Erinyes was the Greek name for the Furies, the female spirits of justice and vengeance. The derivation of the word is uncertain, although Hesiod claimed it meant 'the strong ones', presumably from the root eri, 'very', 'much'.

Other conjectures have been elinuo, 'to rest', 'sleep' - hardly appropriate for angry beings seeking vengeance - and even the ingenious en era naiein, 'dwelling in the earth'. The Erinyes were said to have been born when the blood of the castrated Uranus fell on to Gaia, the earth.