Meaning of the Name Helen
Originally used in Greek mythology, Helen has become a popular feminine name. By looking into its Greek origins, I’ve learned the meaning of the name Helen and what it represents.
Meaning of the name Helen: Derived from the Greek name Helenē, the meaning of the name Helen is “bright,” “illuminated” or “light.” It was popular among European Christians throughout the Middle Ages and is now widely used throughout the world.
Origins of the Name Helen
Helen is a feminine name that first appeared in Greek mythology when it was used to describe the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. According to various Greek legends, Helen of Troy was the world’s most beautiful woman. While married to King Menelaus, however, she was abducted by the prince of Troy, thereby provoking an attack on Troy by the Spartan Empire.
While historians believe Helen of Troy was merely a legend, she introduced the name Helen to many people for the first time. Helen was likely used as a given name before its use in Greek mythology. Nonetheless, the story of the Trojan War and how it revolved around Helen of Troy helped popularize the name.
The name Helen became even more popular after it was borne by the mother of an emperor. Saint Helena, also known as Saint Helen, was the empresses of the Roman Empire from 325 to 330. In Christianity, she’s regarding as being one of the most influential persons in history. Throughout her life, Saint Helen embarked on several pilgrimages to recover Christian relics like Jesus’s tunic and parts of the holy cross.
The popularity of the Name Helen
Helen is an incredibly popular feminine name. In 1880, it ranked as the 35th most popular girls’ name in the United States. In 1920, Helen was the 3rd most popular girls’ name in the country. Helen retained this ranking until 1925 when it declined to the 4th most popular girls’ name in the United States. By 1960, Helen further declined to the 117th most popular girls’ name in the country.
While its popularity has declined since the 1920s, Helen is still a very popular name for newborn girls. In 2010, it ranked as the 436th most popular girls’ name in the United States. In 2010, Helen was the 427th most popular girls’ name in the country.
Famous women bearing the name Helen include English actress Helen Baxendale, English author Helen Grant, American actress Helen Hayes, English actress Helen Adams and American author and writer Helen Bird.
Popular variations of the name Helen include Helena, Helan, Helene, and Helaine.