Quick Facts on Paris
- Celtic, French, Greek
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
Parisii Tribe, working people, craftsmen
Etymology & Historical Origin - Paris
The name Paris is mainly associated with both a legendary figure in Greek mythology as well as the place name for the capital of France. Let’s start with the Greeks. Paris was a Trojan prince, son of King Priam and possessed of exquisite good looks. He famously kidnapped the beautiful Helen (queen of Sparta) thus sparking the ten year Trojan War (circa 1300 B.C.) and causing the demise of his fatherland. He is immortalized in Homer’s epic poem the “Iliad” where he is depicted as somewhat cowardly and unskilled (compared to his brother Hector); although he does mortally wound Achilles with an arrow to the heel, he himself is killed in the end by Philoctetes. In Greek mythology, Paris is asked by the gods of Olympus to judge a beauty contest between Hera, Aphrodite and Athena (uh-oh, we smell trouble). Each of the goddesses appeared before Paris offering gifts in exchange for their selection as most beautiful. Hera was prepared to offer ownership over all of present-day Europe and Asia. Athena offered wisdom and skill in battle. But Aphrodite had the ancient business savvy to offer Helen, the most beautiful woman on earth. Who do you think Paris chose? That’s right, using his “other” brain, Paris chose Aphrodite. In other words, Paris chose Helen. And that was the end of Troy. The Greek name Πάρις (Paris) has no known etymology. Now let’s discuss Paris as a place name. The ancient city of Paris, situated on the river Seine in Northern France, shows evidence of settlements as early as 4200 B.C. The name comes from a sub-tribe of the Celtic/Gaulish people, the Parisii, who settled in the area around 250 B.C. The Celtic-Gallic word “parisio” is said to mean ‘working people, craftsmen’. By 50 B.C. those pesky expansionist Romans conquered the area and renamed the city Lutetia. The name Paris was reclaimed as the city’s moniker by the 5th century A.D. as the eminent collapse of the Roman Empire approached. Mainly because of the handsome Paris of Greek mythology, Paris was always considered a masculine name. It was not until the end of the 20th century that parents (mainly Americans) adopted the name for their little girls. It is now almost exclusively considered a female name.
Popularity of the Name Paris
The name Paris has been used in America for little boys for over a century. Between the late 1880s and early 1900s, Paris showed up on the male naming charts sporadically, although the usage was extremely low. The name pretty much disappeared from the male naming charts for 50 years, returned briefly in the 1980s and 90s, and then returned to obscurity in 2000. On the flip side, the name Paris was taken up for little girls in 1985 and demonstrated almost immediate but moderate success. Obviously, American parents are considering Paris as a place name which is a trendy naming practice (think: Madison, Savannah, Brooklyn, and London). As the name became more and more popular for girls, it became an emasculated choice for boys. So we’re not surprised that the name is almost exclusively female now. It’s just another casualty of the name-hijacking from the boy side to the girl’s. C'est la vie. Nonetheless, Paris is still strongly associated with Greek Mythology and Trojan War history, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Paris used by intellectual parents of erudite backgrounds for their little boys. We’re not quite sure if socialite Paris Hilton (famous for, eh-hem, nothing) has added or subtracted currency from the name; we’ll let you decide. In any case, it has an androgynous quality, so it does work well for either gender. The name denotes beauty from every direction – the handsome prince of Troy or the gorgeous European city. It’s hard not to love this name!
Popularity of the Girl Name Paris
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Paris
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Paris
Paris (Homer's Iliad) Paris is the mythological lover-boy responsible for the Trojan War, immortalized by Homer’s account in The Iliad. Prevailed upon by three goddesses, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, to choose the most beautiful among them, he chose Aphrodite for her promise (bribe) to give him the love of the most beautiful woman on earth, Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. Kidnapping Helen and bringing her to Troy naturally triggered a response – all of Greek’s military forces responded to avenge the deed. Paris himself, having caused this ruckus, was hardly the upright warrior he should have been, and added insult to injury by fighting ineffectively. He even shied away from a one-on-one duel with Menelaus, relying on the deus-ex-machina intervention of his particular goddess, Aphrodite, to save him. It is his brave warrior brother, Hector, who rebukes him and shames him into acknowledging his cowardly ways. Paris then bursts upon the battleground with renewed zeal and proves himself a worthy opponent, ultimately having to avenge Hector’s death at the hands of Achilles. As is so often the case with randy young warriors, however, Paris becomes over-confident and boastful, and finally succumbs to a nasty poisonous arrow aimed by Philocetes. Though the people of Troy mourn him, there are not a few who are inwardly relieved, thinking perhaps this contretemps may be over now. Not so fast. Helen elects to stay in Troy, and the fighting continues until the Greeks come up with their ingenuous “Trojan Horse” plan. Because they didn’t yet know the adage advising them to “…beware of Greeks bearing gifts”, the Trojans opened the gates of the city and met their ruination. Seems to us a mighty high price to pay, even for “…the face that launched a thousand ships”, but we maintain that it is a very intriguing name for a very intriguing character.
Children's Books on the Baby Name Paris
Everybody Bonjours! (Leslie Kimmelman) - Shop a fancy France-y store. Eat a pretty petit four. Discover! Sightsee! Explore! On this fun and friendly tour, everybody says “Bonjour!” Whether at a soccer stadium (“players scoring”), a crêpe stand (“batter pouring”), or strolling the Champs d’ Elysee (where folks “bonjour” in every store), a little girl and her family are welcomed everywhere with the signature French greeting. Jump into these pages and enjoy the trip! Through lilting words and lively images, Everybody Bonjours welcomes young reader-travelers to a Paris that isn’t just for artists, grown-ups, and dreamers– it’s for kids! Recommended for ages 4-8.
This is Paris (Miroslav Sasek) - This is Paris, first published in 1959, brings Paris, one of the most exciting cities in the world, to life. There are famous buildings, beautiful gardens, cafés, and the Parisians-artists, concierges, flower girls, and even thousands of cats. Take a tour along the banks of the Seine, through the galleries of the Louvre, and to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Famous People Named Paris
Famous People Named Paris - Paris Hilton (socialite/businesswoman); Paris Jackson (daughter of singer Michael Jackson); Paris Monroe (singer); Paris Latsis, (socialite/ex-boyfriend of Paris Hilton); Paris Bennett (American Idol finalist, season five); Paris Lenon (football player)
Children of Famous People Named Paris
Famous People Who Named Their Child Paris - Blair Underwood (actor); Michael Jackson (pop-icon/musician); Pierce Brosnan (actor); Rick Hilton (socialite); Tommy Chong (comic/actor)
Paris - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures
Paris - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Paris.
Personality of the Girl Name Paris
The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.
Variations of the Baby Name - Paris