This is intended to be an out-of-universe question

I recently learned of Thanatos the Greek god of death, and I could not help but notice how similar the name Thanos is to the name Thanatos. This got me wondering if the original writers did this intentionally, especially considering Thanos' relationship with and association to death (and Death) in the comics.

Is there any indication that the similarity in names between Thanatos and Thanos is more than coincidence?

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    Bonus: In Greek, the name Thanos is real and it is commonly used in modern times. It is one of a few possible shortenings of the name Athanasios, which means "immortal".
    – Natural30
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 11:50
  • seems a little weird if it would be in-universe, so i wouldn't have thought to have to make the disclaimer at the start. but eh, better safe than sorry i guess.
    – BCLC
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 14:17
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    @SigmaOri Though removing that 'A' at the beginning completely negates the meaning of the word of course. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 15:00
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    Hi! Greek guy here, just randomly reading this. @SigmaOri correctly mentions the popular shortening Athanasios => Thanos (Αθανάσιος => Θάνος). While it's true that Athanasios is derived from the word "athanasia" (αθανασία, immortality) and also that Athanasia is itself a name in Greek (the female form of Athanasios), "Athanasios" does not in itself mean anything. The word for "immortal" is athanatos / athanati (αθάνατος / αθάνατη) for males and females respectively.
    – Jon
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


Yes, "Thanos" is indeed derived from the name "Thanatos", the name of the Freudian concept of death drive (which in turn is named after the Thanatos of myth), according to Vulture:

While attending a psychology class in junior college in order to woo a woman, Starlin had become briefly acquainted with the Freudian concept of Thanatos, humanity’s drive for death and self-destruction. As a result, even before he started at Marvel, he’d drawn up plans for a villain named Thanos, using that subtracted spelling “because it ‘looked’ better in print.”

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