His name reflects the fact that the Moon (referred to as
Egyptian) travels across the night sky, for it means "traveller", and also had the titles "Embracer", "Pathfinder", and "Defender", as he was thought to watch over those who travel at night. As the god of light in the night, Khonsu was invoked to protect against wild animals, and aid with healing. It was said that when Khonsu caused the crescent moon to shine, women conceived, cattle became fertile, and all nostrils and every throat was filled with fresh air.
"Khonsu" can also be understood to mean "king's placenta", and consequently in early times, he was considered to slay the king's (i.e. the
pharaoh's) enemies, and extract their innards for the king's use, metaphorically creating something resembling a
placenta for the king. This bloodthirsty aspect leads him to be referred to, in such as the
Pyramid texts, as the "(one who) lives on hearts". He also became associated with more literal placentas, becoming seen as a deification of the royal placenta, and so a god involved with childbirth.