Pamela (name)

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This article is about the name Pamela. For other uses or acronyms, see Pamela (disambiguation). For the novel, see Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded.
Pronunciation /ˈpæmələ/ PAM-ə-lə
Gender Female
Word/name unknown
Region of origin England, 16th century
Other names
Related names Pam

Pamela is a feminine given name. Pamela is often abbreviated to Pam.[1] Pamela is infrequently used as a surname.[2]


Sir Philip Sidney invented the name Pamela for a pivotal character in his epic prose work, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, written in the late 16th century and published posthumously. The name is widely taken to mean "all sweetness", formed on the Greek words παν pan ("all") and μέλι meli ("honey"),[2][3] but there is no evidence regarding what meaning, if any, Sidney intended for it.[4]

The Samuel Richardson novel Pamela in 1740 or 1741 inaugurated the use of Pamela as a given name but it was not in common usage until the 20th century.[2] A rare early bearer of the name: Lady Edward FitzGerald (c. 1773 – 1831), although known by the first name Pamela was born Stephanie Caroline Anne Syms.[5]

The name's popularity may have been hindered by the tendency to pronounce it /pəˈmlə/ pə-MEE-lə which was not fully superseded by the now-standard /ˈpæmələ/ PAM-ə-lə until the start of the 20th century when the name finally entered general usage.[6] Pamela was very popular in Great Britain from the 1930s through the 1950s with the tallies of the most popular names for British newborn girls for the respective years 1934, 1944 and 1954 ranking Pamela at respectively #20, #17 and #24. Evidently less popular from the 1960s - being ranked on the respective 1964 tally at #67 - the name Pamela has grown increasingly unfashionable, with a reported total of eleven newborn girls in Britain given the name in 2009.[7]

Given name[edit]

People with the name or its variants include:

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Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pam". Behind the Name. 
  2. ^ a b c "Pamela – name meaning and origin". Think Baby Names. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  3. ^ "Pamela". Behind the Name. 
  4. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006). A Dictionary of First Names. Oxford University Press. 
  5. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Pamela Fitzgerald
  6. ^ Norman, Teresa (2003). A World of Baby Names. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group. p. 141. ISBN 0-399-52894-6. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Pamela of the jungle".