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Eleanor Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Eleanor Overview

  • Meaning: Light.
  • Gender: Female.
  • Origin: Unverifiable but thought to be English or Greek.
  • Pronunciation: el-lah-nor.
  • Popularity: Eleanor is very popular in Britain and the United States.
  • Nicknames: Ellie, Elle, Ellen, Lena, Lennie, Nora, Norah.
  • Variations: Elenor, Elianor, Leanore, Leanora, Lenora.
  • Namesakes: Eleanor Rigby, Eleanor Roosevelt.

What Does Eleanor Mean?

Since no one can verify the origin of the name Eleanor, many people resort to the Greek connection to the name Helen, which means light-hearted or shining light.

Another tie to the meaning of the name Eleanor is in the Arabic and Quran roots of the words “el nour,” which means light.

For Hebrews, Eleanor comes from breaking the syllables down into “el” meaning god, and “or” meaning light, resulting in “God is my light.”

What Is the Origin of the Name Eleanor?

The origin of the name Eleanor is not 100% confirmed. One school of thought came from a French Queen who married an English King. The Queen’s name was Aenor. She named her daughter after herself, adding the extra syllable to differentiate her daughter as “the other Aenor.”

So, some people believe its origin to be French and then brought to England.

Others believe it is tied to the name Helen, which comes from Greece.

How Popular Is the Name Eleanor?

Eleanor is currently very popular in the United States, ranking in the top 50 since 2016. (1)

Eleanor was also very popular in the United States between the 1910s and 1920s, hitting its peak at #25 in 1920 (2).

Although its popularity has fallen over the years, it has seen a rise in popularity over the past decade.

Eleanor has consistently been in the top 100 since 2014, peaking at #22 in 2020 (3).

How Do I Pronounce Eleanor?

The name Eleanor is pronounced as el – ah – nor or eh – la – nohr.

Is Eleanor a Boy or Girl Name?

Eleanor is documented as a boy’s name in the United States just briefly around 1908. However, it has been primarily considered a girl’s name in general.

Variations of Eleanor

Most variations of the name Eleanor come from Greek heritage, with a few using an “a” at the end for a more Latin flair:

  • Eleanora (Spanish, Italian)
  • Elenor (Greek)
  • Elianora (Greek)
  • Elinor (Greek)
  • Elinore (Greek)
  • Ellenora (Greek)
  • Helen (Greek)
  • Lenore (Greek)
  • Leanora (Spanish, Italian)

Nicknames for Eleanor

Many nicknames are available for Eleanor using the first or last syllable of the name, or even the middle! Many people choose the name Eleanor precisely to have so many options.

  • Ella
  • Elle
  • Ellen
  • Ellie
  • Lea
  • Len
  • Lena
  • Lennie
  • Lenore
  • Nell
  • Nor
  • Nora
  • Norah

Similar Names to Eleanor

People have varied the spelling of Eleanor over the years. You can choose from many diversions such as:

  • Elianor
  • Elinore
  • Elena
  • Ellen
  • Helen
  • Helena
  • Leonora
  • Lenore
  • Nora
  • Norah

Middle Names for Eleanor

Since Eleanor is more of a vintage name, you may want to stay with that theme for a middle name. Some suggested middle names that are also vintage-style are:

You may also want to lighten the name up with some shorter, less vintage-style names such as:

Sibling Names for Eleanor

You may want to keep your children’s names all in the “E” family or at least keep them within the same vintage theme. Here are some suggestions for girl and boy siblings:



Famous People Named Eleanor

Eleanor conjures up an image of a woman of strength and grace. Famous women with this name range from a fictional characters in a pop song to many actresses and writers and the wives of noblemen and presidents.

  • Eleanor Audley: An American actress with a distinctive voice. She is best known for her role in the popular 1960s sitcom “Green Acres.”
  • Eleanor Bron: An English actress on stage, film, and television, and an author. She is best known for her role in the Beatles film Help!
  • Eleanor Catton: A New Zealand author who won the 2013 Man Booker Prize for her second novel, The Luminaries.
  • Eleanor Clift: An American political reporter, television pundit, and author.
  • Eleanor de Montfort: The Princess of Wales and Lady of Snowdon, an English noble.
  • Eleanor Hibbit: An English author widely recognized for writing over 200 books.
  • Eleanor Maria Josefa of Austria: The Queen of Poland.
  • Eleanor Parker: An American actress who appeared in over 80 movies and television series.
  • Eleanor Rigby: Character in the Beatles song “Eleanor Rigby” from the 1966 album Revolver, named after the actress Eleanor Bron.
  • Eleanor (Nora) Roberts: American novelist.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: Former First Lady of the United States married to Franklin D. Roosevelt, a political activist, diplomat, and chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
  • Eleanor Tomlinson: An English actress and singer.

Eleanor FAQs

Want to delve deeper into the name Eleanor? Here are some questions people ask regarding the name.

Is the Name Eleanor Religious?

Hebrews derive the name Eleanor from two elements: ‘el,’ which means ‘god,’ and ‘or,’ which means light. So Eleanor can be perceived as a religious name meaning ‘God is my light.’

Is Eleanor a Trendy Name?

Names become trendy due to a variety of reasons. However, often it is popular culture or politics that will dictate the latest trend.

The name Eleanor is very trendy right now as vintage-style girl names are quite popular in the United States.

Is Eleanor Rigby, From the Famous Beatles Song, a Real Person?

“Eleanor Rigby” was the title of a famous song by the English rock band the Beatles in 1966.

Paul McCartney said the name Eleanor Rigby was not his inspiration for the song. Her name was actually Daisy Hawkins. She was an old lady who lived alone, and McCartney would spend time with her. He said listening to her stories inspired his songwriting.

He may have chosen to use the name Eleanor due to the actress who starred in the 1965 Beatle’s film entitled Help. Her name was Eleanor Bron.

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