The name is of uncertain origins, many scholars believe that the name is pre-Hellenistic and is related to an ancient word, penelops (πηνελοψ), which means “duck,” others argue that the name is Greek compound name composed of the elements, pene (πηνη) meaning “threads.” Many scholars feel that the latter is the most appropriate since it was the name of Odysseus wife who kept her suitors at bay by pretending to weave.
The name appears in Greek mythology as the name of a wood nymph who was speculated to be the mother of the god Pan.
The name is occasionally used in German, Italian,
Other forms of the name include:
- Penèlope (Catalan)
- Penelopa (Croatian/Polish/Romanian/Serbian: Pela, Pelka and Pelcia are the Polish diminutives)
- Pénélope (French)
- Penelópē Πηνελόπεια/Πηνελόπη (Greek)
- Pénelopé (Hungarian)
- Penelopė (Lithuanian)
- Penelopeia (Norwegian/Danish/Swedish)
- Penélope (Spanish/Portuguese)
The name is currenly borne by Spanish actress Penelope Cruz.
Possible English nickname options, include, Penny, Poppy, Lola, and Nell.