The name is borne in Greek mythology by the cloud bearing nephelai nymphs. They were the daughters of Oceanus and were responsible for the rain and the water which brought nourishment to the earth and plants. It was believed that it was they themselves who were felling the rain from cloudy pitchers they held in the sky.
It was also borne by the mother of Phrixos & Helle by Athamas. Athamas’ evil second wife, Ino, plotted to have Nephele’s children murdered. Nephele sent for a golden ram who took her children to safety.
A third Nephele found in Greek mythology was the mother of centaurs by Ixion. She was a woman created from a cloud
The Latin name is Nebula.
Other forms that should be noted (Note: These forms exist but are not necessarily in usage)
- Nèfele (Catalan/Galician/Spanish)
- Néphélé (French)
- Nefele (Italian/Polish/Portuguese)
- Nefelė (Lithuanian)