Origin and Meaning of the Name Pamela

The poet Sir Philip Sidney (1554 – 1586) coined the Pamela name in the late 16th century. He used it as a name for a character in his poem “The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia,” which is also known as “Arcadia.” Pamela was a duke’s daughter who is wooed by a prince.

The meaning of Pamela is believed to be “all sweetness” or “all honey.” Sidney is thought to have combined the Greek words for “all” (pan) and “honey” (meli) to create the name.

The name Pamela began to be used as a given name after 1740, when Samuel Richardson wrote the novel, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Pamela is often shortened to “Pam.”


The popularity of Pamela is now low in the United States. It had been one of the pop 25 girl’s names from the late 40s through the late 60s, but it has since fallen out of fashion. It is currently the 964th most popular name in the United States. It is even less popular in the UK, and it wasn’t in the top 100 most popular girl’s names in 2013.

Famous People with the Name

  • Pamela Anderson – a female model and star of the hit TV series Baywatch
  • Pamela Stephenson – an actress and wife of Billy Connolly

Useful Resources

See the meaning and popularity of other girls’ names on our website