Definition of Nymphs
Who were the Nymphs of Ancient Greek mythology? The meaning and definition of Nymphs are as follows:
Definition of Nymphs: The Greek Nymphs were minor nature goddesses that were usually depicted as beautiful young maidens. The ancient Greeks believed that these supernatural beings inhabited water, mountains, forests, woods, trees, rivers and the oceans. Other nymphs formed part of the retinue of a god or a goddess. A nymphet was a little, or young, nymph.
The word nymph originates from the Greek 'nymphe' first meaning "bride, young wife," later "beautiful young woman," then "semi-divine being in the form of a beautiful maiden." They featured strongly in ancient Greek Mythology in legends about nymphs inhabited the forests, woods, trees, meadows and bodies of water including rivers, oceans and the sea.
Definitions of Nymphs from Greek Mythology
The Nymphs in Greek mythology were minor nature goddesses that were usually depicted as beautiful young maidens. Other nymphs were attendants to the goddesses and formed part of their retinues.
- The Sea Nymphs were the daughters of Oceanus or Nereus, the gods of the sea
- The Oreads were the minor goddesses & nymphs of the mountains
- The Oceanides were the three thousand daughters of Gaia and Uranus and nymphs of the sea
- The Naiades were the nymphs of the fresh water rivers and streams
- The Nereids were the nymphs of the sea, the 50 daughters of Nereus, the god of the Mediterranean Sea aka 'the old man of the sea'
- The Hamadryads were the tree nymphs who were born bonded to a particular tree
- The Dryads were the nymphs of the Forest, Wood and groves
- The Mermaids were very beautiful half-woman, half- fish nymphs of the sea with long, flowing hair and a spreading, forked tail.
- The Muses were minor goddesses who entertained the gods and were the patrons of the arts
- The Three Graces were the minor goddesses who presided over the banquet and all social enjoyments.
- The Hesperides were nymphs of the evening who guarded a beautiful garden
- The Sirens were sea nymphs who sing so sweetly that they lured to death every man who listened
- The Hyades were 7 half-sisters of the Pleiades who they nurtured the infant Dionysus and Zeus placed them among the stars as a reward and became celestial nymphs
- The Pleiades were the seven celestial maidens of the stars
- The Horae were the minor deities called 'the Seasons' or 'Horae', the goddesses of time who guarded the gates to the home of the gods