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Penelope - What Does Your Name Mean?

Updated on August 19, 2011

What does the name Penelope mean, what is its origin and who are the famous Penelopes? Discover the story behind the name.

Name Meaning:  Penelope

Penelope is a female name pronounced Peh-nel-oh-pee.

Penelope literally means either "thread on a bobbin" (from Greek 'pene') or "duck" (from Greek 'penelops').  There is some debate as to its actual origin.

Name Origin: Penelope

In Greek mythology, Penelope was the wife of Odysseus, king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. Odysseus is perhaps best known for devising the famous Trojan Horse.

Penelope remained faithful to Odysseus for twenty years while she awaited his return, despite marriage proposals from many, many suitors. Legend has it that she managed to delay some of these suitors by promising to consider marriage once her weaving was finished. She then wove by day, and undid the weaving by night.

The name Penelope is pre-Greek, and is often associated with faithfulness, even though this is not the meaning.

Nicknames for Penelope

Penny, Penni, Pennie, Pene, Pen, Penell, Pip, Poppy, Nell, Nellie, Nelly

Famous Penelopes

Penelope Cruz - Spanish actress - born 1974
Penelope Keith - English actress - born 1940
Penelope Ann Miller - American actress - born 1964
Penelope - the first robot to independently work as a surgical instrument assistant - 2005
HMS Penelope - a British naval ship - 1800
Penelope - an open source extension to the Mozilla Thunderbird mail application

Penelope in Fiction

Penelope Pitstop - animated character from "Wacky Races" - late 1960s
Lady Penelope - puppet character from "Thunderbirds" - 1960s
"Penelope" - 2006 movie starring Christina Ricci as a girl with the nose of a pig
Penelope Garcia - character from "Criminal Minds"
Penelope Widmore - character from "Lost"
Penelope Clearwater - character from "Harry Potter"
"Penelope" - song by Australian singer Normie Rowe - 1968
Penelope - cartoon cat mistaken for a skunk by the amorous Pepe Le Pew - WB 1945
"Penelope" - 1966 movie starring Natalie Wood as a beautiful bank robber

Penelope - The Song


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    • profile image

      Penelope St Louis 5 years ago

      I just love my name,I am called Penny for short. I live in the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago to be exact, and identify with the word faithful.

    • profile image

      Penelope 6 years ago

      My nurse calls me pen-a-lop

    • profile image

      Penelope 7 years ago

      that's my nammeee

    • profile image

      penelope 8 years ago

      My name is just beautiful

    • fridayonmymind profile image

      fridayonmymind 8 years ago

      Well spotted!  Very impressive detective work ... lol. Thanks for stopping by. 

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 8 years ago from Australia

      OK, well we must have an Aussie here with that music.  And your hubname is a dead giveaway. My name is of French origins and means youthful.