By researching its origins, I’ve learned a lot about the meaning of the name Irene. Whether you’re interested in the history or origins of the name Irene, I’ve prepared information about this popular feminine name on this page.
Meaning of the name Irene: Derived from the Greek given name Eirene, the meaning of the name Irene is “peace” or “peaceful” or “harmonious.” It symbolizes tranquility and calmness, which is reflected in its Greek origins.
Origins of the Name Irene
The name Irene originated in Ancient Greek. Etymologists generally agree that it was derived from the feminine given name Eirene, which was frequently used in Ancient Greek literature.
According to Greek Mythology, Irene was the Roman goddess of peace as well as the spring season – hence why the name Irene means “peace.” Along with her sisters, Eunomia and Dike, Eirene was a gatekeeper to the kingdom of heaven.
But Irene was used as a given name long before the Roman goddess of peace. From 797 to 802, Irene of Athens was the empress regnant of the Byzantine Empire. Being a member of the Sarantapechos family, she was born into power, allowing her to take hold of the Roman Empire. Some historians believe that the Roman goddess of peace was named after Irene of Athens. Regardless, both the Roman goddess Irene and Irene of Athens helped popularize the name.
The meaning of the name Irene is perhaps most famous in Spain, where it was the 6th most popular girls’ name in 2006. However, it’s become widely used in other regions of the world, including the United States. In 1880, Irene was the 102nd most popular girls’ name in the United States, with birth records showing that 204 newborn girls were given the name Irene. Around 1918 and through 1919, it peaked at the 16th most popular girls’ name in the country.
In 1980, Irene was the 292nd most popular girls’ name in the United States. And in 2011, it dropped to the 689th most popular girls’ name in the country.
Many famous women have been named Irene. Born 1898, Irene Dunne was a famous American actress who starred in blockbuster movies like “Love Affair” and “The Awful Truth.” Irene Hervey was another famous American actress given this name of Greek origins.
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