Ancient and Classical Names

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 as baby names today. Let’s take a look and see which ones have survived to the modern baby naming lexicon:

  • Calliope Calliope is a recent entry into the American top 1000 as of 2016. It currently ranks #603 and is only getting more popular! There’s also the spelling Kalliope, which was given to 103 girls last year and is closer to the original Greek. This Muse represented epic poetry, and was mother to Orpheus.
  • ThaliaOf all the Muses, only Thalia is a top 1000 name in the U.S. Currently ranking #726, 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.
  • Clio – The history Muse gave her name to 35 American baby girls in 2021. Clio is the Latinized spelling English-speakers traditionally use to refer to the Muse, but another spelling is much more popular. Cleo currently ranks #804 and is still rising, so keep an eye out for both versions going forward!

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 6 babies in 2016. The other names don’t seem to have much if 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) presents potential 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? Let me know! 

Greek Muses.

Revised and updated 1/16/23.

3 thoughts on “The Greek Muses and Baby Names

    1. 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

      1. Interesting! I think since I have a name beginning with Ch but could very well also begin with K, I like those letters 🙂 Thanks again for your blog, because I really find this name study fascinating!

        Liked by 1 person

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