Meaning of Helen

The name Helen originated in Greece. The name Helen means bright, shining light. Helen is derived from the Greek word Helene meaning torch, and the Greek word ‘selene’ meaning moon.

The spelling Helen was uncommon until after the renaissance. Prior to the renaissance the common spelling was Ellen.

Popularity of Helen

The name Helen was extremely popular at the beginning of the 20th century, but lost popularity by the 1920’s. In 2014 Helen was not in the top 100 most popular baby girls’ names in England.

Famous People Called Helen

According to Greek mythology Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. She was the most beautiful woman in the world. Her irresistible beauty sparked the Trojan War.

Helen Keller famously defied all odds by becoming the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree; she was also a political activist, public speaker, and author. She lost her sight and hearing at 19 months due to illness.

Helen Mirren is a talented English actress. She is one of only 21 people to have received an Academy Award, Tony Award, and Emmy Award, known as the Triple Crown.

Useful Resources

Discover the meaning and origin of other English girls’ names.