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Rhea Name Meaning (Origin, Popularity & Nicknames)

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

Rhea Overview

  • Meaning: Rhea means “flowing” or “flowing body of water” in Greek.
  • Gender: Rhea is a girl’s name.
  • Origin: Rhea dates back to ancient Greece and refers to a Titan in Greek mythology known to ease childbirth for expectant mothers.
  • Pronunciation: Rhea is pronounced “REE-ah” or “RHEY-ah” in English.
  • Popularity: Rhea ranked in the top 500 U.S. girl’s names quite recently. It debuted in 1901 in the U.S. at 387th and fell off the top 1,000 charts until 2015.
  • Nicknames: Ea, Rae, Ray, Ree, Ree-Ree, Ri-Ri, Rikku.
  • Variations: Rea, Reah, Ree, Rhae, Rhaya, Rhealyn, Rheanna, Rheya, Rhia, Rhiah, Rhiya, Ria, Riah, Rya, Ryah.
  • Namesakes: Rhea Perlman, American actress known for the 1980s series “Cheers.” Rhea May Taleb, Lebanese footballer with Safa.

What Does Rhea Mean?

Rhea’s origins can be found in ancient Greek, which refers to “a flowing stream” or simply “flowing.” It’s based on the Greek “hreo” or “rheos,” both meaning “river” and “stream.” In a more profound sense, Rhea’s meaning describes the “flowing” of time using a stream as a metaphor.

It remains an integral part of Greek mythology, as Rhea was the name of a Titan who was the mother of the gods.

What Is the Origin of the Name Rhea?

Rhea’s Greek origins center around the Titan called Rhea, mother to the Olympian gods and goddesses. She is associated with fertility, childbirth, and easing the stress of expectant mothers. Rhea became a girl’s name that celebrates the “flowing through time” that motherhood represents.

Rhea is also sometimes linked to ancient Latin through “res” and “regnum,” which denote a poppy flower. Keeping to the mythological themes of Rhea, it also refers to Rhea Silvia, the mother of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Rhea is also the name of a priestess who mothered Aventinus, son of Hercules.

Rhea is also a lesser-known Irish surname, initially used for Scottish descendants of the Picts. Anyone named Rhea was “prosperous” since the Gaelic form of Mac Rath means “son of grace” or “son of prosperity.”

How Popular Is the Name Rhea?

Rhea is somewhat popular in the U.S. but not consistently. It peaked for U.S. girls in 1901 at 387th, only to diminish in popularity throughout the 20th-century. Rhea reappeared among the U.S. top 1,000 girls’ names in 2015 and recently ranked between 1,174th and 447th in the last two years in the U.S.

How Do I Pronounce Rhea?

Rhea can be pronounced as “RIY-aa” or “REY-ah” in English.

Is Rhea a Boy or Girl Name?

Rhea is a girl’s name that hasn’t yet turned trendy enough for boys to use.

Variations of Rhea

Find more than a couple of interesting variations of Rhea below:

  • Rea (German)
  • Reah (English)
  • Ree (English)
  • Rhae (English)
  • Rhaya (Greek)
  • Rhealyn (English)
  • Rheanna (English)
  • Rheya (Greek)
  • Rhia (Greek)
  • Rhiah (Greek)
  • Rhiya (Sanskrit)
  • Ria (German)
  • Riah (English)
  • Rya (English)
  • Ryah (English)

Nicknames for Rhea

Keep it short and sweet with cute nicknames for Rhea:

  • Ea
  • Rae
  • Ray
  • Ree
  • Ree-Ree
  • Rikku
  • Ri-Ri

Similar Names to Rhea

There are multiple names like Rhea, many of which are based on mythology:

Middle Names for Rhea

Keep things classic and feminine with these middle names for Rhea:

Sibling Names for Rhea

You’ll be proud of these names for Rhea’s brother or sister, which are as cool as Rhea herself:

Famous People Named Rhea

Find out who the most famous Rhea is and how she (and others like her) made her mark:

  • Rhea Bailey: An English actress appearing on “Coronation Street.”
  • Rhea Belgrave: Footballer for the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national team.
  • Rhea Chakraborty: Indian actress and MTV India VJ.
  • Rhea Chiles: Floridian first lady from 1991 to 1998.
  • Rhea Clyman: Polish-Canadian journalist known for reporting on the USSR.
  • Rhea Dimaculangan: Filipino volleyball player for the Petron Tri-Activ Spikers.
  • Rhea Fairbairn: Canadian tennis player who competed in the 1911 Ohio State tournament.
  • Rhea Galanaki: Greek writer of “The Century of Labyrinths.”
  • Rhea G. Sikes: American TV producer for “PBS.”
  • Rhea Haines: American silent film actress in “Mary Ellen Comes To Town.”
  • Rhea Litré: American singer who released “Lovergirl” in 2016.
  • Rhea Mazumdar Singhal: Indian businesswoman who won the Nari Shakti Puraskar award.
  • Rhea Rajagopalan: Indian-American singer known for the 2019 single “Royalty.”
  • Rhea Ripley: Australian wrestler for WWE.
  • Rhea Santos: Filipino broadcaster for the GMA network.
  • Rhea Seddon: American astronaut for three NASA Space Shuttle flights.
  • Rhea Seehorn: American actress appearing on the series “Better Call Saul.”
  • Rhea Sharma: Indian actress known for “M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story” (2016).
  • Rhea Tregebov: Canadian children’s book writer known for “The Big Storm” (1992).
  • Rhea Woltman: American pilot included in the Mercury 13.

Rhea in Popular Culture

Rhea pops up in unique places, from television shows to comic books:

  • Rhea: Character from the role-play video game Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.
  • Rhea: Character in the TV series “Supergirl.”
  • Rhea Jarrell: Antagonist appearing in the second season of the TV series “Succession.”
  • Rhea Jones: Character appearing in various DC Comics stories.
  • Rhea of the Cöos: Character in the “Dark Tower” book series by Stephen King.

Rhea FAQs

Better understand everything that hasn’t been covered about Rhea here.

Is Rhea an Arabic Name?

Rhea’s origins are Greek, meaning “flowing water.” It’s closely linked to the Titan called Rhea in Greek mythology. In Arabic, Rhea (sometimes spelled Reah) is a diminutive for Reyah. Reyah’s meanings are quite different and include “sands,” “winds,” and “strength.” Reyah is more closely associated with the Hebrew Raya than the Greek Rhea.

What Is Rhea the Goddess Of?

In Greek mythology, Rhea is the mother to all the gods and goddesses. She is a titan, which means she is a pre-Olympian god. Rhea is commonly related to motherhood, fertility, and childbirth, especially where comfort is concerned. Her parents are Gaia, the Earth’s mother, and Uranus, the god of the heavens. Rhea comes from a union of “earth” and “sky.”

What Does the Name Reyah Mean in Hebrew?

The Hebrew Reyah is derived from Arabic, where it denotes “affection” and “companionship.” It also means “a nice scent” or refers to someone who is “victorious.” Above all else, Reyah can mean “friend” in Hebrew. More than just a friend, the Hebrew Reyah is used to describe someone you could tell all your secrets to.

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.