Aoife (also spelled Aífe, Aeife; Irish pronunciation: [ˈiːfʲə]; // EE-fə), is an Irish feminine given name. The name is probably derived from the Gaelic aoibh, which means "beauty" or "radiance". It has been compared to the Gaulish name Esvios (Latinized Esuvius, feminine Esuvia), which may be related to the tribal name Esuvii and the theonym Esus.
In Irish mythology, Aífe is the daughter of Airdgeimm, a warrior woman in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Aífe or Aoife is also the second wife of King Lir in the Irish myth Children of Lir and the twin sister (or, at times, the enemy) of Scathach. T. F. O'Rahilly supposed that the Irish heroine reflects an otherwise unknown goddess representing a feminine counterpart to Gaulish Esus.
The name is unrelated to the Biblical name Eva, which was rendered as Éabha in Irish, but due to the similarity in sound, Aoife has often been anglicised as Eva or Eve. Aoife MacMurrough (also known as Eva of Leinster) was a 12th-century Irish noblewoman.
People bearing the name:
- Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, Irish singer
- Aoife O'Donovan (b. 1982), American singer
- Aoife Hoey (b. 1983), Irish bobsledding olympian
- Main character in The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
- Aife, a succubus in Lost Girl
- Aoife Brubeck, daughter of Holly Sykes, the protagonist of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
- Aoife Rabbitte, wife of Jimmy Rabbitte, in The Guts by Roddy Doyle
- Aoife (album) (1996), the second album by the Irish singer Aoife
- The LÉ Aoife (P22) is a Republic of Ireland naval vessel
- Aoife is the sister of Scathach in Michael Scott's series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
- Mike Campbell. "Behind the Name: Meaning, origin and history of the name Aoife". Behind the Name.
- Ériu, Volumes 14-15 (1946), p. 5.
- Donnchadh Ó Corráin, Fidelma Maguire, Gaelic personal names (1981), p. 16.
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