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Ophelia Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Ophelia Overview

  • Meaning: Ophelia means “benefit,” “help,” or “to avail.”
  • Gender: Ophelia is a feminine name.
  • Origin: Ophelia probably comes from the Greek word “ōphéleia.” It was first used as a name in the 1504 poem Arcadia and was popularized by Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
  • Pronunciation: Ophelia is pronounced, “oh-FEEL-ee-aa” or “oh-FEEL-ya.”
  • Popularity: Ophelia recently became a popular name for girls.
  • Nicknames: Fellie, Filia, Filly, Layla, Leah, Ophie, Opi, Phelia, Phi, Philly.
  • Variations: Availia, Filia, Ofelia, Ofilia, Ophelya, Ophilia, Ovalia, Ovelia, Phelia, Ubelia, Uvelia.
  • Namesakes: Ophelia Benson, Ophelia DeVore, Ophelia Lovibond.

Ophelia is a Greek name most notable for the character in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Ophelia very recently became a popular name for girls in the United States. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the name.

What Does Ophelia Mean?

The name Ophelia means “benefit.” It likely came from the Greek word “ōphéleia,” which also translates to “aid,” “help,” “advantage,” and “to avail”.

Beyond its textbook meaning, Ophelia is often associated with the character from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

In “Hamlet,” Ophelia appears on the surface as a naive, young noblewoman, but her defining characteristic is her innocence. Shakespeare’s usage of Ophelia to represent innocence has undeniably shaped the interpretation of the name for the few hundred years since.

What is the Origin of the Name Ophelia?

The first recorded usage of Ophelia came in 1504 from Jacopo Sannazaro’s poem ”Arcadia,” where the name was spelled as “Ofelia”. Historians believe Sannazaro created the name from the Greek word “ōphéleia.” The poem soon became a classic, influencing other artists from William Shakespeare to Philip Sidney.

By the end of the 16th Century, the name had evolved to its modern spelling Ophelia with the opening of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” In the play, Ophelia was a Danish noblewoman and Hamlet’s love interest. The conflict between Hamlet and Ophelia’s father eventually led to her demise (1).

The character’s tragic end was credited for Ophelia being such an uncommon name in the years to come. Indeed, Ophelia is still a relatively new name with few namesakes beyond its origins.

How Popular is the Name Ophelia?

In the United States, Ophelia was a very rare name that stayed off the top 1000 girls’ names for over 50 years. In 2015, Ophelia ranked as the 979th most used girls’ name. By 2018, Ophelia had risen to 373rd and has remained consistently popular since (2).

In the UK, Ophelia has been somewhat popular for several decades. It rose to prominence around the 2010s and was the 180th most used girls’ name in the UK by 2020.

How Do I Pronounce Ophelia?

Ophelia is typically pronounced as “oh-FEEL-ee-aa” or “oh-FEEL-ya.”

Is Ophelia a Boy or Girl Name?

Ophelia is a feminine name, usually only given to girls. Though incredibly rare, Ophelius is an acceptable masculine variation of the name.

Variations of Ophelia

The name Ophelia is relatively new and therefore does not have very many variations across languages and countries. The variations that do exist come from its Greek root:

  • Availia (Greek)
  • Filia (Greek)
  • Ofelia (Greek)
  • Ofilia (Greek)
  • Ophelya (Greek)
  • Ophilia (Greek)
  • Ovalia (Greek)
  • Ovelia (Greek)
  • Phelia (Greek)
  • Ubelia (Greek)
  • Uvelia (Greek)

Nicknames for Ophelia

Nicknames are a clever way to show your loved ones how uniquely you care for them. Here is Ophelia’s small variety of nicknames:

  • Fellie
  • Filia
  • Filly
  • Layla
  • Leah
  • Ophie
  • Opi
  • Phelia
  • Phi
  • Philly

Similar Names to Ophelia

Ophelia is a fantastic name, but if it’s not quite in your wheelhouse, there are limitless options. In origin, meaning, and phonetics, here are some of the names most similar to Ophelia:

  • Adriana
  • Cody
  • Ezra
  • Fabian
  • Gertrude
  • Juno
  • Marcellus
  • Octavia
  • Othello
  • Paulina
  • Silvia
  • Titania

Middle Names for Ophelia

Many parents already have a middle name in mind when naming their newborn, but in case you don’t, here are some middle names that go great with Ophelia:

Sibling Names for Ophelia

Ophelia is a magical choice, and any siblings of Ophelia deserve names just as beautiful. Here are some we think go great with Ophelia:

For a Brother:

For a Sister:

  • Adriana
  • Elizabeth
  • Fiona
  • Helena
  • Luna
  • Regan
  • Silvia
  • Valeria

Famous People Named Ophelia

Ophelia only recently became a popular name, but that doesn’t mean it was unheard of before now. Here are some of Ophelia’s most notable namesakes:

  • Ophelia Benson: American feminist, editor, and author, best known for her books “Why Truth Matters” and “Does God Hate Women?”
  • Ophelia Dahl: British-American social justice advocate who co-founded Partners in Health, a nonprofit healthcare organization, in 1987.
  • Ophelia DeVore: American model, businesswoman, and publisher; first professional model in the US to be of African-American descent.
  • Ophelia Lovibond: English actress, best known for “No Strings Attached” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
  • Ophelia Ford: American politician and former Tennessee senator.

Ophelia in Popular Culture

Considering Ophelia was first introduced in a work of fiction, it makes sense that it’s remained a popular name for fiction writers since. Here are some of the most famous Ophelia’s in pop culture:

  • Ophelia: Danish noble and tragic love interest in Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet.”
  • Ophelia: Character in 1983 movie “Trading Places” portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis.
  • Ophelia Frump: Morticia’s eccentric sister in “The Addams Family.”
  • Ophelia “O” Sage: Love interest in 2012 movie “Savages” portrayed by Blake Lively.
  • Ofelia Salazar: Recurring character and initial survivor of the zombie apocalypse in AMC series “Fear the Walking Dead.”

Ophelia FAQs

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the name Ophelia.

Is Ophelia a Cool Name?

Aside from being a Shakespeare character, Ophelia is definitely a cool name. In 1986, NASA discovered a moon in the rings of Uranus that they later named Ophelia. What’s cooler than space?

Is Ophelia a Common Name?

Ophelia is a popular first name in the United States and Europe. The name only became as popular as it is in the last two decades.

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