Imogen (given name)

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Imogen - Herbert Gustave Schmalz.jpg
Word/nameUnknown, possibly Celtic or Germanic
MeaningUnknown, possibly "maiden" or “girl”
Region of originEngland
Other names
Related namesImogene, Innogen (Ignoge, Inogene), Immy (nickname)

Imogen (/ˈɪməən/), or Imogene (/ˈɪmən/), is an English-language female given name of uncertain etymology. Because the first recorded use of the name is by the English playwright William Shakespeare, it is popularly believed that he invented the name.[1] It is chiefly used as a given name in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Switzerland. The spelling Imogene predominates in the English-speaking West Indies.


The first recorded use of the name Imogen is by Shakespeare for a British princess in his play Cymbeline. It is possible that the name may have originated as an accidental or purposeful misspelling of the name Innogen, itself a possible common Celtic name meaning "maiden" or "girl".[2] Innogen was known as the name of a legendary British queen and was supposedly wife to King Brutus and mother of Locrinus, Albanactus and Camber. It is possible that Shakespeare may well have written Innogen, and it was printed as Imogen in error, thereafter becoming an accepted form of the name. Alternatively, Shakespeare may have purposely altered the spelling himself, thus coining a new name in the process. The form Innogen is rare.[3] Shakespeare used the name Innogen for a ghost character in early editions of Much Ado About Nothing.


In Australia, Imogen was the 35th most popular girls name from 2011 to 2013,[4] while in England and Wales it was the 34th most popular baby girl name in 2014.[5] As of July 2014, Imogen had never been in the top 1000 most popular baby names in the United States, with only 131 baby girls named Imogen in the US in 2013.[6] It was ranked 86th in popularity for baby girls in Scotland in 2007.[7]

List of people[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

References [edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^ Norman, Teresa (2003). A World of Baby Names. Penguin. p. 131.
  3. ^ John Pitcher, 'Names in Cymbeline', Essays in Criticism, v. 43(1), 1993, specifically pp. 3-8; subscription required.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Rebecca (5 May 2015). "Australia's top 10 baby names". News Corp Australia. Archived from the original on 6 December 2015.
  5. ^ "The 100 most popular baby names in England and Wales in 2014 – the full list". The Guardian. 17 August 2015. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016.
  6. ^ Redmond Satran, Pamela (9 July 2014). "The most popular baby names of 2014 so far are..." Today Parents. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016.
  7. ^ Behind the Name