[ 2 syll. i-re-ne, ir-ene ] The baby girl name Irene is pronounced AY-RiyN in English or iy-REH-Nah in German †. Irene's origin is Old Greek, and its use, English, German, Italian, Scandinavian, and Spanish. The name Irene means 'peaceful'. It is derived from the word eirene which is of the meaning 'peace'. The name was borne in Greek mythology by a minor goddess who was the personification of peace. It was also borne by an early Christian martyr and several Byzantine empresses. The name was adopted by English speakers in the late 19th century, but it was not until the early 20th century that the name enjoyed a pick-up in popularity, primarily due to the appearance of the character Irene Forsyte in the popular John Galsworthy Forsyte Saga series of novels (1906-1921). The name was previously pronounced in Greek convention as ay.R.IY.N.IY, but English adoption has modified the pronunciation to the modern two-syllable form. Irene is the feminine version of the German Irenäus.
The name Irene is used to a great extent; it has 59 forms that are used in English and foreign languages. English forms of the name include Airini, Eireen (also used in Gaelic and Irish), Eiren, Eirena, Eirene (also used in Greek), Erena, Erene, Herena, Irayna, Ireane, Iren (also used in Hungarian), Irena (also used in Czech, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Russian, Slavic, and Spanish), Irenea (also used in Spanish), Irenee, Iriana, Irien, Iriena, Irin, Irina (also used in Russian), Irinia, Iryn, Iryne, Irynia, and Reeni. Other English forms include the diminutives Aireen, Ireny, Rena (also used in Greek), Rene, and Renie, and the spelling variants Ireen, Ireene, and Irine.
Forms used in foreign languages include Ailine (Tongan), Airina (Hawaiian), Arina (Russian), Arinka (Russian), Eirini (Greek), Erea (Galician), Ereni (Greek), Ira (Italian, Latvian, and Russian), Iraina (Russian), Irenka (Czech), Irenke (Hungarian), Irène (French), Irén (Hungarian), Irénée (French), Irini (Greek and Romanian), Irisha (Russian), Irka (Czech and Latvian), Irusya (Latvian), Iryna (Russian), Jereni (Russian), Orina (Russian), Orya (Russian), Oryna (Russian), Rina (Russian), Yarina (Russian and Slavic), and Yaryna (Russian). The diminutive Nitsa (German and Greek) is another foreign form.
Irene is an all-time favorite. Today it is still rather popular as a baby girl name, but not to the degree it was previously. At the height of its usage in 1916, 0.831% of baby girls were named Irene. It had a ranking of #17 then. The baby name has seen a substantial decline in frequency since then, and is of only modest use in recent times. In 2018, it ranked at #637 with a usage of 0.025%, but it was nevertheless the most commonly used within all girl names in its family. The name Irene has mainly been a baby girl name, although it has also been given to boys in the last century. There were 132 times more baby girls than boys who were named Irene in 1912.
† Pronunciation for Irene: AY as in "side (S.AY.D)" ; R as in "race (R.EY.S)" ; IY as in "eat (IY.T)" ; N as in "knee (N.IY)" ; EH as in "ebb (EH.B)" ; AH as in "mud (M.AH.D)"
Details of famous persons named Irene:
Actress Irene Bedard, born 22 July 1967, Anchorage, Alaska.
Actress Irene Ryan, born Irene Noblette 17 October 1903 - 26 April 1973, El Paso, Texas.
Actress Faith Brown, born Irene Carroll 28 May 1944, Liverpool, England.