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fem. proper name, name of the faithful wife in the "Odyssey," from Greek Penelopeia, probably related to pene "thread on the bobbin," from penos "web," cognate with Latin pannus "cloth garment" (see pane (n.)). Used in English as the type of the virtuous wife (1580) as it was in Latin.
The wife of Odysseus in classical mythology. Penelope remained true to her husband for the ten years he spent fighting in the Trojan War and for the ten years it took him to return from Troy, even though she was harassed by men who wanted to marry her. She promised to choose a suitor after she had finished weaving a shroud for her father-in-law, but every night she unraveled what she had woven during the day. After three years, her trick was discovered, but she still managed to put her suitors off until Odysseus returned and killed them.
Note: Penelope is an image of fidelity and devotion.