Friday, August 2, 2013

Girl Name of the Week: Sybil

In honor of my post featuring "cool girl names," the Girl's Name of the Week is a lovely Greek name that means "prophetess".  With the recent popularity of the TV show Downton Abbey , the name of the Crawley's youngest daughter has been on the minds' of American parents.  Sybil was nearly forgotten until now, but it doesn't appear to be climbing back up the charts just yet.


Sybil was not originally a name, but an ancient Greek word for a woman who claimed the ability to foresee that which most people could not. These prophetesses were thought to have divine knowledge and were revered. Despite its origins as a word, the name itself its uniquely beautiful.

It can also be spelled Sibyl or Cybill, and there are many international variations such as Sibylla or Sybille.  This spelling, Sybil, has been around since the middle ages where it saw common usage among Christians.  It was later taken to England by the Normans but became extremely rare after the Protestant Reformation. It wasn't until Benjamin Disraeli wrote a novel titled "Sybil" in 1845 that the name saw a revival through the Victorian era.


This name peaked in usage in 1921 when 541 baby girls were born. Since then, the name has declined greatly and fell off of the Top 1000 chart in 1967. In 2012, there were only 16 babies given this name, ranking it at #7706.

 Lady Sybil from
Downton Abbey had the middle name Cora after her mother.  Sybil Coraline? Sybil Caroline? Her sisters are named Mary and Edith.

Do you think Sybil has the potential to regain some popularity? Or do you think its strong meaning makes parents shy of using it? Do you like the name?  Let me know in the comments section below!

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Alessia, Cora, Delaney, Edith, Imogen, Pearl, Rebecca
Brothers: Alfred, Clive, Isaiah, Joshua, Marcus, Peter, Warren

Middle Name Ideas:
Sybil Alessandra
Sybil Caroline
Sybil Ophelia
Sybil Minerva
Sybil Coraline

As a Middle Name:
Alexandra Sybil
Catherine Sybil
Josephine Sybil
Rosalie Sybil
Victoria Sybil

1 comment:

waltzingmorethanmatilda said...

I can sort of see this one making a comeback before too long, because Sybilla/Sibylla/Sibilla is quite a trendy name in Australia.

One I haven't seen though is Sibylline - a vocabulary word meaning "sibyl-like". I think it would be very striking as a person's name. Maybe best in the middle ....

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