moon goddess, equivalent of Latin Luna, from Greek selēnē "the moon; name of the moon goddess," related to selas "light, brightness, bright flame, flash of an eye," from PIE root *swel- (2) "to shine, beam" (source also of Sanskrit svargah "heaven," Lithuanian svilti "to singe," Old English swelan "to be burnt up," Middle Low German swelan "to smolder"); related to swelter, sultry. Related: Selenian "of or pertaining to the moon as a world," 1660s.
fem. proper name, originally (late 14c.), a name of Artemis as the goddess of the moon, also the moon itself (mid-15c.); from Latin Phoebe, from Greek Phoebē, from phoibos "bright, pure," a word of unknown origin. The fem. form of Phoebus, an epithet of Apollo as sun-god. Phoebe, a notable figure in the early Church, is mentioned in Romans 16:1-2. Most popular as a given name for girls born in the U.S. in the 1880s and 2010s.
c. 1200, ancient Italian goddess of the moon, patroness of virginity and hunting, later identified with Greek Artemis, and through her with eastern goddesses such as Diana of Ephesus. From Late Latin Diana, on Old Latin Jana. The name is explained as *Diwjana, from *diw-yo-, from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god," in reference to the shining moon, or from dius "godly."
U.S. state; the word is plural, originally (1614) a name for the Algonquian native people who lived around the bay, from Algonquian Massachusett "at the large hill," in reference to Great Blue Hill, southwest of Boston. Related: Massachusettensian.
masc. proper name, from Latin Flavius, a Roman gens name, related to flavus "golden-yellow, blond" (see blue (adj.1)), and probably originally meaning "yellow-haired."
fem. proper name, also a poetic name of the Moon, from Latin Cynthia dea "the Cynthian goddess," epithet of Artemis/Diana, who is said to have been born on Mt. Cynthus (Greek Kynthos) on the isle of Delos.
name of a Phoenician goddess identified by the Greeks with their Aphrodite, from Greek Astarte, from Phoenician Astoreth (plural Ashtaroth), equivalent to Assyrian Ishtar. Apparently properly a virginal goddess of the moon or the heavens, but she has been frequently confounded since Biblical times with the sensual Ashera (see Asherah).