Posts Tagged With: Demeter



Welcome to the first post of many in our Offbeat Alphabet Series, and we’re starting with a name I’ve been dying to properly cover for a very long time. This is a case of a draft sitting in my pending pile for an embarrassing number of years (basically when this blog started way back on Blogger in May 2010, that’s over 4 years).

It seems apt then that I kick the procrastination bucket and actually post this. So, hello Artemis. Hope your wait wasn’t too much of a bore.

The name Artemis is a Greek name with a disputed meaning and a side-line gender crisis. So, naturally, I’m a huge fan.

When most hear the name Artemis, they likely think of the Greek goddess who presided over hunting, the moon, childbirth, wilderness, virginity and maidens. According to legend, she’s the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin brother by the name of Apollo. She is often depicted wearing a crescent moon on her head, and always carries her bow and arrow. Deer, bears, hunting dogs, and cypress trees are especially sacred to her.

In Roman Mythology, she was known as Diana. This lead some to speculate that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might use Artemis as a middle name for a daughter to honour his mother. Personally, I feel it’s more likely that they’d simply use Diana.

It may seem odd that a Greek goddess’ name might be used as a male name, but there’s precedence for it, never mind the fact that two of the most prominent pop culture uses of the name are male.

For example, the Greek goddess Demeter is the source of the name Demetrius. Then we have the fact that Marie remains a note-worthy middle name for the male population of France (think: Jean-Marie, Philippe-Marie), as a nod to the Virgin Mother.

A few months back I introduced a close friend to the anime show Sailor Moon. The show is based on the manga which is considered one of the defining works of the genre for it’s depiction of kick ass girls with magical powers using said powers to fight evil. Despite this, my friend was unimpressed with the amount of crying the titular character does, and much preferred Cardcaptor Sakura. However, he was a huge fan of the feline characters, who in the English translation are all given names related to the moon: Luna, Artemis and Diana. The cats can talk and dish out guidance to the troupe throughout the series; Artemis is a male cat, not female.

Outside of Japanese manga, the most famed use of Artemis in the UK is in children’s literature. The Artemis Fowl series of books are written by Eoin Colfer and first came to a good bookstore near you back in 2001, and the last one is made it’s début in 2012. The series of books has been compared to Harry Potter – but Mr. Colfer prefers for the series to be referred to as Die Hard With Fairies.

Artemis Fowl revolves around the antics of a teenage mastermind by the name of Artemis – a male teenage mastermind. It may seem odd to those with preconceptions that Artemis is a female name – the character himself mentions the gender dispute a few times – but Artemis was good enough to be given to one of Alex James’ twin sons. During the books, Artemis takes on an alter-ego named Orion, who is almost his exact opposite – notably being carefree and optimistic. Artemis was the Greek goddess of hunting, whilst Orion is the name of a legendary Greek hunter.

Despite all this talk of Artemis’ dude-cred, the name in 2013 only ranked for girls born in England&Wales at #1639. The Russian/Ukrainian/Belarusian name Artem, which traces it’s origins back to Artemis, ranked at #1539 for the boys. However, with a film adaption of the Artemis Fowl books in the pipeline, all that could change.

As for the origins of the name, it is possible that the name stems from the Greek: artemêse, meaning safe; artamos, meaning butcher; artios, meaning complete; artemia meaning recovery; or even arktos, meaning bear. Suffice to say, it’s pure speculation when it comes to the meaning as, with many aged names, this one’s is long lost with the passage of time.

A similar name to Artemis is Artemas, sometimes touted as the male form of Artemis, he actually derives as a short form of Artemidorus; he means gift of Artemis.

What you have with Artemis is an ancient Goddess name which in this day and age could work for either gender and as long as you’re not bothered by not knowing what exactly the name means, you’re sure to appreciate him/her.

Categories: The Offbeat Alphabet Series | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments


Demelza from Poldark

As a child growing up, I truly believed Demi to be a commonplace name since I went to primary school with several Demis of varying ages. At #161 in 2010 in England&Wales, she still is in frequent use, but consider this: back in 1994 the name Demi ranked at #84. She also re-entered the Top 100 in 2005 briefly, dropping out again in 2007. Demi also happens to be popular in the Netherlands of all places; according to Voornamelijk, in 2009 she ranked at #47 along with variants Demy and Daimy.

What this means is that Demi is very much a name that seems to be everywhere in my day-to-day life, but almost completely absent in terms of her coverage in the virtual world of name blogs and name boards. It seems an odd conundrum, really.

Part of the success of the name must likely be put down to actress Demi Moore. At this point it is worth noting that all the Demis I know are simply Demi, not Demetrias as Ms. Moore can claim to be (and indeed Demetria ‘Demi‘ Lovato, who spookily is pretty much the same as my Demi friends and I). Then we have me, since I was nearly a Demi myself, as my father in particular wanted me to be called Demelza – and I know for a fact that particular brainwave of his was indeed inspired by the 1970s show Poldark.

Demelza comes from the delightful area of the world called Cornwall, where she is a place name of a little hamlet. A man by the name of Winston Graham used it as the name of the heroine in his series of the novels with the blanket name of Poldark. These books were turned into the aforementioned tv series in the 1970s, and for some reason my father was amongst it’s fans.

I’d also like to mention at this point that in the series, Demelza was played by an actress named Angharad Rees, whose name means love.

As for the name Demetria, she derives from the Greek name Demetrios, which means belonging to Demeter.

Demeter features in Greek mythology as the Goddess of fertility, and her Roman equivalent was called Ceres. The usual interpretation of the meaning of the name Demeter is earth mother, which rather sits nicely with her role. Another theory revolves around the first part of the name implying her being originally perceived as the female counterpart of Zeus.

The biggest problem many have with the name Demi is the fact that in French there is a word demi, which means half; used in a time sense (i.e. half past seven) or measures (i.e. glass and a half full of milk). But hey, if the French happily use the name Fanny so much that she’s in their current Top 100, why can’t we use Demi?

Categories: Name Profile | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Closet Chemistry: Amines and Esters

I’ve been thinking about organic chemistry quite a bit recently, and the combining of it with the topic of names struck me when we mentioned Amine last week. It’s a name of relative popularity in France, but it’s also the name of a functional group containing a nitrogen with a lone pair of electrons. For those interested, they can look like this:

Primary Amine, from

You may have no idea why they’re important but it’s from amines that we get amino acids, which collectively make up proteins. That makes them vital for life. So, one could call Amino a slight variation of the name Amine – especially given that the French slightly altered the Arabic name Amin to get to Amine. Amin comes from the Arabic word for truthful and the female form of the name is Amina(h). Aminah was the name of the prophet Muhammad’s mother, who died when he was young. The Arabic word and name Amina means feel safe. For Bosnia and Herzegovina, Amina was the #1 female name in 2010; the most popular male name that year was Amar.

Names that sound like they’re related to the above ones include the Iranian name Minoo, sometimes seen as Minu, which derives from Persian and means heaven or paradise. Like the English name Heaven, or alas the infamous Nevaeh, Minoo is a feminine name. A name of Arabic origins which means heaven, or indeed sky, is the female name Alya. Going back to the French, in 2009, the name Alya ranked at #259 in France.

The reason Arabic names feature in French name popularity is Algeria and Tunisia. Both are former colonies of France, from which many immigrants have moved to France, and brought their naming tendencies with them. For both, Arabic is the official language and both earned their independence from France in the middle of the 20th century.

Other popular names of Arabic origins in France include Mohamed, Rayan, Mehdi, Nassim, Farah, Naim, Sana, Marwa and Salma, to name just a few.

And for those wondering whether we’re using Amine in England&Wales, we are – to a certain extent. In 2010, 11 boys were given the name Amine with a further 37 named Amin, putting the latter name at #792. Amina ranks even higher for girls, at #182, with 285 girls given the name and Aminah ranking at #254 with 128 of them born.

Another group of organic compounds are called Esters, said pretty much the same as you would the name Esther. She fit’s nicely with our already established post-theme of names inspired by our friends from the East as Esther means star in Persian. An Ester looks like this:

Ester, from
Of course, it’s not concrete that Esther derives from Persian and hence means star. The name Esther comes from the Bible, being given to Hadassah upon the moment she entered the royal harem of King Ahaseurus. Esther could also have derived from the name Ishtar, the name of the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love, war and fertility; the Phoenicians called her Ashtoreth. What is worth noting is that the Dutch word for star is ster, which has given birth to the Dutch name Sterre (ster-ra).
Esther has given birth to a plentitude of variations: from Hester to Estee; Eszti (Hungarian) to Esteri (Finnish). What’s worth noting is that the spelling Ester is a legitimate international variant of the name Esther, used by Scandinavians, Spaniards, Czechs, Finns and the Portuguese.
When it comes to Esther vs. Hester in the popularity charts for England&Wales in 2010, Esther wins outright. She’s at #156 with 334 girls given the name compared to Hester, who is much further down at #1815 with only 15 born.
The -er ending for male names is starting to be touted as an upcoming trend, but there are some undoubtedly pretty girls names which end the same way, like Esther and Hester:
  • Amber
  • Aster
  • Clover
  • Demeter
  • Ember
  • Ginger
  • Grier
  • Harper
  • Heather
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Miniver
  • Piper
  • Skyler
  • Summer

Notice how most derive directly from English words? What’s more both Jasmine and Jasper are names popular in England&Wales, and of Persian origins, as Esther could be; Jasper means treasurer in Persian. Colour names Azure and Scarlet also have links with Persian words, and that’s where we shall end this post.

Categories: Chemistry Inspirations, French Words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Create a free website or blog at