Choosing a baby name is no simple thing. Not only do you want to like the sound of the name, but it’s important to many parents that it actually means something, too. For some, that means choosing a name that runs in the family or a sentimental name that means something just to you and your partner (and your kid, eventually). Some parents go a different route, choosing cool, niche names that mean fire, old lady or old man names, and even ones that mean sun. For others, that means turning to pop culture or even history, which is why naming a kid after a Greek god, or some version of the name, can be so popular.
Then again, you can run into trouble when you name your kid after a mythological persona. Dionysus might sound great to you when your kid is an infant (or when decorating their nursery to follow the theme), but it could become an issue once they hit middle school and grumble about their unique name.
This is when knowing the Greek gods’ names’ meanings is important. And also having plenty to choose from. With that in mind, the following is a full list of the 12 main Greek gods’ names and their meanings, as well as dozens of other options. But it is by no means an exhaustive list of all the different Greek gods, so if you don’t find something that speaks to you right this minute, with a little research you should be able to find something that suits you and your family.
Greek Goddess Names
Hera is known as the queen of Greek gods, given that she was the wife of Zeus. In Roman mythology, she is known as Juno, which is a cute variation. She is known as the goddess of marriage (even though she put up with Zeus’ many infidelities) and as a protector. If you want to give your child the name of a very good queen, this is it.
Athena is one of Zeus’ daughters, born without a mother, and maybe even his favorite kid, which means she had a ton of power. She is known as a goddess of war, but also of wisdom and reason. Unlike other Greek gods, her story is based on financial dealings and being in the city, making big decisions alongside her father, which makes it a particularly feminist name if you want to read it that way. In Roman mythology, she is known as the goddess Minerva.
Artemis was supposed to be the daughter of Zeus and one of his mistresses, Leto, as well as the twin sister of Apollo. Known as Diana in Roman mythology, she is the goddess of hunting and wild animals. This has led to the name being gender-neutral in modern-day Greek, meaning “butcher.”
Known as Venus in Roman mythology, Aphrodite is popularly known as the goddess of love and sexuality. But it doesn’t stop there — she was born from the white foam that Heavne/Uranus’ severed genitals created in the ocean after his son tossed them into the water, so she’s also known as a goddess of war and the sea. You might want to skip the whole “severed genitals” thing though when you tell people about the meaning behind the name.
Hestia is a lovely name for a girl, as she is known for being the goddess of home and hearth. But not because she is a homebody — rather, Zeus put Hestia, known as Vestia in Roman mythology, in charge of tending the fires where people cooked or made sacrifices, so she received a share of each one people made. Not a bad gig, to be honest.
This name is such a short and sweet name for a little girl. It means rainbow and comes from Greek origin. Iris represents power, royalty, faith, courage, and wisdom. In Greek mythology, Iris was a messenger of Zeus and Hera who used the rainbow to travel between heaven and earth. This name also represents the colorful part of the human eye and a popular perennial flower.
From the Greek word meaning “weaver,” this name gained notoriety through Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. In the masterpiece, Homer is married to Penelope. So, it’s little wonder that the name also means “faithful wife,” as it’s exactly what Penelope was to Homer during his long absence at Troy.
This lovely name comes from the Greek word for “laurel” — and it comes with quite a story. Mythologically, it’s connected to a Naiad nymph named Daphne, the beautiful daughter of a river god. In addition to her beauty, she was known for being resolute in her conviction not to marry or be touched by a man in her lifetime. When the god Apollo relentlessly pursued her, she prayed to the river god, Peneus, to free her from Apollo’s affection. So, he used his powers of eternal youth and immortality to transform Daphne into a laurel tree.
When you think of Greek mythology, you probably think of the gods of Mount Olympus, like Zeus. However, there were two preceding generations of Greek deities: the Protogenoi and the Titans. As the daughter of Protogenoi deities Ouranos (Sky) and Gaia (Earth), Phoebe was a member of the Titans. Today, her name means “pure, radiant, bright, shining.”
In Greek, Chloe means “blooming” or “fertility.” In fact, its literal translation represents shoots of foliage in spring. And it’s little wonder — Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture and the harvest, is sometimes referred to by this epithet.
You might think a name that means “bringer of death” is a bit dark. However, in Greek mythology, Persephone played a very important role as the daughter of Demeter and Zeus and the wife of Hades — the latter of which made her the Queen of the Underworld. Her abduction by Hades is often used to explain the reason for seasons on Earth.
Who wouldn’t love having a name that means “beautiful-voiced”? Plus, Calliope has a cool backstory in Greek mythology, as it’s the name of one of the Muse of Epic Poetry.
More Greek Goddess Names
Greek God Names
As mentioned before, Dionysus is known for being a crowd-pleaser back in ancient Greece, and somewhat of a party boy. OK, we don’t know all that, but he is the god of the grape harvest which means he’s the god of wine. In Roman mythology, he is known as Bacchus, and is often depicted lounging and imbibing on all the things.
Everyone knows that Poseidon is a god of the sea and one who had loads of sons and daughters, including Triton. But he’s also the god of horses and earthquakes. Basically, an all-around powerful dude. In Roman mythology, he’s known as Neptune, the sea god, despite being known for other things.
Hermes was the son of Zeus and Pleiad Maia and is usually known as Mercury in Roman mythology. His name is suspected to be derived from the word “herma” which means a pile of stones that would have been used to mark a boundary. His name also means “messenger.”
This is another name that comes with trouble. Ares is known for being a god of war, but not the just and good kind. No, his name is associated with the devastation that comes with war and for this reason, was never worshipped all that much in ancient Greece. Ares, the son of Zeus and Hera, is known as Mars in Roman legend.
Apollo is likely one of the most well-known Greek gods, as he is associated as the god of literally everything. He is invoked when it comes to, “music, poetry, art, prophecy, truth, archery, plague, healing, sun, and light,” per The History Press. In Roman mythology, he goes by the same name, though he is mostly associated with music in that canon.
Ah, the guy who started it all. Zeus is obviously a multilayered name, given the god’s many levels. Known as Jupiter in Roman mythology, he fathered so many Greek gods and goddesses and had complicated relationships with them all, so it’s hard to come down on just one meaning. That being said, he is generally benevolent and known as the god of the sky, giving that he could control the weather and well, most everything else.
More Greek God Names