The name Penelope ranked 804th in popularity for females of all ages in a sample of 2000-2003 Social Security Administration statistics and 771st in popularity for females of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census.
In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope was the patient, faithful wife of Odysseus, whose return trip from the Trojan War took ten long years.
Believing Odysseus dead, a host of suitors besieged Penelope. To keep them at bay, she demanded time to finish a funeral shroud for her father-in-law before accepting one of them. All day she would weave, but at night she stealthily unraveled the previous day's work.
This story accounts for the preferred derivation, though others believe penelops was the source. It is the Greek name for a kind of duck that was said to have rescued and nurtured Penelope when she was exposed to die as an infant.
Wife of Odysseus, who waited many years for him to return from the Trojan War.