Waterhouse Hylas and the Nymphs Manchester Art Gallery 1896.15.jpg
In this 1896 painting of Hylas and the Nymphs by John William Waterhouse, Hylas is abducted by the Naiads, i.e. fresh water nymphs
Grouping Mythological
Sub grouping Nature spirit
Similar creatures Mermaid, huldra, selkie, siren
Mythology Greek mythology
Country Greece
Habitat Various

A nymph ( Greek: νύμφη, nýmphē [nýmpʰɛː]) in Greek and Latin mythology is a minor female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from other goddesses, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis. They are beloved by many and dwell in mountainous regions and forests by lakes and streams. Although they would never die of old age nor illness, and could give birth to fully immortal children if mated to a god, they themselves were not necessarily immortal, and could be beholden to death in various forms. Charybdis and Scylla were once nymphs.

Other nymphs, always in the shape of young maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally the huntress Artemis. [1] Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs.


Fight between Nymph and Satyr, Naples National Archaeological Museum.

Nymphs are personifications of the creative and fostering activities of nature, most often identified with the life-giving outflow of springs: as Walter Burkert (Burkert 1985:III.3.3) remarks, "The idea that rivers are gods and springs divine nymphs is deeply rooted not only in poetry but in belief and ritual; the worship of these deities is limited only by the fact that they are inseparably identified with a specific locality."

The Greek word νύμφη has "bride" and "veiled" among its meanings: hence a marriageable young woman. Other readers refer the word (and also Latin nubere and German Knospe) to a root expressing the idea of "swelling" (according to Hesychius, one of the meanings of νύμφη is "rose-bud").

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latviešu: Nimfa
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नेपाली: परी
日本語: ニュンペー
norsk nynorsk: Nymfe
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Nimfalar
polski: Nimfy
português: Ninfas
русский: Нимфа
Scots: Nymph
shqip: Nimfat
Simple English: Nymph
slovenčina: Nymfa (mytológia)
slovenščina: Nimfa
српски / srpski: Нимфа
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اردو: حسینہ
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