Zoe Name Meaning

Baby swaddled in green blanket with a bow and flower headband

Haiyang Zhou EyeEm / Getty Images

What Does Zoe Mean?

The name Zoe is of Greek origin and comes from the name Eve, which means “life.” Alexandrian Jews translated the Hebrew name Eve to its Greek equivalent, Zoe. It became popular in early Christian circles, which associated the name Zoe with eternal life.

Although an ancient name, it has a youthful and vibrant quality to it. Zoe has retained its popularity over the centuries and is still widely used. The name Zoe is well represented in pop culture, entertainment figures, and fictional characters today. 

Origin: The name Zoe is of Greek origin and means “life”

Gender: Zoe is most commonly used as a girl name

Pronunciation: ZOWE-ee

Although baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It's important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular is the Name Zoe?

Zoe has spent most of the last century in the top 1,000 list of baby girl names. According to data from the Social Security Administration, it ranked as No. 724 in 1900, when data was first available. Zoe remained near the bottom of the list, ranking mostly between 700-900, over the next 80 years, and fell off the list briefly several times during that period. At one point, it was completely off the list for a decade.

However, between 1988 and 1989, Zoe jumped almost 200 spots. From there it continued to climb the charts. The name became so popular that by 2012, Zoe reached No. 30, the peak of its rankings. The name is still popular but slipped to No. 41 in 2020.

The sudden jump in popularity may be partly attributed to an American anthology film "New York Stories" which came out in 1989. The film consisted of three segments, one of them being "Life Without Zoë" directed by Francis Coppola. 

In 1993, the children's program "Sesame Street" introduced a lively muppet character named Zoe, which also put a spotlight on the name.

Name Variations

The following are variations of the name Zoe:

  • Zoey (English)
  • Zoie (English)
  • Zoja (Croatian)
  • Zowie (English) 
  • Zoya (Russian)

Similar Names

Similar sounding names to Zoe:

  • Chloe
  • Joey
  • Zara
  • Zoha

Other Greek girl names:

  • Anastasia
  • Calista
  • Danae
  • Demi
  • Selena
  • Sophia
  • Thalia
  • Thelma
  • Ursula

Other girl names that start with Z:

  • Zamora
  • Zariah
  • Zelda
  • Zendaya
  • Zina
  • Zinnia
  • Zipporah
  • Zora

Suggested Sibling Names

Looking for a sibling name for Zoe? Here are some popular options:

  • Ava
  • Brody
  • Finn
  • Hazel
  • Isla
  • Leo
  • Luca
  • Max
  • Maya
  • Mia
  • Niko
  • Skye
  • Stella

Famous People Named Zoe

There are several famous entertainers with the name Zoe, and many fictional characters with the name as well.

Famous Zoes

  • Zoe Akins, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, poet, and author
  • Zoe Elizabeth Sugg, an English social media personality, entrepreneur, and author who is also known as Zoella
  • Zoë Isabella Kravitz, American actress, singer, and model who is the daughter of actor-musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet
  • Zoe Saldana, American actress
  • Zoë, British singer and pop star
  • Zooey Deschanel, American actress and musician

Fictional Zoes

  • Zoe Barnes, a newspaper reporter/blogger in the TV series “House of Cards”
  • Zoe Luper, a character in the soap opera “All My Children
  • Zoe Murphy, a character from the musical “Dear Evan Hansen”
  • Zoe Newton, a character from the soap opera “EastEnders”
  • Zoë Nightshade, a character from the popular teen book series “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” 
  • Zoe Zibbell, a character in the kids' book series “Spy School” by Stuart Gibbs
  • Zoe, an orange Muppet character on “Sesame Street”
  • Zoey Bartlet, the youngest daughter of President Barlet on the TV series “The West Wing”
  • Zoey Brooks, the main character on the kids' TV show “Zoey 101”
  • Zoey Pierson, Ted's environmentalist girlfriend in “How I Met Your Mother”
  • Zoey, Rudolph's love interest in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie”

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options:

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name Zoe.

By Vicky Yip
Vicky is a freelance writer specializing on topics relating to prenatal care, motherhood, parenting, family, and home life. She is also a Senior Contributor for HoustonMoms (City Mom Collective).