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Calliope Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Calliope Overview

  • Meaning: Calliope means “beautiful-voiced.” This spelling comes from the Latin translation of the Greek name Kalliopē.
  • Gender: Calliope is traditionally a female name.
  • Origin: Calliope was the name of the wisest and strongest Muse from Ancient Greek mythology. She was said to preside over heroic poetry and eloquence. Reference to her can be found throughout classical texts such as Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.
  • Pronunciation: Calliope is pronounced “kah-LYE-oh-pee,” although the traditional Greek pronunciation is “kal-lee-OH-pee.”
  • Popularity: Calliope is a rare name in the United States, though it shows trends to increase in popularity.
  • Nicknames: Cally, Callie, Calli, Cal, Lia, Poppy, and Popi.
  • Variations: Callyope, Caliope, Kalliope, Kallyope, Kaliope, and Kalliopi.
  • Namesakes: St. Calliope, Eastern Orthodox Christian martyr.

What Does Calliope Mean?

Calliope is a lovely name from Greek history. This particular spelling comes from the Latin adaptation of the Greek name Kalliopē, meaning “beautiful-voiced.” This name originated from two Greek words: kallos meaning “beauty,” and ops, meaning “voiced”.

What is the Origin of the Name Calliope?

Calliope was one of the Muses in Greek Mythology. The Muses were nine goddesses who governed the realm of arts and sciences, and Calliope was the Muse of heroic poetry and eloquence.

Famous Greek writers like Hesiod and Ovid called her the “Chief of the Muses.” Poets and storytellers often gave her credit for their inspiration. She is the wisest, most assertive, and most distinct Muse. She is frequently shown holding a poem and an instrument (1).

You can find references to her throughout several classical texts, including Dante Alighieri’s famous Divine Comedy. Bob Dylan also referenced her in his 2020 song “Mother of the Muses.”

In the 1850s, a new instrument began to rise in the United States. It was called a “steam trumpet” because it worked by pushing steam out of a series of whistles.

The sound was so loud that it could be heard from miles around, calling visitors to attractions like fairs, circuses, and carnivals. In 1855, it was named “calliope” because of its ability to capture people’s attention with its music.

You’re probably familiar with the sound yourself. Just think about carousel or merry-go-round music–that’s from a calliope!

How Popular is the Name Calliope?

The name Calliope is scarce, and there is little to no record of its usage in the United States before the 21st century.

Starting in 2016, there began a steady increase in using names from Greek mythology for girls.

Calliope was ranked 691st in popularity in 2020 (2). The current upward trend suggests that this name, and other Greek myth names, will continue to rise in popularity.

How Do I Pronounce Calliope?

The most popular pronunciation of the name Calliope is “kah-LYE-oh-pee,” with emphasis on the second syllable.

However, the traditional Greek pronunciation of the Muse’s name puts stress on the third syllable. It would be “kal-lee-OH-pee.”

Don’t confuse them with the pronunciation of the instrument calliope! This word stresses the first syllable, changing the pronunciation completely to “KA-lee-ohp.”

Is Calliope a Boy or Girl Name?

Calliope is traditionally a name for females, and it is highly uncommon for this name to be given to males.

Variations of Calliope

Because of its strong history and use in classical literature, there are several different spellings for the name Calliope. This may also be due to its various translations from Greek to Latin and then into English.

Some variations include:

  • Caliope
  • Callyope
  • Kalliope
  • Kaliope
  • Kalliopi
  • Kallyope

There are few names inspired or adapted from this one, as many people are intrigued by the full, classical name. The name Callia has origins in the name Calliope.

Nicknames for Calliope

The name Calliope can be a mouthful, especially for little kids. Luckily, it is an excellent name for creating nicknames!

Here are some suggestions:

  • Cal
  • Calli
  • Callie
  • Cally
  • Lia
  • Popi
  • Poppy

These are only a few options. This name can create many more nicknames if you get creative with it!

Similar Names to Calliope

If you’re looking for names that sound similar to Calliope, you might consider:

For names that evoke a similar classical feel, you might look into the names of other mythological figures, such as:

For names with a similar meaning, check out these:

  • Aria (Italian, “song, melody”)
  • Euphemia (Old Greek, “sweetly spoken”)
  • Lyra (Old Greek, “lyre”)
  • Madrigal (Latin, “song for unaccompanied voices”)
  • Risa (Latin, “laughter like a song”)

Middle Names for Calliope

As Calliope is a longer name, it might pair well with a short middle name. Here are some options for you to consider:

Sibling Names for Calliope

If your child’s name is Calliope and you are searching for suitable sibling names, look no further! There are plenty of classical names that would go well with Calliope.

For a sister:

For a brother:

Famous People Named Calliope

Aside from the Muse in mythology, there are only a few famous people called Calliope. The most well-known and oldest Calliope is Saint Kalliopi, a third-century Orthodox Christan martyr.

Some other famous Calliopes include:

  • Popi Malliotaki: Greek folk-pop singer, born Calliope Malliotaki.
  • Mori Calliope: Holographic virtual YouTuber associated with Hololive Production

Calliope in Popular Culture

The name Calliope is slightly more prevalent in pop culture than in history. Here are a few notable Calliopes:

  • Calliope Torres: Character from the TV show Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Calliope: One of the wicked stepsisters in the 1997 TV film adaptation of Cinderella, played by Veanne Cox.
  • Calliope: Character from the webcomic Homestuck.
  • Calliope: Character in the video game series God of War.
  • Calliope: Character from the movie The Matrix Resurrections.
  • Calliope: Children’s TV series that ran from 1982 to 1997.
  • Calliope hummingbird: Found in North and Central America.
  • Calliope Beach: Beach in Antarctica named after the Muse.
  • Calliope: A genus of songbirds.
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