Helen Name Meaning

Lastest Updated June 7, 2024
Home » Baby Names » Helen Name Meaning

Fact: In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy’s beauty was said to have sparked the Trojan War.

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A Deep Dive

Helen Overview

Meaning

Light, torch, shining, warming

Gender

Girl

Origin

Greek

Etymology

Derived from the Greek name ‘Ἑλένη’ (Helene).

Religion

Christianity

Pronunciation

/ˈhɛlən/

Popularity

Helen has been popular, especially during the early 20th century.

Syllable

2 syllables

Length

5 letters

Numerology

8 (Practical, Ambitious, Materialistic)

Name Styles

Classic, Vintage, Mythological

Associated Traits

Beauty, radiance, wisdom, strength

Spiritual, Religious, or Cultural Significance

Linked to Greek mythology as Helen of Troy and to Christian history through Saint Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine I.

Name Day

May 21st
A Deep Dive

Helen Variations in Different Cultures

Popular Variations

Helena, Elena, Ellen, Helene, Hélène, Eileen, Elin, Eleanor, Elaine, Ilona

Common Nicknames

Nellie, Leni, Hela, Lainie, Lina, Helenka

Diminutives

Nell, Lena, Ellie, Elle

Famous People

  • Helen Keller
    (American Activist)
  • Helen Mirren
    (British Actress)
  • Helen Hunt
    (American Actress)
  • Helen McCrory
    (British Actress)
  • Helen Reddy
    (Australian-American Singer)

Pop Culture Icons and Works

  • Helen of Troy
    ("The Iliad," Ancient Greek Epic Poem)
  • Helen
    ("Troy," Film)
  • Helen Parr
    ("The Incredibles," Film)
  • Helen Harris
    ("Raising Helen," Film)

Places

  • Helen City
    (Georgia, USA)
  • Lake Helen City
    (Florida, USA)
  • Mount St. Helen
    (Washington, USA)

What Is the Meaning of Helen?

Helen is a name with the meaning “light,” “torch,” or “shining.”

This name has historically been associated with beauty and radiance.

What Is the Origin of The Name Helen?

The name Helen derives from the Greek name ‘Ἑλένη’ (Helene), which is believed to come from the word “helios,” meaning “sun,” or “selene,” meaning “moon.”

The name’s history is richly woven into Greek mythology, where Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda.

Its significance carried over into Christian contexts, where Saint Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine I, was renowned for finding the True Cross, lending the name historical and spiritual weight.

Helen Name Popularity

Popularity Chart of the Name Helen in the U.S. over the Years

United States flagUnited States#4432021#4212022#3972023
Top 3 Rankings#21900#21901#21902

Annual Statistics Breakdown for Helen

YearName RankingNumber of BirthsBirth Rate (%)
2023397
(+24 from 2022)
768
(+19 from 2022)
0.04391
2022421
(+22 from 2021)
749
(+45 from 2021)
0.04177
2021443
(-18 from 2020)
704
(-17 from 2020)
0.03930
2020425
(+2 from 2019)
721
(-22 from 2019)
0.04079
2019427
(-13 from 2018)
743
(-2 from 2018)
0.04049
2018414
(+4 from 2017)
745
(-18 from 2017)
0.04006
2017418
(-9 from 2016)
763
(-52 from 2016)
0.04039
2016409
(+10 from 2015)
815
(+48 from 2015)
0.04210
2015419
(-16 from 2014)
767
(-35 from 2014)
0.03932
2014403
(+8 from 2013)
802
(+62 from 2013)
0.04100
2013411
(-8 from 2012)
740
(-32 from 2012)
0.03839
2012403
(+26 from 2011)
772
(+42 from 2011)
0.03980
2011429
(+8 from 2010)
730
(+26 from 2010)
0.03767
2010437
(-49 from 2009)
704
(-122 from 2009)
0.03591
2009388
(-20 from 2008)
826
(-59 from 2008)
0.04079
2008368
(-19 from 2007)
885
(-47 from 2007)
0.04249
2007349
(-2 from 2006)
932
(-17 from 2006)
0.04403
2006347
(-14 from 2005)
949
(-11 from 2005)
0.04540
2005333
(+31 from 2004)
960
(+99 from 2004)
0.04730
2004364
(+28 from 2003)
861
(+78 from 2003)
0.04267
2003392
(-51 from 2002)
783
(-92 from 2002)
0.03902
2002341
(+3 from 2001)
875
(-9 from 2001)
0.04430
2001344
(+1 from 2000)
884
(-7 from 2000)
0.04463
2000345
(+11 from 1999)
891
(+50 from 1999)
0.04465
1999356
(-8 from 1998)
841
(+9 from 1998)
0.04320
1998348
(-3 from 1997)
832
(+20 from 1997)
0.04292
1997345
(-33 from 1996)
812
(-88 from 1996)
0.04253
1996312
(+12 from 1995)
900
(+62 from 1995)
0.04694
1995324
(-3 from 1994)
838
(-11 from 1994)
0.04361
1994321
(-14 from 1993)
849
(-19 from 1993)
0.04355
1993307
(+19 from 1992)
868
(+40 from 1992)
0.04403
1992326
(+14 from 1991)
828
(+54 from 1991)
0.04130
1991340
(-24 from 1990)
774
(-89 from 1990)
0.03806
1990316
(-12 from 1989)
863
(+5 from 1989)
0.04201
1989304
(+18 from 1988)
858
(+84 from 1988)
0.04307
1988322
(-25 from 1987)
774
(-42 from 1987)
0.04025
1987297
(+14 from 1986)
816
(+48 from 1986)
0.04354
1986311
(-10 from 1985)
768
(-40 from 1985)
0.04161
1985301
(-20 from 1984)
808
(-50 from 1984)
0.04376
1984281
(-3 from 1983)
858
(+14 from 1983)
0.04758
1983278
(+1 from 1982)
844
(-32 from 1982)
0.04716
1982279
(-4 from 1981)
876
(-23 from 1981)
0.04828
1981275
(-3 from 1980)
899
(-14 from 1980)
0.05027
1980272
(+7 from 1979)
913
(+35 from 1979)
0.05127
1979279
(-24 from 1978)
878
(-46 from 1978)
0.05095
1978255
(-6 from 1977)
924
(-70 from 1977)
0.05621
1977249
(+1 from 1976)
994
(+50 from 1976)
0.06043
1976250
(-21 from 1975)
944
(-115 from 1975)
0.06005
1975229
(-4 from 1974)
1059
(-82 from 1974)
0.06785
1974225
(-4 from 1973)
1141
(+5 from 1973)
0.07285
1973221
(+4 from 1972)
1136
(-105 from 1972)
0.07310
1972225
(-16 from 1971)
1241
(-199 from 1971)
0.07696
1971209
(-18 from 1970)
1440
(-278 from 1970)
0.08216
1970191
(-16 from 1969)
1718
(-140 from 1969)
0.09378
1969175
(-2 from 1968)
1858
(-26 from 1968)
0.10540
1968173
(-15 from 1967)
1884
(-272 from 1967)
0.11020
1967158
(-14 from 1966)
2156
(-291 from 1966)
0.12558
1966144
(-7 from 1965)
2447
(-354 from 1965)
0.13937
1965137
(-5 from 1964)
2801
(-299 from 1964)
0.15327
1964132
(-8 from 1963)
3100
(-238 from 1963)
0.15838
1963124
(+4 from 1962)
3338
(-248 from 1962)
0.16790
1962128
(-9 from 1961)
3586
(-272 from 1961)
0.17692
1961119
(-1 from 1960)
3858
(-211 from 1960)
0.18574
1960118
(-10 from 1959)
4069
(-305 from 1959)
0.19565
1959108
(-8 from 1958)
4374
(-395 from 1958)
0.21043
1958100
(-5 from 1957)
4769
(-251 from 1957)
0.23086
195795
(-5 from 1956)
5020
(-260 from 1956)
0.23926
195690
(-12 from 1955)
5280
(-311 from 1955)
0.25637
195578
(-6 from 1954)
5591
(-356 from 1954)
0.27887
195472
(-7 from 1953)
5947
(-176 from 1953)
0.29872
195365
(-2 from 1952)
6123
(-340 from 1952)
0.31734
195263
(-9 from 1951)
6463
(-487 from 1951)
0.33980
195154
(-4 from 1950)
6950
(-109 from 1950)
0.37623
195050
(-4 from 1949)
7059
(-648 from 1949)
0.40142
194946
(-6 from 1948)
7707
(-594 from 1948)
0.43902
194840
(-2 from 1947)
8301
(-679 from 1947)
0.47633
194738
(-2 from 1946)
8980
(+129 from 1946)
0.49398
194636
(-5 from 1945)
8851
(+550 from 1945)
0.54876
194531
No change from 1944
8301
(-395 from 1944)
0.61667
194431
(-3 from 1943)
8696
(-1103 from 1943)
0.63636
194328
(-2 from 1942)
9799
(-217 from 1942)
0.68267
194226
(-2 from 1941)
10016
(+130 from 1941)
0.72033
194124
(-6 from 1940)
9886
(-319 from 1940)
0.79342
194018
(-2 from 1939)
10205
(-213 from 1939)
0.86385
193916
(-3 from 1938)
10418
(-418 from 1938)
0.91864
193813
(-1 from 1937)
10836
(-619 from 1937)
0.94932
193712
(-1 from 1936)
11455
(-779 from 1936)
1.03962
193611
(-1 from 1935)
12234
(-550 from 1935)
1.13535
193510
(-1 from 1934)
12784
(-1317 from 1934)
1.17633
19349
(-1 from 1933)
14101
(-543 from 1933)
1.30282
19338
No change from 1932
14644
(-1732 from 1932)
1.39995
19328
(-2 from 1931)
16376
(-1287 from 1931)
1.48025
19316
(-2 from 1930)
17663
(-2251 from 1930)
1.60032
19304
No change from 1929
19914
(-1068 from 1929)
1.70722
19294
No change from 1928
20982
(-1954 from 1928)
1.81262
19284
No change from 1927
22936
(-2383 from 1927)
1.91848
19274
No change from 1926
25319
(-1566 from 1926)
2.04773
19264
No change from 1925
26885
(-2287 from 1925)
2.18546
19254
(-1 from 1924)
29172
(-2022 from 1924)
2.30959
19243
No change from 1923
31194
(-292 from 1923)
2.40755
19233
No change from 1922
31486
(-1024 from 1922)
2.51392
19223
No change from 1921
32510
(-2312 from 1921)
2.60585
19213
No change from 1920
34822
(-275 from 1920)
2.72107
19203
(-1 from 1919)
35097
(+1391 from 1919)
2.82123
19192
No change from 1918
33706
(-2442 from 1918)
2.86948
19182
No change from 1917
36148
(+1897 from 1917)
3.00643
19172
No change from 1916
34251
(+1590 from 1916)
3.04809
19162
No change from 1915
32661
(+1795 from 1915)
3.00825
19152
No change from 1914
30866
(+7645 from 1914)
3.01466
19142
No change from 1913
23221
(+4333 from 1913)
2.91491
19132
No change from 1912
18888
(+2755 from 1912)
2.88404
19122
No change from 1911
16133
(+4332 from 1911)
2.74972
19112
No change from 1910
11801
(+1322 from 1910)
2.67102
19102
No change from 1909
10479
(+1229 from 1909)
2.49782
19092
No change from 1908
9250
(+811 from 1908)
2.51295
19082
No change from 1907
8439
(+860 from 1907)
2.38033
19072
No change from 1906
7579
(+403 from 1906)
2.24608
19062
No change from 1905
7176
(+365 from 1905)
2.28948
19052
No change from 1904
6811
(+323 from 1904)
2.19807
19042
No change from 1903
6488
(+359 from 1903)
2.21861
19032
No change from 1902
6129
(+162 from 1902)
2.20312
19022
No change from 1901
5967
(+720 from 1901)
2.12856
19012
No change from 1900
5247
(-1095 from 1900)
2.06389
19002
(+1 from 1899)
6342
(+1294 from 1899)
1.99598
18993
No change from 1898
5048
(-182 from 1898)
2.03969
18983
No change from 1897
5230
(+711 from 1897)
1.90774
18973
No change from 1896
4519
(+127 from 1896)
1.82016
18963
No change from 1895
4392
(+369 from 1895)
1.74291
18953
(+1 from 1894)
4023
(+347 from 1894)
1.62805
18944
(+2 from 1893)
3676
(+427 from 1893)
1.55781
18936
(+3 from 1892)
3249
(+313 from 1892)
1.44251
18929
No change from 1891
2936
(+519 from 1891)
1.30539
18919
(+3 from 1890)
2417
(+105 from 1890)
1.22961
189012
(+5 from 1889)
2312
(+403 from 1889)
1.14647
188917
(-1 from 1888)
1909
(+62 from 1888)
1.00889
188816
(+5 from 1887)
1847
(+442 from 1887)
0.97495
188721
(+4 from 1886)
1405
(+138 from 1886)
0.90398
188625
(+3 from 1885)
1267
(+133 from 1885)
0.82415
188528
(+5 from 1884)
1134
(+148 from 1884)
0.79889
188433
(+2 from 1883)
986
(+124 from 1883)
0.71665
188335
(-4 from 1882)
862
(+24 from 1882)
0.71797
188231
(+12 from 1881)
838
(+226 from 1881)
0.72432
188143
(-8 from 1880)
612
(-24 from 1880)
0.61909
188035
First SSA data recorded
636
First SSA data recorded
0.65161

American States Popularity Rankings for Helen

(From the Most to Least Popular, Based on Number of Births )

Pennsylvania (PA)

Pennsylvania (PA) flagPennsylvania (PA)#7182021#6492022#7472023

New York (NY)

New York (NY) flagNew York (NY)#3532021#4062022#4422023

Illinois (IL)

Illinois (IL) flagIllinois (IL)#5632021#5562022#6552023

Ohio (OH)

Ohio (OH) flagOhio (OH)#7432021#4572022#6142023

California (CA)

California (CA) flagCalifornia (CA)#5082021#5142022#3442023

Texas (TX)

Texas (TX) flagTexas (TX)#4652021#3532022#3602023

New Jersey (NJ)

New Jersey (NJ) flagNew Jersey (NJ)#4042021#3832022#3382023

Massachusetts (MA)

Massachusetts (MA) flagMassachusetts (MA)#2612021#2542022#4092023

Michigan (MI)

Michigan (MI) flagMichigan (MI)#6322021#5702022#5182023

Missouri (MO)

Missouri (MO) flagMissouri (MO)#6402021#5752022#6772023

North Carolina (NC)

North Carolina (NC) flagNorth Carolina (NC)#2852021#4352022#4042023

Indiana (IN)

Indiana (IN) flagIndiana (IN)#4652021#4872022#4102023

Virginia (VA)

Virginia (VA) flagVirginia (VA)#2352021#2462022#2922023

Tennessee (TN)

Tennessee (TN) flagTennessee (TN)#4412021#3552022#4582023

Kentucky (KY)

Kentucky (KY) flagKentucky (KY)#4762021#4892022#5292023

Georgia (GA)

Georgia (GA) flagGeorgia (GA)#3172021#3882022#2562023

Wisconsin (WI)

Wisconsin (WI) flagWisconsin (WI)#6302021#4822022#4272023

Minnesota (MN)

Minnesota (MN) flagMinnesota (MN)#4572021#3512022#4742023

West Virginia (WV)

West Virginia (WV) flagWest Virginia (WV)#2601997#3592007#3532009

Iowa (IA)

Iowa (IA) flagIowa (IA)#5202020#4582021#6202022

Alabama (AL)

Alabama (AL) flagAlabama (AL)#3712021#2642022#3572023

Maryland (MD)

Maryland (MD) flagMaryland (MD)#3692021#1342022#2242023

Oklahoma (OK)

Oklahoma (OK) flagOklahoma (OK)#5742021#6572022#6582023

Louisiana (LA)

Louisiana (LA) flagLouisiana (LA)#6112021#6752022#4462023

South Carolina (SC)

South Carolina (SC) flagSouth Carolina (SC)#6272021#3312022#3782023

Connecticut (CT)

Connecticut (CT) flagConnecticut (CT)#5132021#3632022#2552023

Arkansas (AR)

Arkansas (AR) flagArkansas (AR)#3272021#2272022#2432023

Kansas (KS)

Kansas (KS) flagKansas (KS)#6152020#4042021#5262023

Mississippi (MS)

Mississippi (MS) flagMississippi (MS)#4962021#3752022#3602023

Florida (FL)

Florida (FL) flagFlorida (FL)#4722021#5182022#3862023

Nebraska (NE)

Nebraska (NE) flagNebraska (NE)#4002017#3802018#3612020

Washington (WA)

Washington (WA) flagWashington (WA)#4202021#2782022#4242023

Colorado (CO)

Colorado (CO) flagColorado (CO)#3162021#4882022#2932023

Oregon (OR)

Oregon (OR) flagOregon (OR)#3382020#3372021#4772023

Montana (MT)

Montana (MT) flagMontana (MT)#2321981#2311982#1872001

District of Columbia (DC)

District of Columbia (DC) flagDistrict of Columbia (DC)#1032020#1862021#1962022

North Dakota (ND)

North Dakota (ND) flagNorth Dakota (ND)#1681964#2241965#2111970

Rhode Island (RI)

Rhode Island (RI) flagRhode Island (RI)#1512005#1822007#1992012

South Dakota (SD)

South Dakota (SD) flagSouth Dakota (SD)#1951968#1861970#2051977

Utah (UT)

Utah (UT) flagUtah (UT)#5252019#5232021#4242023

Maine (ME)

Maine (ME) flagMaine (ME)#1612008#2042009#2062010

Arizona (AZ)

Arizona (AZ) flagArizona (AZ)#8652021#7952022#5242023

New Mexico (NM)

New Mexico (NM) flagNew Mexico (NM)#3572008#3142017#2102023

Idaho (ID)

Idaho (ID) flagIdaho (ID)#3932005#4062007#3372017

Hawaii (HI)

Hawaii (HI) flagHawaii (HI)#2111990#2721993#2532005

New Hampshire (NH)

New Hampshire (NH) flagNew Hampshire (NH)#1781999#1592000#1982002

Delaware (DE)

Delaware (DE) flagDelaware (DE)#1501977#1712006#2032020

Vermont (VT)

Vermont (VT) flagVermont (VT)#1171968#1321975#861999

Wyoming (WY)

Wyoming (WY) flagWyoming (WY)#861965#1241975#1581983

Alaska (AK)

Alaska (AK) flagAlaska (AK)#1482009#1862017#1652018

Nevada (NV)

Nevada (NV) flagNevada (NV)#3682017#3182019#3832022

Popularity Rankings for Helen in other Countries and American Territories

(From the Most to Least Popular, Based on Rankings)

Popularity in Australia (NSW)

Australia (NSW) flagAustralia (NSW)#731980#921981#841982

Popularity in Iceland

Iceland flagIceland#2972022#1182023

Popularity in Chile

Chile flagChile#1722009#1792010#1912011

Popularity in Germany

Germany flagGermany#2332021#2282022#2312023

Popularity in Ireland

Ireland flagIreland#3902021#3892022#2622023

Popularity in New Zealand

New Zealand flagNew Zealand#3102007#3942008#3642011

Popularity in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland flagNorthern Ireland#3112011#4402013#3912023

Popularity in Poland

Poland flagPoland#5742018#5072019#3292022

Popularity in Scotland

Scotland flagScotland#3942011#3972012#3462014

Popularity in Norway

Norway flagNorway#3652019#4062021#4672022

Popularity in Switzerland

Switzerland flagSwitzerland#6392020#5882021#3932022

Popularity in Sweden

Sweden flagSweden#4332022#5502023

Popularity in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico flagPuerto Rico#6281999#5402002#5132005

Popularity in Canada

Canada flagCanada#6822020#6622021#6802022

Popularity in Quebec, Canada

Quebec, Canada flagQuebec, Canada#6882012#8112015#6942016

Popularity in England and Wales

England and Wales flagEngland and Wales#7492019#7492020#7882021

Source: Social Security Administration (SSA) and Other National Sources

Is Helen a Name for Boys or Girls?

Helen is predominantly a female name with feminine beauty and grace due to its mythological and historical connections.

Variants, Nicknames, Diminutives, and Ideal Middle Names for Helen

Helen in Famous People Names, Pop Culture, and Places

  • Helen Keller (Activist, 1880–1968): An American author, political activist, and lecturer who overcame the adversity of being both deaf and blind to become a leading humanitarian.
  • Helen Mirren (Actress, born 1945): A renowned British actress known for her roles in "The Queen" and "Prime Suspect," and a recipient of an Academy Award, Tony Award, and multiple Emmys.
  • Helen Hunt (Actress, born 1963): An American actress famous for her roles in "Mad About You" and "As Good as It Gets," winning both an Academy Award and multiple Emmy Awards.
  • Helen McCrory (Actress, 1968–2021): A British actress known for her roles in "Peaky Blinders" and "Harry Potter" series.
  • Helen Reddy (Singer, 1941–2020): An Australian-American singer best known for her hit song "I Am Woman," which became an anthem for the feminist movement.
  • Helen Fielding (Author, born 1958): The English novelist and screenwriter behind the beloved "Bridget Jones's Diary" series.
  • Helen Clark (Politician, born 1950): A New Zealand politician who served as the Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008.
  • Helen Hayes (Actress, 1900–1993): Known as the "First Lady of American Theatre," she was one of the few people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.
  • Helen Skelton (TV Presenter, born 1983): An English television presenter known for co-hosting "Blue Peter" and "Countryfile."
  • Helen Glover (Rower, born 1986): A British rower who is a two-time Olympic champion and a multiple world champion in coxless pairs.
  • Helen of Troy ("The Iliad," Ancient Greek Epic Poem): Known as the face that launched a thousand ships, she is a central figure in Greek mythology and the Trojan War.
  • Helen ("Troy," 2004 Film): Played by Diane Kruger, Helen is portrayed as the beautiful queen whose abduction by Paris sparks the Trojan War.
  • Helen Parr ("The Incredibles," 2004 Film): Also known as Elastigirl, she is a superheroine in the Pixar animated film.
  • Helen Harris ("Raising Helen," 2004 Film): Played by Kate Hudson, this character takes on the responsibility of raising her sister's children.
  • Helen Tasker ("True Lies," 1994 Film): Played by Jamie Lee Curtis, she is the unsuspecting wife of a secret agent.
  • Helen Thermopolis ("The Princess Diaries," 2001 Film): The mother of Mia Thermopolis, portrayed by Julie Andrews.
  • Helen Benson ("The Day the Earth Stood Still," 1951/2008 Film): A character who interacts with the alien Klaatu in this classic science fiction film.
  • Helen Schlegel ("Howards End," 1992 Film): Played by Helena Bonham Carter, she is one of the central characters in this adaptation of E.M. Forster's novel.
  • Helen Tasker ("True Lies," 1994 Film): A character portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis who discovers her husband is a spy.
  • Helen City (Georgia, USA): A city in the Appalachian Mountains known for its Bavarian-style buildings and alpine aesthetic.
  • Lake Helen City (Florida, USA): A small city named after a nearby lake, known for its historic architecture and small-town charm.
  • Mount St. Helen (Washington, USA): A volcanic peak in the Cascade Range, famous for its catastrophic eruption in 1980.

Similar Names to Helen

Sibling Names for Helen