Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Agnes

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Greek, Latin
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • N/A
Simple meaning:

Characteristics of Agnes

  • Independent
  • Individualistic
  • Ambitious
  • Strong-willed
  • Inventive
  • Successful

Etymology & Historical Origin - Agnes

Agnes is the Latinized form of the Greek name Hagnē (Ἁγνὴ), derived from “hagnos” meaning “chaste, pure”. Usage of this name is owed almost entirely to an early 4th century saint, one of the so-called “virgin-martyrs”, Agnes of Rome. St. Agnes holds the distinction of being one of only seven female saints (excluding the Virgin Mary) commemorated in the Canon of the Holy Mass (the other six are: Cecilia, Agatha, Lucy, Perpetua, Felicity and Anastasia). Born to the Roman aristocracy c. 291, Agnes was not only educated and wealthy, but she was also said to be quite beautiful and not without her share of male admirers. However, the “chaste” Agnes, a girl of about 13, refused to marry anyone, as she had already given herself over to Christ. One of her rejected suitors turned her into the Roman authorities, essentially “outing” her as a Christian (illegal in the then-pagan Roman Empire), and she was consequently condemned to death. Since it was against Roman law to execute a virgin, Agnes was dragged to a brothel in an attempt to deflower her. Of course, according to legend, the Holy Spirit interceded and all sorts of miraculous circumstances prevented her rape (she grew hair all over her body, the men were struck blind before they could attack her, and so forth). As with many early saints, a cult grew up around Agnes in the Middle Ages which served to spread the name throughout Christian Europe by the 11th century; a particular favorite among royalty and noblewomen. Adding further dimension to this age old name is the fact that “agnus” is the Latin word for “lamb” (so you often see St. Agnes depicted with a lamb by her side or in her arms). Agnes has been a highly popular female name since medieval times owing almost exclusively to this 13 year old saint. During the Middle Ages, the English originally rendered Agnes as Annis. Today Agnes is most popular in Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway and Denmark), the Spanish equivalent is Inès and the French Inés (ee-NES). Ines is ranked #25 and #5 in Spain and France, respectively. Agnes is no longer popular in English-speaking countries.

Popularity of the Name Agnes

We have one question: what happened to Agnes? When we look back at the turn of the 20th century (i.e., 1900), we find that Agnes was a Top 50 favorite baby girl’s name in the country. Fast forward to the 21st century and Agnes no longer even ranks in the Top 1000 (in fact, she fell off that list way back in 1973)! Today we see a growing trend in naming practices that favor these old-fashioned favorites (i.e., names which were all the rage more than 100 years ago). Renewed interest and increased popularity in names such as Emma, Lillian, Alice, Grace, Rose, Pearl, Hazel and Elsie is quite evident. Yet there are several old grandmotherly names that American parents are snubbing today (e.g., Florence, Ethel, Edna, Mildred, Gladys, Gertrude, Bertha, Mabel, Myrtle, Edith and Louise). Agnes is one of these names covered with overgrown ivy and cobwebs. That’s good news for parents looking for something vintage, yet not too trendy or overused. While some might find the name too “saintly” (like it belongs on a nun), or too harsh in sound (like Agatha), we find Agnes to be a hidden charmer and a great choice for folks who like the classics and appreciate its historical value. This one’s overdue for a comeback in our book. Aggie, Nessie and Nessa are common nicknames.
Popularity of the Girl Name Agnes
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Agnes

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Agnes

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Agnes

    Agnes Grey (Agnes Grey) Agnes Grey is the titular character of Anne Bronte’s first novel, published in 1847. Agnes is a humble governess (well, who among the Brontes’ heroines isn’t?!) whose indignities suffered at the hands of heedless employers are heart-wrenching. Agnes is employed by a series of heartless rich people who think their children are perfect; the children, of course, are anything but. Poor Agnes seems to have little recourse, and she is, in fact, powerless. To be young, poor and female in her time was to have innocently signed on for a life of hardship. The only solution was to find a man, which Agnes does, in the person of the good parson, Edward Weston. After the usual misunderstandings, they marry and live happily ever after in the finest of Victorian traditions. Anne Bronte’s own fate was not as fortunate – she got the governess part, but she didn’t get the man. Moreover, she died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine. Even marrying a parson would be preferable.

    Agnes Wickfield (David Copperfield) Agnes Wickfield is a character in Charles Dickens’ 1850 masterpiece, Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account), familiarly known to most of us as David Copperfield . Agnes is the “angel” of the story, famously always pointing upward, presumably toward the heavens. A companion of David’s since childhood, she is the epitome of Victorian feminine goodness and purity, tenderly caring for her father and stoically loving David while he lusts after the adorable (if dim)Dora and others. Patience and virtue win the Victorian day. After David and Dora marry and she succumbs to a fatal miscarriage (nursed by Agnes, no less!), David comes to his senses and marries the patient, angelic, sensible and long-suffering Agnes. And she, no wilting violet, produces not one, not two, well, go and count them yourself – healthy children. We are led to believe, in spite of all this, that Agnes lived happily ever after.

    Agnes/Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) Agnes is the name of the baby stolen by gypsies, who replace her in her crib with the disfigured infant Quasimodo, in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Her mother flees Rheims in her grief, and the baby Quasimodo is sent to the orphanage at Notre Dame. In the meantime, having been renamed Esmeralda and happily raised by the gypsies, the baby Agnes grows up to live with them in Paris and earns a living as a dancer. She comes to the attention of the evil Frollo and is rescued from a fate worse than death by the kind-hearted Quasimodo. He, in turn is aided by her when he runs afoul of the law, but ultimately, they both succumb to a tragic end. The story has had many treatments, but perhaps it is the Walt Disney 1996 animated version that delights us most (and presents a happy ending). Esmeralda is as beautiful as ever, with her emerald green eyes, but she is perhaps a tad more independent and self-willed (voiced by Demi Moore). In this incarnation, both Esmeralda and Quasimodo are spared, he to come into the fruition of belief in his own self-worth, and she to a satisfying denouement in which she happily marries her true love, Captain Phoebus.

  • Popular Songs on Agnes

    Popular Songs on Agnes

    Agnès - a song by Frédéric Espel

    Agnes - a song by Donnie Iris

    I Got It From Agnes - a song by Tom Lehrer

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Agnes

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Agnes

    Agnes Parker, Happy Camper (Kathleen O'Dell) - The first thing Agnes and her best friend Prejean learn at science camp is that they won't be sharing the same cabin. Being apart gives Agnes a different perspective, and a few worries, about what others think of her longtime friend. Everyone seems to be going on and on about how beautiful Prejean is. A beauty queen? What if Prejean starts acting like one? Soil studies, camp pranks, and a weird bunkmate all play a role in this funny, insightful story of the everyday casualties and payoffs of growing up. Recommended for ages 8-12.

    Agnes Parker...Girl in Progress (Kathleen O'Dell) - Eleven-year-old Agnes Parker has always been your everyday girl. But this year, Agnes is determined to become a whole new person. Maybe not a whole new person exactly, but just a better version of the girl she’s always been. Someone who’s not such an easy target for bullygirls like Peggy Neidermeyer. Someone who is as cool and confident as her best friend, Prejean. Will the new Agnes Parker make it through a school year filled with new glasses, broken arms, and a cute new boy in school? Recommended for ages 8-12.

    Agnes Parker...Keeping Cool in Middle School (Kathleen O'Dell) - Middle school is going to take some getting used to. The halls are hectic, the unspoken rules are baffling, and the eighth-grade boys are one big gang of bullies. Agnes’s best friend Prejean has jumped in and decided to run for class president, but Agnes would rather try to be invisible. That’ll be especially difficult now that Prejean has asked Agnes to be her campaign manager. And then there’s the problem of Aram, a boy in Agnes’s art class who seems to have a crush on her. He’s smart and funny, and Agnes feels comfortable with him. But is he such an odd duck that she’ll seem odd by association? Recommended for ages 8-12.

    Agnes Pflumm and the Stonecreek Science Fair (Merrie Koester Southgate) - Hired to fill in as science teacher in rural Stonecreek, USA, Agnes Pflumm blusters into the lives of 25 sixth graders, who have just been given their first ever science project assignment. There's only one problem: Agnes Pflumm HATES science fairs! Expect the unexpected as you join thousands of other students, who, because of Agnes Pflumm, no longer think science is hard, and especially NOT boring! Recommended for ages uncertain.

    When Agnes Caws (Candace Fleming) - The creators of the ALA Notable book "Gabriella's Song" team up again in this delightfully silly adventure about eight-year-old Agnes Peregrine, the best bird-caller in history. Full color. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Agnes

    Famous People Named Agnes

    Famous People Named Agnes - Agnes of Rome (Catholic saint); Agnes Moorehead (actress); Agnes Baden-Powell (founder of the Girl Scouts); Agnès Varda (French film director); Ágnes Szávay (Hungarian tennis player); Agnes de Mille (dancer/choreographer); Agnes Ayres (actress); Agnes Nixon (creator of soap operas); Agnes Carlsson (Swedish singer)

  • Children of Famous People Named Agnes

    Children of Famous People Named Agnes

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Agnes - Jennifer Connelly (actress); Paul Bettany (actor); Thom Yorke (musician, lead vocalist of Radiohead)

  • Historic Figures

    Agnes - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Agnes - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Agnes.

Personality of the Girl Name Agnes

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Variations of the Baby Name - Agnes

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