Althea Name Meaning | Origin, History & Popularity

Althea is a popular name that has been in use for centuries. Its roots are ancient, and it has evolved over time to become a name with many possible meanings. In this research article, we will explore the origin, history, and meaning of the name Althea.

Meaning and Origin

The name Althea has roots in ancient Greek mythology, where it was associated with the goddess Althea. According to legend, Althea was the mother of Meleager, a renowned Greek hero. The name Althea is derived from the Greek word “althainein,” which means “to heal.” This meaning has contributed to the name’s association with health and well-being.

The name Althea can also be traced back to ancient Greek medicine, where it was used to describe a plant known for its healing properties. The plant was used in remedies to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems and digestive issues. As a result, the name Althea has also come to be associated with healing and medicine.

Cultural Significance

In addition to its association with Greek mythology and medicine, the name Althea has cultural significance in various other traditions. In African-American culture, the name Althea is associated with the tennis player Althea Gibson, who was the first African-American to win a Grand Slam title. Gibson was a trailblazer in the sport of tennis and a symbol of the struggle for racial equality in the United States.

The name Althea also has a connection to the American South, where it has been used as a nickname for the hibiscus flower. The hibiscus is a popular flower in the South and is known for its vibrant colors and beauty. The use of the name Althea as a nickname for the hibiscus is a testament to the name’s association with beauty and grace.

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Popularity throughout History

The popularity of the name Althea has varied throughout history and across different cultures. In the United States, the name Althea was most popular in the 1920s and 1930s. It then saw a decline in popularity until the 1970s, when it experienced a small resurgence. Today, the name is still in use but is not as popular as it once was.

Variations and Nicknames

The name Althea has a few variations and nicknames, including Thea and Althy. Thea is a popular nickname that has become a name in its own right, and it has a similar meaning to the name Althea. Althy is an older nickname that is not as common today.

Famous Altheas

Throughout history, there have been many notable figures with the name Althea. Here are just a few examples:

  • Althea Gibson: An African-American tennis player who was the first Black person to win a Grand Slam title.
  • Althea Romeo-Mark: A Grenadian track and field athlete who competed in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
  • Althea Warren: An American mathematician who was the first Black woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics from a United States university.
  • Althea Flynt: The wife of Larry Flynt, the founder of Hustler magazine.


In conclusion, the name Althea is a rich and meaningful name with a long history and cultural significance. Its association with Greek mythology, medicine, and beauty make it an attractive name for parents to choose. Whether you’re drawn to the name for its cultural significance or simply for its beauty and grace, Althea is a name that is sure to make an impression.

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