Meaning and Origin of Zoe

Zoe is a popular girl’s name in the English speaking world however the meaning of the name Zoe has Greek, Jewish and Latin roots. It was originally a substitutionary name in B.C.E. (Before Common Era) centuries for the name Eve in the Hellenistic tradition. It carried many queenly and supernaturally significant qualities of knowledge, foresight and divination.

Some less-common translations of the meaning of Zoe are, “she is aware” and “the living one.” The name itself possesses a direct translation in the ancient Greek of Zeta-Omega-Eta. It is an emphatic name that has always been associated with female personae who have an innate ability to bridge the gap between earth and the realm of chosen gods.

Zoe, or Zoë has always been a name reserved for important female leaders especially in the Mediterranean and near Eastern world. In Europe and the Americas, the original meaning of Zoe is not particularly common, but it still elicits an exotic and otherworldly character.


Zoe was not in the top 100 baby girls’ names in England in 2012.

Famous Women With the Name Zoe

  • Zoe of Rome—martyred saint c. 286
  • Zoe (Catherine) Labouré—French Saint of the Miraculous Medal c. 1820
  • Zoe Karbonopsina—Byzantine Empress c. 920
  • Zoé Valdéz—award-winning Cuban author b. 1959
  • Zoe (Zooey) Deschanel—American singer and actress b. 1980

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