Helen (given name)

Helen is a feminine given name derived from the Ancient Greek name Ἑλένη, Helenē (dialectal variants: Ἑλένα, Helena, Ἐλένα, Elena, Ϝελένα, Welena), which descends from Proto-Hellenic *Ηwelénā, from a pre-Hellenic or late Proto-Indo-European *Swelénā (a solar deity), ultimately derived from the Indo-European root *swel- (to shine, warm).[1]

Brosen icon constantine helena.jpg
Eastern Orthodox icon of Saint Constantine the Great and Saint Helena, his mother.
Name day19 May (Certain Lutheran Churches)
21 May (Orthodox, Anglican & Lutheran Churches)
18 August (Roman Catholic Church)
Word/nameAncient Greek
Meaning'shining', 'warming' (originally the name of a solar deity)
Region of originAncient Greece
Other names
Nickname(s)Lena, Lenie, Elle, El, Ellie, Hela, Heli
Related namesElaina, Ellyn, Elaine, Elayne, Elen, Elene, Ellen, Elena, Eleni, Elin, Helena, Helene, Helaine, Ilona, Yelena
Popularitysee popular names

Helen, worshipped as a goddess in Laconia and Rhodes, is a major character in Greek mythology. The name was widely used by early Christians due to Saint Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine I, who according to legend found a piece of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified when she traveled to Jerusalem.[2] Helen was very popular in the United States during the first half of the 20th century, when it was one of the top ten names for baby girls, but became less common following World War II.[3]



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ M. L. West, Indo-European Poetry and Myth (Oxford University Press, 2007), 230 at Google Books
  2. ^ "Helen". Behind the Name.
  3. ^ "Popularity of Name". Social Security Administration. Retrieved 2017-01-11.