She’s an ancient goddess, maybe even the ultimate earth mother. But she’s also been worn by a brat packer and a tween starlet.
Thanks to Emmy Jo for suggesting our Name of the Day: Demetria.
First, a point of clarification – Emmy Jo requested Demetra. The goddess Demeter has inspired many variations on her name, including masculine monikers Dimitry, Demetrius, Demetrio and Dömötör. (I love that last one just for the umlauts.) Demetria has a modest edge over the three-syllable version, but both have been in use.
The Greeks charged Demeter with hearth and harvest. If that sounds a bit humdrum, rest assured that she had adventures aplenty. Demeter mixed it up with Poseidon, froze the seasons in protest after Hades made off with her daughter and turned an ungrateful king into a lynx. Some have suggested that Demeter predates much of the pantheon. In some tellings, she’s not just in charge of making the flowers bloom; she governs the natural order itself.
Demeter has a fan club, but few have used the goddess’ name. One exception – Andrew Lloyd Weber borrowed it for one of his feline queens in the musical Cats. But then you weren’t going to name your son Mistoffelees.
Demetrius means “son of Demeter.” Plenty of early saints wore the name, and so we find it in most European languages. Demetrius has ranked in the US since 1954, and came in at #489 in 2007.
The feminine forms are less enduring. Demetria last ranked in 1993. Demetra charted only a few times between 1966 and 1975. Even the most recognizable form – nickname Demi – is not widely used, lasting ranking in 1998.
Demi Moore – born Demetria – was the first famous bearer of the name. Back in the 1980s, as her star was rising, many suggested that calling your daughter Demi was something like naming her Cher. Just over 2600 girls were given the name in the 90s – about as many were named Gladys, Aspen, Princess or Baby. Really.
These days, of course, parents are quicker to borrow celebrity appellations for their offspring. (Miley, anyone?) Plus, tween starlet Demi Lovato of Disney’s Camp Rock fame has made this less of a single-user name.
There’s also Demetria McKinney on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. She played the troubled Janine.
As for famous Demetras, there’s all-female punk band L7’s drummer Demetra Plakas.
While the name has never been popular, it is worth noting that a similar moniker caught on in the 1960s. Adriana, related to Ariadne, has since become a popular choice, especially when you add in Adrianna. It is perfectly possible that Demetria and Demetra could follow the same course. If Francesca strikes you as too common,t the distinctive Demetria or Demetra could be ideal.
Then again, Demeter sounds interesting, too. If you’re looking for a frills-free pick but don’t want something as short as Jane or Brooke, Demeter might be one to consider.