Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of Aegina, and Endeïs, and rather more importantly he was the father of Achilles. His name obviously suggests pelos, which means 'clay' (compare Pelagon).

One story says that he had been covered in sepia-ink by Thetis, who had turned into a huge cuttle-fish when trying to escape his advances. In this state he would have been decidedly 'clayey' or 'muddy'. He was also the son of Endeïs, whose name (which see) could mean 'entangler', this being a synonym for a cuttle-fish.

However, another explanation maintains that he was simply a 'man of Pelion', and it is true that his main adventures are centred round this mountain. Modern linguistic researches, on the other hand, suggest that his name may have originally been something like 'Teleus', and that thus he is 'from afar'. Compare Telemachus.