The Meaning of the Name Greta History, Popularity, and Significance

Are you curious about the meaning of the name Greta? This name has been gaining popularity in recent years, with many parents choosing it for their newborns. In this article, we will explore the history, popularity, and significance of the name Greta.

History of the Name Greta

The name Greta is derived from the Old Germanic name Greete, which was a shortened form of Margarete. Margarete means “pearl,” which symbolizes purity, beauty, and uniqueness. It is also associated with the biblical character Mary Magdalene, who was known for her beauty and devotion to Jesus Christ.

The name Greta became popular in the 19th century in Northern Europe, particularly in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. It was often used as a nickname for Margareta or Margaret, but eventually became a standalone name. The name Greta gained international fame in the 1930s thanks to the iconic actress Greta Garbo, who was known for her sultry looks and captivating performances.

Popularity of the Name Greta

The popularity of the name Greta has fluctuated over the years. According to the Social Security Administration, the name Greta was most popular in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. However, it fell out of favor in the mid-20th century and was rarely used until the late 1990s.

In recent years, the name Greta has experienced a resurgence in popularity, particularly in Europe and North America. In 2020, it ranked #807 in the United States and #53 in Sweden. This may be due in part to the influence of climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has become a global icon for youth activism and environmentalism.

Significance of the Name Greta

The name Greta has several meanings and connotations. In addition to its association with pearls and beauty, it is often associated with strength, independence, and resilience. This may be due in part to the famous individuals who have borne the name, including Greta Garbo and Greta Thunberg.

Greta Thunberg, in particular, has brought attention to the name through her activism and advocacy for climate justice. She has inspired a new generation of young people to speak out about environmental issues and take action to protect the planet. As a result, the name Greta has become synonymous with courage, determination, and passion for social change.

Naming Your Child Greta

If you are considering naming your child Greta, there are several things to keep in mind. First, think about the meaning and significance of the name and how it resonates with your values and beliefs. Consider the cultural and historical context of the name, as well as its popularity and potential nicknames or variations.

It is also important to consider how the name Greta will be received by others, particularly in different parts of the world. While the name may be popular in some countries, it may be less familiar or difficult to pronounce in others. You may want to choose a middle name or nickname that is more universally recognized or easier to pronounce.

Famous People Named Greta

Over the years, many famous individuals have borne the name Greta. Here are just a few examples:

  • Greta Garbo: Swedish-American actress and Hollywood icon known for her beauty and enigmatic persona.
  • Greta Scacchi: Italian-Australian actress known for her performances in films such as “Heat and Dust” and “The Player.”
  • Greta Gerwig: American actress and filmmaker known for her roles in “Frances Ha” and “Lady Bird.”
  • Greta Thunberg: Swedish environmental activist and leader of the Fridays for Future movement.

Variations and Nicknames of the Name Greta

Like many names, Greta has several variations and nicknames in different cultures and languages. Here are a few examples:

  • Gretchen: A German diminutive of Greta or Margaret, meaning “pearl.”
  • Margareta: A Swedish and Romanian variation of Margaret, which means “pearl.”
  • Grete: A Danish and Norwegian variation of Greta, meaning “pearl.”


The name Greta has a rich history and cultural significance, with multiple meanings and connotations. Its popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years, but it has become increasingly popular in recent times thanks to the influence of famous individuals such as Greta Garbo and Greta Thunberg. If you are considering naming your child Greta, take the time to explore its meaning and significance, and consider how it will be received by others. Whatever you decide, know that the name Greta carries a legacy of strength, resilience, and passion for social change.


  1. Is the name Greta more popular in Europe orNorth America?

The name Greta is currently more popular in Europe than in North America. It is particularly popular in Northern European countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, where it has a long history and cultural significance.

  1. What does the name Greta mean in other languages?

In German, the name Greta is a diminutive of Margarete and means “pearl.” In Swedish, it is a standalone name derived from the same root, with the same meaning. In other languages, such as Spanish or French, the name Greta may be less familiar and may have different variations or translations.

  1. Is the name Greta a good choice for a baby girl?

Choosing a name is a personal decision, and what works for one family may not work for another. However, the name Greta has many positive connotations and associations, including strength, independence, and resilience. It is also a relatively uncommon name that stands out without being too unusual.

  1. What are some famous people named Margaret or Margarete?

There have been many famous individuals throughout history named Margaret or Margarete, including writers such as Margaret Atwood and Margaret Mitchell, actresses such as Maggie Smith and Margot Robbie, and political figures such as Margaret Thatcher and Margrethe II of Denmark.

  1. What are some other names that are similar to Greta?

If you like the sound or meaning of the name Greta, you might also consider other names that have a similar feel or origin, such as Gretchen, Margot, Marguerite, or Pearl.

I am Patricia Mann, an experienced professional in the art of naming children. With a wealth of knowledge in the field of baby names, I aim to assist parents in choosing a meaningful and beautiful name for their little ones. My expertise lies in the Name Meaning section, where I delve deep into the origins and significance of names, providing valuable insights that I hope will be beneficial for parents.

Understanding the profound impact a name can have on a child's life, I strive to offer comprehensive guidance. The Name Meaning section is not just a repository of information but a resource where parents can discover the rich tapestry of meanings associated with different names. It is my belief that a child's name is more than just a label; it encapsulates the desires, hopes, and love of the parents.

In this journey of baby naming, my goal is to make the process enjoyable and meaningful for parents, ensuring that the chosen name resonates with the family's values and cultural background. I invite you to explore the Name Meaning of Impeccable Nest section as we embark on the delightful and important task of naming the newest members of your family.

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