Helen (given name)

Helen is a feminine given name derived from the Ancient Greek name Ἑλένη, Helenē (dialectal variant: Ἑλένα, Helena) whose etymology is unknown; a derivation of the latter from ἑλένη, a variant form of ἑλάνη, i.e. "torch", is considered "rather uncertain".[1][2] Another possible derivation is from Greek Σελήνη Selene, meaning 'moon'.[3][citation needed] Helen of Troy is a 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.[3] 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.[4]

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)
Meaning'light' or 'bright'
Region of originMediterranean Europe
Other names
Nickname(s)Lena, Lenie, Elle, El, Ellie, Hela, Heli, Helikopter
Related namesElaine, Elen, Elene, Ellen, Elena, Eleni, Elin, Helena, Helene, Helaine, Ilona, Yelena
Popularitysee popular names



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Beekes, Robert (2010). "s.v. Ἑλένη". Etymological Dictionary of Greek. With the assistance of Lucien van Beek. Brill. ISBN 9789004174184.
  2. ^ ἑλένη, ἑλάνη. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  3. ^ a b "Helen". Behind the Name.
  4. ^ "Popularity of Name". Social Security Administration. Retrieved 2017-01-11.