Ever since Xanthe received such a warm welcome, we’ve been thinking about a similar mythological moniker long on our radar.

Today’s Name of the Day is Evadne.

After years of hibernation, Eve returned to the US Top 1000, ranking #618 last year. Eva comes in at an impressive #117. And the elaborate Evangeline re-entered the charts in 2006, reaching #459 in 2007. Factor in Evie (#806) and Evelyn (a white hot #55), and it is safe to say that the Eves are back.

Evadne, usually pronounced eh VAD nee, offers an interesting twist. While the name has never ranked in the US and is equally rare worldwide, the nickname options Eve, Evie and Eva allow this unusual moniker to blend in on the playground.

While Eve is likely derived from a Hebrew word for life (chayah) or breath (chavah), most of the other Ev- names trace back to the Greek element eu-, for good. There’s no consensus on the full meaning of Evadne, but neither of the mythological bearers of the name had a pleasant time of it.

The first Evadne was married to the arrogant warrior Capaneus. Her husband ran afoul of Zeus and met his death by thunderbolt. Grief stricken, Evadne threw herself onto his burning body and they perished together. Points for loyalty, we suppose.

The second was Poseidon’s daughter. Unhappily pregnant by Apollo, she abandoned their son, Iamus. Legend has it that he survived and founded a priestly order known as the Iamidae; they’d eventually become responsible for organizing the ancient Olympic games. This Evadne might be a bit tougher to redeem, but she’s undeniably obscure – it’s not quite like naming your daughter Medea.

We first tripped across Evadne in the original episode of 70s television show Wonder Woman. Evadne was Diana’s cousin, who lost out to her in the bid to be the next heroine from Paradise Island.

Despite her shortcomings in myth, there is a strong literary and even feminist undercurrent to the name:

  • Evadne Price penned the 1930 anti-war novel Not So Quiet: Stepdaughters of War; however, she is better known by the pen name Helen Zenna Smith;
  • Gilbert Adair writes sophisticated Agatha Christie-style mysteries featuring brainy lady detective Evadne Mount;
  • In the 1890s, Sarah Grand’s anti-marriage protest novel The Heavenly Twins featured Evadne Frayling;
  • Richard Lalor Scheil’s 1819 drama Evadne was a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, with Evadne in the role of Hero – a woman wrongly accused of infidelity;
  • In 1619, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher used the name for a character in their play, The Maid’s Tragedy. The piece was performed by the King’s Men, most famous as the troupe to which William Shakespeare had belonged.

We do find Evadne in the historical record in the late 1800s in England, but we’re not confident that it was a common choice. Instead, we suspect that then – as now – Eve names were popular. Along with Evadne, we find Evia, Evalyn, Evelyn, Evalina and Evangeline.

With Zoe and Chloe all the rage today, it seems like Greek names for girls could be big. This one also boasts an intriguing Victorian-era vibe and associations with a popular element in many mainstream girls’ names.

If you’re hoping to stand out while still fitting in, Evadne might be the choice for you.

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 live in South Africa. They remember you, because they cannot remember how to pronounce it, and they remember you because they can>.With the name alone: a first and last impression remains vivid and dramatic.

  2. I live in South Africa. They remember you, because they cannot remember how to pronounce it, and they remember you because they can>.With the name alone: a first and last impression remains vivid and dramatic.

  3. My opionion is: This name is very beautiful, gorgeous, unique and MYSTCAL.
    Unlike other names which are very common, ordinary and very familiar.

    Evadne commands attention, memory and success.

    Evadne is fr a greek-latin name: meaning, well, well-tamed, and fortunate.
    other meanings are: life, good, life’s good., breath,

  4. my wife’s name is Evadne.She is a bit of a loose cannon.I think that she is capable of suicide.She has a bit of a overprotective spirit.If she can’t have me no one will.Sometimes I think she would murder me for insurance money.

  5. My name is Evadne, and I didn’t think it was this uncommon… the only problem is the pronounciation; a lot of people get my name wrong the first 5 times they try..other than that, people tell me it’s a unique and beautiful name. i like having this name, it alone makes me stand out

  6. My aunt’s middle name is “Evadne”….named after a Scottish actress in a book from back i the 1920’s, that my grandparents were reading. I was looking for some reference to a book with that scenerio.
    i would love to find it and sent the information to my aunt still living.

    Thank you……..

  7. Evadne takes me back, she was a character in the childrens book series: The Chalet School by Elinor M Brent Dyer which I used to adore! I like the way she looks but I’m not quite so taken by her sound. Eh-vad-nee, for some reason I just find it a bit of a mouthful…

  8. She’s very pretty, and she might also make a nice a nice alternative for parents obsessed with the Ariana/Adriana sort, but find Ariadne too weird. Evadne sounds a bit more modern somehow.

  9. Evadne’s been an intriguing name for me for years. I love the way she looks written and I really find her sound appealing but she’s a bit too elegant for me. Funny, hmm? I find Zoe & Chloe both too lightweight for my liking and Evadne’s almost too lush! So rich & velevety sounding. Her Shakespeare links make her even more appealing but she doesn’t quite work with every surname, now that I try working her with mine but I still think Evadne’s absolutely gorgeous!

    But she is lovely, and I would absolutely perish with joy upon meeting one, but I don’t feel comfortable enough with Evadne to use her myself.