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Arabella Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Arabella including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Arabella Overview

  • Meaning: The name Arabella has multiple meanings, including “prayerful” (Latin), “eagle heroine” (German), “little Arabian woman” (Spanish), and “beautiful” (English).
  • Gender: The name Arabella is primarily feminine.
  • Origin: Arabella is derived from the Latin “Oribilis.”
  • Pronunciation: It is most commonly pronounced as “Ah-rah-BEL-lah.”
  • Popularity: The name Arabella is a popular choice for girls. In the United States, it ranked 195 for girls born in 2021.
  • Nicknames: Abby, Ari, Aria, Bel, Bella, Elle, Ellie.
  • Variations: Arabelle, Arbela, Aribella, Ayrabella, Ayerabella, Bella, Belle, Orabella.
  • Namesakes: Arabella Árbenz (German actress), Arabella Field (American actress), Arabella Mansfield (first American female lawyer).

What Does Arabella Mean?

Depending on who you ask, the name Arabella has several meanings. The most common North American iteration has its roots in Latin.

In Latin, Arabella is a derivative of “Orabilis,” which means “prayerful” (1). Looser translations sometimes render this in English as “Yielding to prayer” or “those that pray”. However, because Orabilis is a declined participle, “prayerful” is more accurate.

Some scholars believe Arabella shares its Latin links with the name “Amabel.” But that is unlikely as that name comes from a different Latin verb, “Amare.” (2).

Latin isn’t the only language that is associated with the name Arabella. In German, Arabella means something completely different.

In German, Arabella means “eagle heroine.” This is presumably a variation on the German masculine noun “eagle” (or “adler”) and the word for “heroine” (3).

In North America, many people interpret the name Arabella to mean “beautiful.” This is influenced by the suffix “bella.”

In Spanish, Arabella means “little Arabian woman.” That comes from the Spanish “Árabe,” which means “Arabian” (4).

What Is the Origin of the Name Arabella?

The Latin origins of the name mean that there were women called Orabilis or other, earlier versions of Arabella from the time of the Roman Empire onwards.

Due to the way Roman naming conventions worked, Orabilis would have been one of at least three names assigned to a young Roman woman.

But the earliest recording of the name Arabella as we recognize it occurs in 12th-century Scotland. Arabella was the name given to William the Lion’s granddaughter (5).

How Popular Is the Name Arabella?

Since 2005, Arabella has increased in popularity. Back then, Arabella held the 796th spot for newborn girls and was a fairly popular name.

It has steadily risen in favor. The most significant leap in popularity was in 2012 when it moved almost 100 places from 333 on a list of baby names to 244.

Progress since then has been more gradual. In 2021, Arabella ranked as 195th most popular baby name according to census data (6).

How Do I Pronounce Arabella?

You pronounce Arabella, “Ah-rah-BEL-lah.” The stress falls on the penultimate syllable.

Usually, the first “A” of Arabella said phonetically creates an “ah” sound. However, some variations make it a diphthong like the “Ee” sound in “fate.”

Is Arabella a Boy or Girl Name?

Arabella has a long tradition of use as a girl’s name. This is especially obvious in the German etymology, which gives the compound word a feminine gender.

Variations of Arabella

Perhaps because of the linguistic flexibility of Arabella to mean several things in several languages, there aren’t many variations in the name or its spelling. However, there are some, including:

  • Arabelle (Latin)
  • Arbela (Latin)
  • Aribella (English)
  • Ayrabella (English)
  • Ayerabella (Italian)
  • Bella (Italian)
  • Belle (French)
  • Orabella (Latin)

Nicknames for Arabella

The number of syllables in Arabella makes it particularly well-suited for nicknames. There are many creative ways to shorten it, with the choices being:

Similar Names to Arabella

If you aren’t sure Arabella is the right name for your family, there are many other names with similar meanings and sounds. People who consider the name Arabella also like:

Middle Names for Arabella

Various middle names work well with Arabella. Here are some of the most popular:

Sibling Names for Arabella

When it comes to sibling names for Arabella, there are many options, such as:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Arabella

History is full of interesting women named Arabella. Some of the most prominent are:

  • Arabella Árbenz: German actress.
  • Arabella Burton Buckley: British author and scientist.
  • Arabella Churchill: Mistress of James II of England.
  • Arabella Field: American actress.
  • Arabella Fermor: Woman who inspired Alexander Pope’s epic poem “The Rape of the Lock.”
  • Arabella Mansfield: America’s first female lawyer.
  • Arabella Morton: Australian actress.

Arabella in Popular Culture

Arabella has a long history as a name popular in fiction as well as history. Its popularity as a British girl name predates its more recent American favor, as evidenced in many British literary classics that feature Arabellas. Among the most noted fictional namesakes include:

  • Arabella: Eponymous heroine in an opera by Richard Strauss.
  • Arabella Allen: Character in Charles Dickens’ novel “The Pickwick Papers.”
  • Arabella Donn: Character in Thomas Hardy’s “Jude the Obscure.”
  • Arabella Harlowe: Sister to Clarissa in the novel “Arabella” by Samuel Richardson.
  • Arabella Hunt: Character in “Tom Jones,” novel by Henry Fielding.
  • Arabella Wilmot: Character in Oliver Goldsmith’s “Vicar of Wakefield.”

Arabella FAQs

That’s where Arabella comes from and what it means. Here are other questions people ask about the name Arabella.

What Does Arabella Mean in the Bible?

Arabella is a girl’s name that means “prayerful.” However, the name Arabella does not appear in the Bible.

Is Arabella an Arabic Name?

Although Arabella can mean “little Arabian” or “little Arabic woman,” it is not an Arabic girl name. In this context, the derivation of Arabella comes from the Spanish for Arabian.

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