Hippolytus, Hippolyte

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek ‘Ιππολυτος
Meaning: “freer of horses.”
Eng (hip-PAHL-ih-tus); Eng Fem (HIP-poh-LY-tee; hi-PAHL-i-tah) Fre (EEP-poh-LEET)

The name is derived from the Greek, Hippolytos (‘Ιππολυτος), which is composed of the elements, hippos (‘ιππος), meaning, “horse” and lyo (λυω) meaning, “to loosen.”

The name was borne in Greek mythology by a son of Theseus, and depending on some sources either the Amazon, Hippolyte (hence the name) or Antiope. He rejected the advances of his step-mother, Phaedra, who, when spurned, complained to Theseus that his son had raped her. In anger, Theseus cursed his own son, using of the his three wishes granted by Poseidon, Hippolytus was dragged to death by his horses after being frightened by a sea-monster. The story was retold both by Euripides in his play Hippolytus and by Seneca the Younger in his play, Phaedra.

His possible birth mother of Hippolyte was an Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle which denoted her rank. She appears in the legend of Hercules who seeks her girdle for the princess, Admeta. Hippolyte is so impressed with the immortal’s prowess that she gives Hercules her girdle as a gift. William Shakespeare may have based his character of Hippolyta who appears in A Midsummer’s Night Dream off of Hippolyte the Amazon queen.

The male form of Hippolytus appears several more times throughout Greek mythology as the name of minor characters.

It was also borne by some early renowned Christian saints, including Hippolytus of Rome a 3rd-century Christian theologian, writer and martyr.

In English and early Greek, Hippolyte often appears as a feminine form, but in French, it is an epicène name, that is a unisex name, however, it is more often used on males than on females. As of 2009, Hippolyte was the 286th most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ipolit Иполит (Bulgarian/Serbian)
  • Hipòlit (Catalan)
  • Hipolit (Croatian/Polish/Romanian/Slovak)
  • Hippolyt (Czech/German)
  • Hippolytus (Dutch/English/Latin)
  • Hippolyte (French)
  • Ipolite იპოლიტე (Georgian)
  • Hippolütosz (Hungarian)
  • Ippolito (Italian)
  • Hipolitas (Lithuanian)
  • Hipólito (Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Ippolit Ипполит (Romansch/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • ‘Ipołito (Venetian)
Feminine forms include:
  • Hipolita Хиполита (Albanian/Bulgarian/Serbian)
  • Ipalita Іпаліта (Belarusian)
  • Hipòlita (Catalan)
  • Hippolyta ‘Ιππολυτη (English/Greek/Latin/Romanian)
  • Hippolyte ‘Ιππολυτη (English/French/Greek)
  • Hippolüté (Hungarian)
  • Ippolita Ипполи́та (Italian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Hipolitė (Lithuanian)
  • Hippolita (Polish)
  • Hipólita (Portuguese/Spanish)

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