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.

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. My mom gave me this as a middle name! As a kid I didn’t really like it because to me is was too long. At one time I actually didn’t know how to spell my middle name for some time as a child. I enjoy it now though only a select few of my friends know my middle name at all.

  2. Hmm.. I’ve got to say, even though she has an undeniable amount of spunk, yet still remains rather feminine, Demetria is not for me. She just seems too dramatic and a little OTT for my tastes.
    I’d have no objection to hearing someone else’s child adorn the name though!

  3. Demetria is pretty awesome. Demetra is too. I think Demi is still too “one name” at least for me, but I wouldn’t mind meeting more of them. Emmy Jo, lucky you with this gem in your tree! I’m jealous! 😀

  4. I love Demetria! It’s one of my personal favorites. It’s a great alternative to Gabriella and Isabella, in my opinion. Isabella & Gabriella both sound exotic, and I always pictured a dark haired girl with that name. I get that same picturewith emetria

  5. There was a Demetria two grades below me in my tiny private elementary school. She went exclusively by Demi. I didn’t know her well, but she was friends with my younger brother.

    I prefer Demetra or even Demeter, myself. A little less frilly, which is more suited to my tastes. I’d love to meet any of the three, though; it’s a lovely name.

  6. I really like Demetra and Demetria… Emmy Jo – it’s an awesome name! And I agree, I can see those who love Olivia or Alexandria, but wanting a rarer name going for Demetria (or Demetra being substituted for Alexandra). I love the background, the sound, the name is great! Even Demi is an alright nickname, although, admittedly it conjures a very specific face for me. I’d love to hear a mama calling for her little Demetra or Demetria at the playground!

  7. Demetra is a family name for us. My great-grandfather, who immigrated to the U.S. from Greece as a teenager, had a niece named Demetra. It was my mom’s favorite girls’ name when she was a little girl (she planned to name her first daughter Demetra Andrea). My uncle (her brother) used it as a middle name for one of his daughters. My sister and I have both considered using it as an indirect way to honor our mother.

    Demetria is pretty awesome, too. It has a fairly rare structure for four-syllable names. Most of them are stressed on the third syllable (like Isabella, Julianna, or Alexandra), but Demetria is one of the few reasonably well-known ones stressed on the second syllable. As such, it would make a good alternative for those who like the rhythm of Victoria, Olivia, or Elizabeth.

    1. What a nice thought, Emmy Jo! I love the idea of indirectly honoring family members – it’s fine to use their names, but unless they *love* their names, well … it doesn’t always work, does it?

      That’s a nice point about Demetria’s emphasis – I hadn’t thought about it. It does give her a sort of lift.