Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “gift of the god.”
Eng (DOR-thee); (DORE-e-THEE)

The name is derived from the Greek female name, Δωροθέα (Dōrothea), which is composed of the Greek elements, δωρον (doron) and θεος (theos).

In the early Christian church, the name was borne by a Greek virgin martyr. It was also borne by a 13th-century German saint who is considered the patron saint of Prussia.

In the English speaking world, the name has been in usage since the Middle Ages, but like other saints names, fell out of usage during the Protestant Reformation and was revived in the 18th-century.

Dorothy fell out of the U.S. top 1000 after 2006, when she came in 990th most popular female name. Between 1920 and 1927, she was the 2nd most popular female name.

The name is found in L. Frank Baum’s children fantasy series, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).

Its English diminutive offshoot, Dolly, was also occasionally used as an independent given name, as is the case with American First Lady, Dolley Madison, (née Dolley Payne Todd Madison), 1768-1849. In fact, the modern English word for doll is supposedly derived from the female given name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Doroteja Доротеја (Bulgarian/Polish/Serbian)
  • Dorotea (Catalan/Croatian/Estonian/Italian/Norwegian/Slovene/Spanish/Swedish)
  • Dorota (Czech/Polish/Slovak)
  • Dorothea (Dutch/English/German/Greek/Norwegian)
  • Teija (Finnish)
  • Terhi (Finnish: literally means “mist” but is also used as a cognate of Dorothy. See Terhi).
  • Dorothy (English)
  • Dolly (English)
  • Durita (Faroese)
  • Dorothée (French)
  • Dortje/Doortje/Dörtje (Frisian)
  • Dorika (Hungarian)
  • Dorina/Dorinka (Hungarian/Romansch)
  • Dorottya (Hungarian)
  • Dórótea (Icelandic)
  • Dace (Latvian: currently the 7th most popular female name in Latvia, 2005. DAHT-say).
  • Darta (Latvian)
  • Darata (Lithuanian)
  • Dorotëja (Lithuanian)
  • Urta/Urtė (Lithuanian)
  • Dorte/Dorthe (Low German)
  • Dörte/Dörthe (Low German)
  • Dürte/Dürten (Low German)
  • Dortea/Dorthea (Norwegian)
  • Dochna (Polish: archaic)
  • Doroteia (Portuguese)
  • Dorofei Дорофей (Russian)
  • Dorofeja (Russian)
  • Dorote (Swedish)
  • Dorit (Swedish)
  • Dorofija/Dorotija (Ukrainian)

An obscure French diminutive is Dorette.

A Danish diminutive form is Ditte.

German short forms include: Dodo, Dora, Dore, Dorel, Dorett, Dorle, Dorli, Doro, Tea and Thea.

English nicknames are: Dodie, Dodo, Doll, Dolly, Dot, Dottie and Thea.

Polish diminutives are Dosia and Dorotka.

Dorita is a Spanish diminutive.

An Italian masculine form is Doroteo and the Greek masculine form is Dorotheos.

Theodora shares the same etymology.

The designated name-day is February 6.

2 thoughts on “Dorothy

  1. Dorthea is a version used in Norway that I’m considering myself…
    I never liked Dorothy but the Dot nickname is a favourite!
    Dorthea is a version I love, but it only sounds good in Norwegian to me…
    It’s also sometimes spelled Dortea 🙂

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