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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

fem. proper name, from Greek aletheia "truth, truthfulness," from alethes "true," literally "not concealing," from privative prefix a- "not" (see a- (3)) + lethe "forgetfulness, oblivion" (see latent).


Alethea is an English language female first name derived from the ancient and modern Greek feminine noun αλήθεια (pronounced "al-ee-thia"), meaning " truth". It is thus an equivalent of the name Verity, from the Latin feminine noun veritas, "truth". As an English first name it is frequently pronounced in modern times in an Anglicised form as "Ala-thee-a". The name dates from the 16th century, as given in 1585 to Alethea Talbot (1585–1654), the youngest daughter of Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury and later Countess of Arundel following her marriage to Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel. The name as used for the daughter of a wealthy nobleman in the Renaissance era in England would certainly have been pronounced "Al-ee-thia", that is as an Ancient Greek word, as the father would have received a thorough education in Ancient Greek and Latin and would thus be aware of the correct pronunciation. Women named Alethea include:

  • Alethea Charlton (1931–1976), British actress
  • Alethea Garstin (1894–1978), English painter and Royal Academician
  • Alethea Hayter OBE (1911–2006), English author and British Council Representative
  • Alethea Howard, Countess of Arundel (1585–1654), née Talbot, wife of Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel
  • Alethea Kontis (born 1976), American author and editor living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Alethea Lewis (1749–1827), English novelist, born at Acton, near Nantwich, Cheshire
  • Alethea McGrath, Australian actress

Usage examples of "alethea".

It was in Groningen, he told her, in the very heart of the city, and Alethea instantly conjured up a picture of a red brick town house with square bay windows and ugly plaster work adding an unnecessary decoration.

As wealthy as the neighbour hood in which they lived in Groningen, thought Alethea wryly.

Sarre was, after all, a very nice, kind man, and Alethea might be happier with him than she would have been with Nick, even though there was no love on either side.

He went out of the restaurant without a backward glance and after a moment Alethea took up her spoon with a hand which shook slightly and started on her sorbet.

He laid the plate with the folded bill on it beside her and withdrew again, and after a minute Alethea plucked up the courage to peep at it.

So that Alethea had a double escort across the pavement, the two men chatting easily about the latest boxing match.

He paused then and for one moment Alethea thought that he was going to turn round and go back the way he had come.

When she went back to her office presently for an identity bracelet the two men had gone and presently the porters came and Alethea, sending her most senior student nurse with him, despatched the patient to theatre, before turning her attention to the work waiting for her.

The boy had made a brave show for that short time before, his anxious parent gone, Alethea gave him an injection to send him back into the sleep he needed so badly.

CHAPTER TWO alethea inspected her wardrobe in a dispirited fashion, only too conscious of the fact that on the previous evening she had been wild with excitement at the idea of dining with Nick.

Barquettes Girondines for Alethea and Entre cote Bordelais for her companion.

She gathered a handful of friends round her and by sheer weight of numbers persuaded Alethea to accompany them.

They drank Hock, and Alethea, considerably cheered by two glasses of it, prudently refused the brandy offered with her coffee.

He launched into technicalities and Alethea poured his second cup of coffee and listened with one ear, while she speculated as to whether Mr van Diederijk would ask her out again.

Sue nodded her head wisely and when Alethea at last went off duty, wished her good night with genuine sympathy.