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Athena Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Athena including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Athena Overview

  • Meaning: Athena means “goddess of wisdom and war” according to Greek mythology.
  • Gender: Athena is a girl’s name.
  • Origin: Athena originates from ancient Greek mythology. It relates to the goddess of wisdom and war, also named Athena. As the protector of Athens, she was well-known and admired by many for her intelligence and expertise in warfare.
  • Pronunciation: You pronounce Athena as “uh-thee-nuh.”
  • Popularity: Athena is a very popular name in the United States over the past few years. It is currently sitting at 98th place on the list of top 1,000 baby names. It continues moving up on the chart every year.
  • Nicknames: Athy, Attie, Ena, Thena, Thene.
  • Variations: Atena, Atheena, Athene, Athina.
  • Namesakes: Athena, Athena Chu, Athena Finger, Athena Karkanis, Athena Lee.

What Does Athena Mean?

The name, Athena, is a female name heavily associated with Greek mythology. It essentially means “goddess of wisdom and war” (1).

What Is the Origin of the Name Athena?

The name Athena originates from the ancient Greek goddess Athena. Her Greek origin story says that she was born out of her father Zeus’s head.

However, a second origin story notes that Athena may have had a mother. In this story, Zeus swallowed Metis while she was pregnant with Athena. After this, Athena escaped through Zeus’s head in adult form (2).

Athena’s expertise in war and wisdom was widely sought out by heroes, such as Hercules and Odysseus. With the help of Athena, the heroes were able to achieve success. She was essentially their guiding light during their times of need.

Not only was Athena the goddess of war and wisdom, but she was the patron of Athens. The people chose Athena for this role due to her gift of a peaceful olive tree. She may be the goddess of war, but she still represents an element of peace.

Some of the symbols associated with her include the olive tree, owls, snakes, and various armor pieces (3).

Many people and gods respected Athena. She was one of the most influential of the twelve Olympian gods and goddesses.

How Popular Is the Name Athena?

Athena has not been a popular name in the past, but its popularity is increasing. There has been a steep incline over the past ten years.

Athena has been in the top 1,000 baby names in the United States since 2000. At this time, the name was sitting in the fairly popular range at 530th place. Since then, the popularity of Athena has been increasing.

By 2010, Athena moved up to 363rd place on the list. Athena moved up a whopping 167 spaces, jumping into the popular category. From here, the name kept increasing in popularity each year.

Presently, Athena is 98th on the list of the 1,000 most popular baby names, a considerable jump of 265 places since 2010 (4). So, it is easy to say that the name is very popular now since it is sitting in the top 100.

How Do I Pronounce Athena?

The pronunciation of Athena is “uh-thee-nuh.” Although the name starts with an “a,” you need to pronounce it as if it’s a “u.”

Is Athena a Boy or Girl Name?

Athena is a girl’s name, as the origin of the name is a female goddess. Currently, there are not any boy adaptations of the name.

Variations of Athena

There are not many variations of Athena, but a few that exist include:

  • Atena (Spanish, Italian, Romanian)
  • Atheena (Greek)
  • Athene (Greek)
  • Athina (Greek)

Athena is still the most popular variation because it is the exact spelling of the Greek goddess’s name. These four variations are not in the top 1,000 on the Social Security Administration website.

Nicknames for Athena

Nicknames are often the primary reason parents pick a specific name for their child. It is fun to have a nickname, especially when growing up. Some nickname options for Athena are:

  • Athy
  • Attie
  • Ena
  • Thena
  • Thene

Making up another nickname is also an option.

Similar Names to Athena

Although your options might seem slightly limited with Athena variations, there is a long list of similar names. Some names that have similarities to Athena include:

  • Alaina
  • Althea
  • Anat
  • Lena
  • Marina
  • Menrva
  • Mina
  • Minerva
  • Neith
  • Nina
  • Sage
  • Sarasvati
  • Sulis
  • Wisdom

Middle Names for Athena

If you are wondering what middle name would go best with Athena, use these for ideas:

These middle names seem to flow nicely with Athena. There are, of course, many other beautiful options to use for a middle name.

Sibling Names for Athena

If you are looking for names that would pair well with Athena as siblings, check out the following names.

Names for a brother:

Names for a sister:

Famous People Named Athena

Some famous faces carry the name of Athena. Some of those people include:

  • Athena: Professional wrestler Adrienne Reese.
  • Athena Chu: Chinese actress.
  • Athena Finger: Bill Finger’s (co-creator of Batman) granddaughter.
  • Athena Karkanis: Canadian actress.
  • Athena Lee: American drummer, actress, and sister of musician Tommy Lee.

Athena in Popular Culture

Some popular movies where you might hear the name Athena include:

  • Athena: Character in “Clash of the Titans.”
  • Athena: Character in “Immortals.”
  • Athena: Character in “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.”
  • Athena: Character in “Tomorrowland.”
  • Thena: Character in “Eternals.”

Athena FAQs

After reading through all of this information, you might still have a few questions. Here are some commonly asked questions.

How Do You Say Athena in Spanish?

The Spanish spelling of Athena is “Atena”. To pronounce Athena in Spanish, you need to pronounce the “a” and drop the “h”. So, instead of pronouncing it like “uh-thee-nuh,” it would be “ah-te-nuh.”

Is Athena a Good Name?

Athena is the perfect name for a child. Athena represents bravery and intelligence, which are great traits to have. The name does not carry a negative connotation.

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