"Sappho Kissing Her Lyre" by Jules-Elie Delaunay
Today's name: Lyra
Pronunciation: LYE-rah (ly-rah)
Origin: Greek, meaning "lyre." A lyre is a small harp, and it was a favorite instrument among the ancient Greeks. Lyra is a feminine variant of Lyris. The words lyricist and lyric come from the same root.
Popularity: Lyra is not, and has not been, in the U.S. top 1000. There were 216 baby girls named Lyra in 2010, along with 8 spelled Lyrah. In 2011 there were 13 Lyrah and 240 Lyra, just outside of being ranked.
Fun fact: (1) Lyra is the name of a small constellation. According to Greek mythology this constellation resembled the lyre that belonged to the poet Orpheus. Vega is its brightest star. (2) Lyra is the main character in the His Dark Materials novel series by Phillip Pullman, and the first book is now a movie titled "The Golden Compass." (3) Lyra was the chosen baby name by Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum. (4) As seen in the picture above, the lyre was used by the Greek female poet Sappho over two thousand years ago (about 630 BC), where she lived on the Isle of Lesbos. She was one of the only women in her time period to do something as professional as write poetry, and she was extremely famous among her contemporaries. Her contribution to music remains today in sapphic meter.