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[puh-nel-uh-pee] /pəˈnɛl ə pi/
Classical Mythology. the wife of Odysseus, who remained faithful to him during his long absence at Troy.
a faithful wife.
a female given name: from a Greek word meaning “weaver.”. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Penelope
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here lies one motive why Ulysses must go to the palace and test Penelope.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • Then for the second time he astonished Penelope by laughing.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Then Penelope asked him straightly, "Who art thou, stranger, and whence hast thou come?"

    Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy
  • Penelope, consumed with curiosity, joined the touring party one day.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • And he wrote a book in which he took away the palm of beauty from Argive Helen and handed it to poor Penelope.

    Ulysses James Joyce
British Dictionary definitions for Penelope


(Greek myth) the wife of Odysseus, who remained true to him during his long absence despite the importunities of many suitors
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Penelope

fem. proper name, name of the faithful wife in the "Odyssey," from Greek Penelopeia, probably related to pene "thread on the bobbin," from penos "web," cognate with Latin pannus "cloth garment" (see pane (n.)). Used in English as the type of the virtuous wife (1580) as it was in Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Penelope in Culture
Penelope [(puh-nel-uh-pee)]

The wife of Odysseus in classical mythology. Penelope remained true to her husband for the ten years he spent fighting in the Trojan War and for the ten years it took him to return from Troy, even though she was harassed by men who wanted to marry her. She promised to choose a suitor after she had finished weaving a shroud for her father-in-law, but every night she unraveled what she had woven during the day. After three years, her trick was discovered, but she still managed to put her suitors off until Odysseus returned and killed them.

Note: Penelope is an image of fidelity and devotion.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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