Theo is all the rage for boys. How ’bout this feminine equivalent?
Thanks to Rocking Fetal for suggesting Thea as our Baby Name of the Day.
Thea is usually considered short for Theodora or Dorothea. Either way, the name quite literally means gift of God, and is the girls’ answer to Theodore. Theodore has climbed to #231 in 2011, up more than sixty spots over the past four years. But that’s not the only reason to think that Thea could catch fire:
- The current US Top Ten includes Mia, and Leah has been in the Top 50 for the past few years.
- Nouveau possibilities like Gia, Nia,Tia, and Bria are finding favor with parents today, too.
- It isn’t just Theodore on the rise. Theo entered the US rankings two years ago, suggesting that parents are embracing shorter forms of the enduring classic.
- Doesn’t she just feel like a jazzy flapper name, a sister for Stella and Sadie?
Thea was in sparing use as independent name from 1880 into 1960s, not every year but many. It’s been decades since she was popular enough to crack the Top 1000, but she has remained a recognizable name. Of course, she could be short for lots of names – Althea and Cynthia come to mind.
But more than that, Thea has a great backstory. Spelled Theia, she’s a Titan, the daughter of Gaia, wife of Hyperion, and mother of the sun, the moon, and dawn, too. Greek myth she’s also called Thea, Thia, and Euryphaessa.
Now this is where it gets interesting: there’s a theory about the formation of the moon that relates to Theia. The story begins with a collision between our planet and a celestial body about the size ofMars, more than four billion years ago. The collision created our moon, and so the celestial body is sometimes called Theia – the mother of the moon.
There aren’t piles of famous women answering to Thea, but there are some:
- One of many Egyptian monarchs named Cleopatra was known as Cleopatra Thea.
- The fictional Tugboat Annie was based on a real life tugboat owner named Thea Foss.
- Australian novelist Thea Astley is the best known of several writers.
- Actress Thea Gill was known as Lindsay on Queer as Folk. She’s among several actresses who have been called Thea.
- Thea Rasche was Germany’s first female pilot.
A few fictional uses, too:
- Willa Cather gave the name to a character in The Song of the Lark.
- There’s a Thea in Hedda Gabler, an old friend and rival for Hedda.
- Laurell K. Hamilton called the last living mermaid, Leucothea, Thea for short, in one of her Anita Blake novels. Leucothea appears in Greek myth as an ocean goddess who rescues Odysseus.
In English, she’s most often pronounced THEE uh, but Spanish language speakers will say TAY uh. This makes her surprisingly international. Thea is a Top Ten choice in Norway, but could easily be heard in South America.
If you’re after a short, retro first name that will feel modern but unexpected, and be free of the spelling challenges of, say, Adrasteia, then Thea is one to consider.