The baby name Xanthe fits with plenty of current trends, and yet this name from Greek mythology remains quite rare in the US.

Thanks to Laney for suggesting our intriguing Baby Name of the Day.


If you’ve been scouring your Bullfinch’s Mythology for lesser known figures, you might have tripped across Xanthe. At least two bearers of the name appear in myth.

First, Xanthe is one of the Oceanids, the 3000 daughters of Titans Oceanus and Tethys. (And you had a tough time naming your second kid, right?) Each of the Oceanids was assigned some natural dominion – a spring, pond, pasture, cloud or the like. There were also 3000 brothers to the Oceanids, charged with looking after rivers.

Not all of their names are recorded, but Hesiod lists a bunch of them, including sisters:

  • Acaste
  • Admete
  • Asia
  • Callirrhoe
  • Calypso
  • Cerceis
  • Clymene
  • Clytie
  • Dione
  • Doris
  • Electra
  • Europa
  • Eurynome
  • Galaxaura
  • Hippo
  • Ianeria
  • Ianthe
  • Idyia
  • Melodosis
  • Menestho
  • Metis
  • Pasithoe
  • Perseis
  • Petraea
  • Plexhaura
  • Pluto
  • Polydora
  • Prymno
  • Rhodea
  • Telesto
  • Thoe
  • Tyche
  • Urania
  • Zeuxo

And, of course, Xanthe. Compared to some of these, the name seems downright accessible.

A second bearer of the name was an Amazon warrior. Xanthe sometimes appears as an alternate name for Epione, the wife of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and a goddess in her own right.

Get new posts sent to your inbox!
Don’t miss out! Subscribe and get all the new posts first.


How do you pronounce Xanthe?

The default in English is ZAN thee, treating the X like a Z.

With so many Greek names ending in E ranking in the Top 100 baby girl names, Xanthe could fit right in with Chloe, Zoe, and Penelope.

The name Xanthia is sometimes listed as another form, but it’s even less common. 


The name Xanthe comes from xanthos, a Greek word that translates to yellow. 

Sometimes you’ll find the meaning extended to “fair-haired” or “one with fair hair.” 

This feels logical, and Xanthe appears on lots of lists if you’re looking for a girl’s name meaning blonde.


While the baby name Xanthe can be found in late 19th and early 20th century census and birth records, it’s never ranked in the US Top 1000.

Some of these early Xanthes surnames suggest their family’s Greek origin, but others might have borrowed the name from Hesiod.

As of 2022, just five girls received the name. Back in 2001, parents named 12 girls Xanthe – an all-time high.

It’s slightly more common elsewhere in the English-speaking world, but still far from widely used.


Xanthe works as a daughter’s name now. We’ve had generations of boys called Xavier and so many girls with names like Phoebe and Daphne. And we do like a high-value Scrabble letter, so that’s another factor.

With a sparky, unexpected sound and a tie to the natural world, Xanthe might be the perfect choice for parents seeking something truly daring, but still on the right side of wearable.

What do you think of the baby name Xanthe?

First published on August 26, 2008, this post was revised and updated on April 25, 2024.


golden girl

A rare mythological find with a shining meaning, we’ve overlooked Xanthe even as Chloe and Penelope caught on.


unranked; given to five girls in 2022


holding steady and very rare


from a Greek word meaning yellow, likely referring to blonde hair

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. My name is Xanthe (pronounced Zan thee). Although I’ve had my name for more than sixty years, I’m always the only one in the room named Xanthe. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher, Mrs. Wolf, told me there was no such name and that she would call me Zan—all my kindergarten papers have Zan on them, but when I went to first grade, I decided I was Xanthe and not Zan! I know of one other person in my vicinity named Xanthe, and I also knew a Zanthia when was growing up. Thank you for the information about my name—my sister picked it out of a name book at the hospital in the 1950s.

    1. My name is Xanthe, i live in Australia. I’ve also met a Xanthe at a Hungry Jacks.

  2. I just realized after googling my daughter’s name, Xanthe, that you picked it as your “name of the day” on the day she was born, August 26, 2008. She is now a beautiful golden-haired 5-year old with all the qualities one associates with the name.

    I just thought I would share the uncanny coincidence with you!

  3. My name is Xanthia, pronounced Zan-thia. I love it. Everyone has always complimented me on it. I even had a high school friend name her daughter after me. Very unique name.

  4. My name is Xanthé, its pronounced like Zantay. I can honestly say that it is pretty hard to have this name as so many people get the pronunciation wrong and you have to correct them and even after the 5th time they still cant say it. I do find the name interesting… but i do somewhat wish i had a more common easier name.