- Meaning: The name Stella means “star.”
- Gender: Stella is a predominantly female name and has been throughout history.
- Origin: Stella has its roots in Latin. It also derives from the Dutch word “Ster,” which the language borrowed from the original Latin.
- Pronunciation: The name Stella is typically pronounced as “STEL-luh” or “STEL-lah.”
- Popularity: Stella is an extremely popular name in North America. In the United States, it ranked 41 for girls born in 2021.
- Nicknames: Elle, Ellie, Star, Starling, Stel.
- Variations: Estee, Estella, Estelle, Estrella, Starla, Stele, Stelle, Wynstelle.
- Namesakes: Stella Bennett, singer/songwriter, Stella McCartney, fashion designer, Stella Parton, American country singer/songwriter, Stella Stevens, American Actress,
- What Does Stella Mean?
- What Is the Origin of the Name Stella?
- How Popular Is the Name Stella?
- How Do I Pronounce Stella?
- Is Stella a Boy or Girl Name?
- Variations of Stella
- Nicknames for Stella
- Similar Names to Stella
- Middle Names for Stella
- Sibling Names for Stella
- Famous People Named Stella
- Stella in Popular Culture
- Stella FAQs
What Does Stella Mean?
Stella is a Latinate name that means “star” (1). It is different but synonymous with “astrum/astra,” which is another popular Latin name that also means “star”. However, Stella belongs to the colloquial Latin that was used in everyday speech by, for instance, sailors and navigators. In contrast, “astrum” is more prevalent in poetry.
In addition to Latin, Stella also comes from the Dutch “ster” (2). The Dutch borrowed the word from Latin and associated it with people or places that are in some way arranged like a stellate.
What Is the Origin of the Name Stella?
Latin is thousands of years old, but Stella hasn’t always been a girl’s name, much less a popular one. It’s popularly believed that Stella started appearing as a name around 1580 after Phillip Sydney penned a love poem titled “Astrophel and Stella” (3).
Like Stella, Astrophel’s name means “Star.”It’s a clever bit of word-painting because, throughout the poem, his unrequited love for Stella makes him one of literature’s most star-crossed lovers.
How Popular Is the Name Stella?
Stella is a very popular name. In 2021, Stella ranked number 41 for girls born in the United States (4).
The name’s popularity has moved forward significantly since 2000, when Stella was fairly popular and ranked 656.
Since then, the name has steadily increased in popularity, with a noticeable uptick in children called Stella occurring between 2002-3. It continued to work its way through the top 200 to become one of the most popular choices to give to a girl.
How Do I Pronounce Stella?
There are two ways to pronounce Stella. The most common in North America is “STEL-luh,” with the stress on the first syllable and a short “A” sound in the second.
However, sometimes you will hear Stella pronounced as “STEL-lah.” The stress stays on the first syllable, but the “A” in the final syllable stretches. What’s more, if you are in Britain, that may include a soft “R” sound at the end.
Is Stella a Boy or Girl Name?
Perhaps because Phillip Sydney first attributed the name Stella to a woman, the name has a long association with young girls.
The feminine association with the name Stella could also be because, like all Latin nouns, Stella is inherently gendered. Typically, first declension nouns ending in “-a” are feminine, while second declension nouns are masculine.
Variations of Stella
Phillip Sidney might have invented the name Stella, but it has a surprising number of star-themed variations in other languages. Popular variations on Stella include:
- Estee (French, Latin)
- Estella (Spanish)
- Estelle (French)
- Estrella (Spanish)
- Starla (English)
- Stele (English, Latin)
- Stelle (English, Latin)
- Wynstelle (Welsh/Anglo-Saxon, Latin)
Nicknames for Stella
Despite the shortness of the name Stella, it lends itself to a surprising number of creative nicknames and variations. The most popular include:
Similar Names to Stella
There is also a wide range of names that share similar meanings and associations with Stella. Some of these are:
Middle Names for Stella
Stella is also a name that lends itself to many possible middle names. Favorites include:
Sibling Names for Stella
Whether you want similarly star-themed names or simply names that sound similar to Stella, there are many sibling names to choose from that go well with Stella. You might want to consider the following:
For a brother:
For a sister:
Famous People Named Stella
There have been many Stellas with an equally varied range of interests and careers throughout history. Some of the best-known are:
- Stella Bennett: New Zealand singer/songwriter.
- Stella McCartney: British fashion designer.
- Stella Parton: American country singer/songwriter.
- Stella Stevens: American actress for film and television.
- Stella Zakharova: Olympic Gymnast for the former Soviet Union.
Stella in Popular Culture
Fiction and television are also rife with characters called Stella. Among the most immediately recognizable are:
- Stella Bonasera: Character in the TV show “CSI: Miami.”
- Stella Crawford: Recurring character on British soap opera “EastEnders.”
- Stellaluna: Eponymous bat protagonist of a popular children’s book by Janell Cannon.
- Stella Kowalski: Character in Tennessee Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
- Stella Maynard: Friend of protagonist Anne in L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne of the Island.”
- Stella Zhau: Character in American animated show “The Loud House.”
In addition to the origin, history, and meaning of the name Stella, here are some other questions many people ask.