Daphne is the name of a naiad (a female nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, rivers, streams, brooks, and any type of fresh water) in Greek mythology. One day she caught the eye of the god Apollo and he pursued her in spite of her rejections. Just as he was about to catch her, Daphne called out to her father, the river god Ladon, for help (in some versions it’s the goddess of the earth, Gaia) and was transformed into a laurel tree. Since than, Apollo adopted the laurel as one of his symbols and a wreath of laurels was given as a prize for the victors in games. Daphne means “laurel, bay” from Ancient Greek which may be derived from a much older source, possibly pre-Greek, but that’s uncertain.

Origin: Ancient Greek

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Variants:

  • Daphné (French)
  • Daphnée (French)
  • Dafni (Modern Greek)
  • Dafina (Albanian, Macedonian)
  • Dafne (Italian)
  • Dafnee (English)

 

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