Nymphs are deities that are represented in a form of young girls who like to sing and dance. They are associated with Greek and Latin myths, and they are usually connected with nature. Nymphs live in mountains, forests, and rivers, and they are free to go wherever they want on the contrary to the women from that times. Although they are represented as immortal deities there are cases where Nymphs died. They can be mated with the god, and they can give birth to the immortal children after that.
In stories written by Homer Nymphs are daughters of Zeus. In other stories by Hesiod, some of them are daughters of the earth-encircling River Okeanos, and they are the one who flourish the nature, others are daughters of Gaia (Mother Earth), some of them are daughters of Hekaterides and daughters of Seilenos.
Achilles, Themryes and other heroes from Greek mythology are sons of the Nymphs as there are a lot of stories of mortal men having an affair with the nymphs.
Nymphs dwell in streams, pools, they can appear in a whirlwind or some other places where humans are usually not. They can be dangerous to people who travel alone and decide to spy on them. Nymphs can bring dumbness, madness or stroke to those travelers. If there is a child who has some of these characteristics, parents pray to Saint Artemidos for help.
Some of the famous nymphs from mythology are Charybdis and Scylla. Nymphs were usually at the service of a God: Dionysus, Pan, Hermes, or huntress Artemis.
The word “nymph” derives from a Greek word νύμφη which means "bride" and "veiled" or a young woman for marriage.
There are some differences between Greek and Latin nymphs: Greek nymphs are connected to some place and Latin are not. Goddesses in Latin literature which can be compared to Nymphs are Juturna, Egeria, Carmentis, and Fontus.
The stories and myths about nymphs from ancient Greece can still be heard in some parts of Greece. They are also known as “nereids”. Today the term is used to describe a woman who behaves like nymphs which mean having sexual intercourses with men and woman at their volition and acting completely out of man control.
In modern psychology, there is a term nymphomania which came from the word nymph and describes a "desire to engage in human sexual behavior at a level high enough to be considered clinically significant". Also, a term nymphet is used in Vladimir Nabokov novel Lolita which is a sexually precocious girl.
Many water nymphs are connected with water spirits and considered as mermaids.
There are several different types of nymphs:
However, there is no canonical and unique classification.
Nymphs can also be found outside the mythology. There are nymphs in popular culture such as they from Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis and nymphs from role-playing video games Dungeons and Dragons.