A scarlet letter
A scarlet letter by Monceau via Flickr

Take one part Juliet, add a dash of popular picks from Amy to Amanda to Amelia and you’ll arrive at this poetic rarity.

Thanks to Heather for suggesting Amoret as our Baby Name of the Day.

File Amoret with Belphoebe and Clarinda – names invented by Edmund Spenser for The Faerie Queene.  She’s a relatively minor character in the epic poem.  Amoret is twin to Belphoebe.  The sisters are opposites; while Belphoebe is a virgin, Amoret is married.  Belphoebe and other female characters set off on quests and adventures, fight off their attackers, and generally do all sorts of exciting things, while Amoret is relatively passive.  She’s kidnapped on her wedding night, and rescued by Britomart, a female knight who handily defeats the evil sorcerer responsible for separating the newlyweds.

Then again, the sisters didn’t grow up together.  Spenser tells us that Belphoebe was raised by the goddess Diana, and trained to hunt.  Amoret was fostered by Venus in the Garden of Adonis.

Her name is fitting.  Amoret comes from the Latin amor – to love – plus the ending -et.  You might find the meaning listed as “little loved one.”  It’s the tiniest bit of a stretch – Amor was never a given name, so Amoret isn’t exactly a diminutive form, like Annette or Juliet.  She’s more like Scarlett or Bridget, a name in her own right that just happens to end in -et.

Edmund Spenser wasn’t the only one to use Amoret in his era.  In the early 1600s, Sir John Fletcher was an incredibly popular playwright – Shakespeare’s successor.  He penned The Faithful Shepherdess around 1608.  Clorin is the main character, and Amoret is her fellow sheperdhess.  When a meddlesome rival intereferes in Amoret’s romance with her beau Perigot, Clorin intervenes and ensures that the couple live happily ever after.

Later in the 1600s, Welsh poet Henry Vaughan published a volume with most of his work addressed “to Amoret.”  Doubtless others did the same.

She’s been sparingly used as a personal name through the years, just like many of Spenser’s inventions.  But parents today might discover her through another source: Jenny Nimmo’s series, The Children of the Red King. Nimmo’s hero is a boy named Charlie Bone.  He’s descended from Amoret, the youngest daughter of the Red King.  As he goes on a series of Harry Potter-esque adventures, the backstory of the Red King dynasty is revealed.

There’s a town in Missouri called Amoret, and plenty of women named Amoret appearing in the historical record, including US Census records.  But she remains a rarity, never entering the US Top 1000.  Variants like Amoretta – Spenser even used it – can be found, too.

If you’re looking for a rarity that is feminine but frills-free, that would sound perfectly current and yet truly distinctive, Amoret is one to consider.  Her meaning is appealing, and there are possible nicknames aplenty.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I like Amoret/Amorette/Amoretta, it is on my list. I find it romantic. But I like Canacee too! Will you do a post on her too?

  2. I found this name in a turn of the century name book in New York. I named my daughter Amoret on December 1, 1988. Her nickname is Rett. She is 23 now and the name has served her well. She is always told it is a very romantic sounding name. She is very lovely and quite a classy lady. She was popular in high school for her kindness and acceptance of others. She is now in college finshing up her studies. She will be traveling over seas to work with orphaned children for a year. She is conservative in views and I feel she reflects her name nicely … little love.

  3. I am an Amoret! I was named after my Godmother, whose parents were literary types so they got it from The Faeirie Queene. I’ve always loved having the name – I don’t think I’ve ever been introduced to anyone who hasn’t said “what a lovely name, where does it come from”! Although lots of people think it’s French and must have an “ette” on the end. I always just say that it’s “Old English”. Rather bizarre that there are lots of references to “Juliet” here, as that’s my sister’s name! I would highly recommend “Amoret”, except that I’m rather protective over my name and so don’t want lots more of us out there!

  4. I love this name! It’s actually one that I had written down to keep in mind. I knew of the Faerie Queene connection, though I never liked Belphoebe as well. Thanks for doing this one!

  5. I want to say this as [am-oar-AY], not [am-or-ETTE]. Is that correct? I think it’s a really pretty, uncommon, and striking name with a great meaning and lots of style, but I think she might be best suited for a middle name…

    Abby, I thought I’d report on more interesting name finds at tinyprints.com, the online card/invitation/stationary retailer. I spotted a Melinda and a Yasmine, a Faye and a Sylvia, a Duncan and a Gordon, a Theodore and a Coleman! In the adult stationary section, I noticed Ophelia, Cecile, Naoka, and Bernie. A surprisingly popular name on the site? Samantha.

  6. It’s a pretty name, but almost a little too obvious, if you know what I mean. That is, it’s meaning seems a little too obvious, and therefore rather cutesy. I could see it working well for some couples, but it’s not to my particular taste.