Of Greek origin, meaning ‘woman from Lydia’, an area of Asia Minor. The name is borne in the Bible by a woman of Thyatira who was converted by St Paul and who entertained him in her house (Acts 16:14–15, 40). It has enjoyed steady popularity in the English-speaking world since the 17th century.
English: from the Middle English female personal name Annes, Old French Anes, vernacular form of Late Latin Agnes, which is in turn an adaptation of the Greek name Hagnē ‘pure’, ‘holy’. St. Agnes was a virgin martyr, one of those who suffered under the persecutions of Diocletian in 303 AD. Her name was associated by folk etymology with Latin agnus ‘lamb’, and in medieval art she is often depicted with a lamb (the lamb of God).