Do you find yourself jotting down names wherever you go? I just visited the Met for the first time during a Thanksgiving trip to NYC, and occasionally I’d spot intriguing names in exhibits. The absolute best name I saw there was Artemidora, a gorgeous mashup of Artemis + Dora that means “Gift of Artemis.” Seeing as both Artemis and Theodora are increasingly popular baby names, I think it could work for a modern infant! Artemidora is long, mythological, and elaborate – fitting in with the regal, overtly feminine tones of similarly long names like Anastasia, Isabella, and Theodosia. The Artemidora I spotted was evidently a post-Hellenic, Roman-era Egyptian woman who lived, died, and was mummified nearly 2,000 years ago.
All this talk about Artemidora got me thinking about other possible names ending in “Dora,” so I’ve created a list of names with that ending! Some are still in use, while others are so ancient that the chance of seeing them on a modern baby is slim. “Dora” is a great baby name element because it means “gift,” so maybe you’ll see something here to honor your own little gift!
- Adora – 106 girls were named Adora in the U.S. in 2021. Additionally, 5 girls were named Adorah. Behind the Name says this is a nickname for the Spanish name Adoracion (translated: Adoration), though I’m sure that doesn’t account for all the babies called Adora.
- Adorabella – While this didn’t appear in the birth data in 2021, Adorabella is a cute compound name that’s been showing up sporadically over the last decade. Adorable! I also spotted a much older Adorabelle in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
- Aldora – 6 American girls were named this in 2021.
- Andora – 6 girls. The country is usually spelled “Andorra” and the Star Wars series only arrived in 2022, so maybe this is a variation of Andrea?
- Athenodora – This one’s an obscure favorite of mine from Ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire, spotted in one of my Greek classes several years ago. It means “Gift of Athena.” As far as I can tell, nobody is being named Athenadora right now, but I did find a rather rare masculine form in the SSDI.
- Apollidora – Extremely rare women’s name meaning “Gift of Apollo.” I couldn’t find any examples in the data, and the closest I could find were a couple variations of the men’s version Apollidore.
- Artemidora – I couldn’t find any examples in Social Security Administration (SSA) birth data, but I did find a masculine form in the SSDI.
- Callidora – 5 girls. Callidora sounds like a Harry Potter character, but this name meaning “beautiful gift” is closer to the name of an Edmund Spenser character. Sir Calidore can be found in the pages of the Faerie Queene.
- Dora – 81 girls. Sometimes short, sweet, and to-the-point does the trick. I wonder if any are named after Dora the Explorer?
- Elladora – This was used a handful of times in the early 20th century, and I’m just waiting for it to come back!
- Eudora – Just 13 baby girls in 2021 received this vintage mythology name made famous by author Eudora Welty. It means “good gift.”
- Heliodora – Derived from Heliodoros, which means “Gift of Helios.” Helios was the Greek god or personification of the Sun, which makes this a great choice for parents who want a bright, sunny baby name. There were a lot of American women named Heliodora in the SSDI, but none in the birth data. Sometimes it also appears spelled Heleodora, Helidora, or Eliodora.
- Isadora / Isidora – Isadora is the more popular spelling variation of Isidora, itself a feminine form of Isidore / Isidoros which means “Gift of Isis.” Isadora Duncan was a renowned dancer in the early 20th century. This is a great alternative to Isabella and while it’s still a rare name, 135 baby girls were named Isadora in 2021, while only 21 girls were named Isidora.
- Lendora / Lindora / Lynndora – Turn-of-the-century charmer that’s more likely to be revived as Doralynn. There are quite a few women with variations of this name in the SSDI.
- Musidora – Meaning “Gift of the Muses,” this is a great choice for creative parents. It was the stage name of a French silent-film actress, and was evidently a popular artistic subject in the 18th and 19th centuries. Musidora is also an obscure Harry Potter reference to the Wizard Card of Musidora Barkwith, a musician. The SSDI lists a few women named Musidora and a few men named Musadore or Musidore.
- Nymphadora – Tonks wasn’t the first person or character to own this name, but she may be the last. Meaning “Gift of the Nymphs,” it also belonged to an early saint. I found what looked a Modern Greek spelling and a masculine form in the death data, but even with its Harry Potter connection the “nymph” part scares off today’s prospective parents.
- Pandora – 39 girls. Pandora was one of the human story’s original bad girls, said to open Pandora’s Box and let all the bad things escape into the world. Today more people are familiar with the music streaming service, though unlike the Amazon Alexa, a baby Pandora isn’t likely to have to compete with a device.
- Theodora / Theadora / Teodora – The most popular Dora name by far is Theodora (“Gift of God”), which finally escaped the perpetual namenerd radar when Theodore (now the #10th most popular boys name in the country!) took off. Its most famous bearer is probably Empress Theodora of Byzantium, though today’s parents may be more familiar with Theodora Jagger. Out of all the names on this list, Theodora is the only Dora name that ranks in the U.S. top 1000, appearing at #734 in 2021. Spelling variant Theadora was used 90 times, and international Teodora appeared 21 times last year.
With Theodora rising as quickly as it is, don’t be surprised if “Dora” becomes a more popular name ending in the way that “Bella” and “Lynn” did in the last 10-20 years. I expect to see parents choosing or creating options like Lunadora in the near future. Who doesn’t want their child’s name to mean “gift” or “gift of?”
What do you think of these names? Let me know!
Sources: I used the Social Security Administration (SSA) for baby names and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for when I couldn’t find a living person with a name. For definitions, I usually double-check Behind the Name.
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