Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Ophelia

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Greek, Latin
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • N/A
Simple meaning:
Help, succor, support

Characteristics of Ophelia

  • Communicative
  • Creative
  • Optimistic
  • Popular
  • Social
  • Dramatic
  • Happy

Etymology & Historical Origin - Ophelia

Ophelia is the English form of the Latinized Ofelia, a name created by an Italian Renaissance poet, Jacopo Sannazaro (1458-1530), in his pastoral masterpiece “Arcadia” (pub. 1504 in Naples). He fashioned the female name from the Greek “ophelos” (οφελος) meaning “help, succor, support” and placed her in Arcadia, the poem’s utopia where the narrator retreats from the politically chaotic and corrupt Naples. Later in the early 17th century, the English literary giant William Shakespeare borrowed the name for his own tragic heroine in “Hamlet” (c. 1605). In fact, Ophelia is one of the most analyzed female characters in all of English literature. In the play, Ophelia is barely beyond adolescence, a naïve, innocent girl, an obedient daughter, a loving sister, a patient girlfriend…until she finally descends into madness “…as one incapable of her own distress” (all thanks to Hamlet’s rather cruel head-games). See literary references below for more on Ophelia the character. Despite Ophelia’s tragic circumstances in Hamlet, the name was later adopted for usage in the 19th century. It’s always been considered exotic and still rather uncommon, yet it does remain on the female naming charts in England.

Popularity of the Name Ophelia

Ophelia is definitely a great name; that is, for parents who can get past the literal representation of Ophelia in Hamlet and appreciate her more symbolically. Ophelia was probably most popular in the United States during the 19th century and was even quasi-familiar as a baby girl’s name in the first part of the 20th century. By the 1940s, however, parents clearly became disinterested in Ophelia – and, by the conservative 1950s, no one wanted anything to do with this name. In fact, 1958 marks the last year Ophelia would find herself on America’s Top 1000 list. That’s good news for parents looking for a lovely name, but one which is largely neglected. Not to mention this one has some serious Shakespearean cachet. We have heard some belly-aching out there about the possibility of the “Ophelia, I’ll feel ya” schoolyard teasing (but this is a silly reason to reject the name in our humble opinion). There’s also the pedophilia, necrophilia and/or hemophilia word associations, and yet the Greek based “-philia” suffix simply means “to like, be fond of”. And we are fond of Ophelia. Ophie is a cute nickname. In fact, we just met a Border collie named Ophelia whose owner affectionately called her Ophie. A smart name for a smart dog.
Popularity of the Girl Name Ophelia
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Ophelia

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Ophelia

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Ophelia

    Ophelia (Hamlet) Ophelia is one of William Shakespeare’s most well-known tragic heroines, the ill-fated beauty in the famous tragedy, Hamlet, believed to have been written around 1602. Ophelia is a potential bride for the young Prince of Denmark, but the murder of his father and his mother’s subsequent marriage to the suspected murderer, his uncle, have distracted Hamlet from romantic pursuits. Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius, the Lord Chamberlain of the Court; she is a gentle, beautiful young noblewoman who is truly in love with Hamlet. It is Hamlet’s feigned madness that results in the death of Ophelia’s father and the dismissal by Hamlet of Ophelia herself, with the terrible consequence of realized madness for the lovely young girl. Long decried by feminists for her passive submission to the men in her life, and her solution of suicide, Ophelia has a lot to live up to by 21st century standards. Nonetheless, as a symbol of feminine goodness in the face of the gendered powerlessness of her time, she is unsurpassed.

    Ophelia St. Clare (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) Ophelia St. Clare is one of the characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s highly influential anti-slavery 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, which outsold everything in its day except the bible. Ophelia is the cousin of Augustine St. Clare, who “owns” the slave Tom. She serves to represent the ambiguity of what many white Americans felt about the issue of slavery at the time. Ophelia is essentially a God-fearing and pious woman, a staunch abolitionist who preaches about the evils of that institution. At the same time, she is, almost subconsciously, actually prejudiced against African-Americans. While spouting the rhetoric, she spurns the reality. Hailing as she does from Vermont, Ophelia has had little congress with them. It is only when she spends time in the South that she begins to understand that her initial distaste for the slaves was the result of ignorance and unfamiliarity on her part. Through the twists and turns of the plot, Ophelia comes to realize her own shortcomings and to understand, finally, that all people are just that first and foremost – people. This transformation opens up Ophelia’s heart and expands her horizons in a way that none of the pretty little speeches ever could.

  • Popular Songs on Ophelia

    Popular Songs on Ophelia

    Cry Ophelia - a song by Adam Cohen

    Ophelia - a song by The Band

    Ophelia - a song by Natalie Merchant

    Ophelia - a song by Tori Amos

    Ophelia - a song by Luke Temple

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Ophelia

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Ophelia

    Hamlet (Bruce Coville) - There is arguably no work of fiction quoted as often as William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This haunting tragedy has touched audiences for centuries. Now Bruce Coville makes this play the next of his dynamic adaptations of the Bard for the young. Once again, he expertly incorporates essential lines from the play into his own rich prose to tell the tale of the ill-fated Prince of Denmark. Acclaimed artist Leonid Gore adds intense, dreamlike images in acrylic and pastel. His depictions of Hamlet, Ophelia, and the rest of the kingdom are revelatory and unforgettable, helping to make this masterful volume a treasure for Shakespeare enthusiasts old and new. Recommended for ages 10-14.

    Ophelia (Dieter Schubert) - One beautiful morning, Ophelia wakes and stretches, only to hear Kevin moaning from far away. Being a concerned hippopotamus, she leaps out of the water and goes running to help. Along the way, Ophelia passes Meerkat and tells him that Kevin has a stomachache. Meerkat grabs a hot water bottle and sprints to the rescue, telling Frog of Kevin's terrible cramp and sore throat. Frog fixes herbal tea, jogs off, and tells Porcupine that Kevin has pains everywhere. Pains become a broken leg to Rhino, and a body full of broken bones to Toucan. News of Kevin's moaning becomes so exaggerated that, by the time Toucan talks to Turtle, Toucan reports that Kevin is dead. As the friends mourn, Ophelia and Kevin walk to them. Amazed that their dearest crocodile is still alive, the friends find that Kevin only had butterflies in his stomach. In this peppy picture book by award-winning duo Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, animal friends learn that though nervousness is not lethal, a little exaggeration sure makes it contagious! Recommended for ages 3-7.

  • Famous People Named Ophelia

    Famous People Named Ophelia

    Famous People Named Ophelia - We cannot find any celebrities or significantly famous people with the first name Ophelia.

  • Children of Famous People Named Ophelia

    Children of Famous People Named Ophelia

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Ophelia - Roald Dahl (author)

  • Historic Figures

    Ophelia - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

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

Personality of the Girl Name Ophelia

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Variations of the Baby Name - Ophelia

  • No Variations Found.
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