Phalerus was one of the Argonauts, the Athenian son of Alcon. The origin of his name appears to be phalaros, 'having a patch of white', 'white crested', the Ionic form of which was phaleros.

This in turn derives from phalos, which was the word for a part of the helmet as worn by Homeric heroes - perhaps the metal ridge on the crown in which a plume was fixed. This could therefore allusively or propitiously be a 'power' name. The city and port of Phaerum was said to have been named after him.