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Borrowed from Italian Ofelia, coined by the poet Jacopo Sannazaro in his poem Arcadia (1504), probably from the Ancient Greek ὠφέλειᾰ (ōphéleia, help, aid, succour). The name was used by William Shakespeare for the ill-fated love interest of Hamlet.


Proper noun[edit]


  1. A female given name
    • 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V, Scene i:
      I lov’d Ophelia: forty thousand brothers // Could not, with all their quantity of love, // Make up my sum.
  2. (astronomy) A moon of Uranus, named after the character in Hamlet.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Although rarely used today, Ophelia as a given name was somewhat popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]