maiden, she is almost too good to be true, but true she is, of heart and of intent. Risking her father’s wrath to marry the low-born Posthumus, Imogen is a beautiful and faithful wife to him. Naturally, he blows it, believing an adventurer who tells him he slept with Imogen. To add insult to injury, Posthumus also plots to have Imogen murdered for her alleged infidelity, a plan which is happily thwarted. After the usual Shakespearean battles, poisonings and cross-dressing escapades, Imogen is reunited with a repentant Posthumus and the latter is now warmly welcomed by the king. In our humble opinion, the lovely Imogen could have done better!

Popular Songs

ON IMOGEN

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Imogen


Famous People

NAMED IMOGEN

Imogen Heap (British musician)
Imogene Coca (American comic actress)
Imogen Stubbs (English actress/playwright)
Imogen Cunningham (photographer)
Imogen Bankier (Scottish badminton champion)
Imogen Holst (British composer/conductor)
Imogen Poots (English actress)
Imogen Thomas (former Miss Wales)
Imogen Bailey (Australian actress)
Imogen Lloyd Webber (daughter of Andrew Lloya Webber)

Children of Famous People

NAMED IMOGEN

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME IMOGEN

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