Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Eleanor

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, French
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 106
Simple meaning:
The "other"; or The "bright one"

Characteristics of Eleanor

  • Mystical
  • Wise
  • Eccentric
  • Intuitive
  • Imaginative
  • Philosophical
  • Solitary

Etymology & Historical Origin - Eleanor

Eleanor is a name made popular by Eleanor of Aquitaine (c. 1122-1204), one of the most glamorous, wealthy, powerful and adventurous women in all of medieval Europe. If “celebrity” were a word in the English dictionary in the 12th century, she may very well have been the poster girl definition. She holds the exclusive distinction of having been Queen Consorts of both France (Louis VII) and England (Henry II). No one is quite certain from where her name comes, but there are several educated theories. For one, it’s commonly believed to have been derived from the medieval Provençal (a southeastern French dialect) female name “Aliénor” from the Germanic “aljis” meaning “other, foreign” (from the Proto-Indo-European root “al” meaning “beyond”). Some believe Aliénor d’Aquitaine (Eleanor of Aquitaine) was given the moniker Aliénor in homage to her mother, Aénor of Châtellerault, but altered in order to specify “the other” Aénor. Still, other etymologists surmise Aliénor was merely the Provençal dialectical form of Elena (the Spanish form of Helen). Helen comes from the Greek (Ελένη) from “hēlios” meaning “sun, ray of light” or “the bright one”. Today Eleanor is most popular in England and the United States.

Popularity of the Name Eleanor

The name Eleanor was most popular in the United States at the turn of the 20th century up through the early 1940s. The name saw most of its success in the late-teens into the roaring-twenties when it was a consistent Top 50 choice for turn-of-the-century baby girls. Her best year ever came in 1920 when Eleanor was the 25th most commonly used baby girl’s name nationwide. After the 1920s, however, Eleanor began to show backwards momentum on the charts and eventually reached her all time low-point in usage in the late 1980s. However, today, as we’ve crossed the threshold into the 21st century, Eleanor is showing a substantial revival in popularity. She’s not as popular as some of her fellow “grey-hairs” (names such as Ruby or Nora), but she’s inching her way back up to her former heights of glory. This is a name that shares the same antique charm that American parents are so attracted to today, yet Eleanor remains less trendy and overused in comparison to names like Emma, Olivia and Sophia. Eleanor is also quite flexible in terms of pet forms: Ellie, Nora, Lenore and even Ellen or Nellie (not to mention Helen, Elaine and Elena). As a stand-alone name, Eleanor has a lot of built-in confidence and dignity that gives her a slight edge over the competition. It’s truly a multifaceted name.
Popularity of the Girl Name Eleanor
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Eleanor

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Eleanor

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Eleanor

    Eleanor “Ellie” Arroway (Contact) Eleanor “Ellie” Arroway is the director of a project looking for signs of extraterrestrial life in the 1985 science fiction novel by Carl Sagan, also made into a film starring Jodie Foster in 1997. When signals are picked up, Ellie is one of five project members who travel into the depths of the Milky Way Galaxy to further investigate. Talk about bravery – this is one gutsy gal. She is also stubborn, opinionated and single-minded, not necessarily negative traits in that line of work. In addition to being open to the infinite possibilities offered by outer space, Eleanor Arroway is also flexible when it comes to exploring the intricacies of inner space, and a compelling focus of the novel and movie is that of the journey of the human mind toward acceptance of the biggest possibility of all – God.

    Eleanor Jane (The Color Purple) Eleanor is a character in Alice Walker’s 1982 novel, The Color Purple, which was also made into the very successful film of the same name. She is the daughter of the town’s mayor, whom Sofia raises, and who looks to Sofia as a second mother. In the uneven relationship between black and white, Eleanor Jane believes that that is enough to make Sofia love and bless her own child. But Sofia sees the infant boy as just another white, who will grow up into yet another of her many tormentors. As the story ends, Eleanor Jane and Sofia reach a higher level of understanding and faith, but only because Sofia has been brave enough to open Eleanor Jane’s eyes to the banal unconsciousness of the racism she has unwittingly accepted up to now.

    Eleanor Tilney (Northanger Abbey) Eleanor is a character in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, written around 1798-99. She is the daughter of the tyrannical General Tilney and sister of Henry, who courts the novel’s protagonist, Catherine Morland. Eleanor is described as having “…a good figure, a pretty face, and a very agreeable countenance…” ; she is a fashionable and elegant person. She is also a kind and good friend to Catherine and a beloved confidante of her brother Henry. All that virtue and beauty is duly rewarded, as Eleanor gets her very own Viscount at the end of the book.

    Eleonora (Eleanora) Eleanora is the title character of a short story (actually a prose poem) by Edgar Allen Poe, published in 1842. In it, the narrator and his cousin dwell in innocence and bliss in an isolated valley. Eventually, as they grow older, they fall in love, but the lovely Eleonora is fated for an early death; she was "made perfect in loveliness only to die”. Promising eternal love to her alone, our hero, being but a man, falters and falls for another. Well, of course, Eleonora returns from the grave to give him her blessing, telling him she will explain her change of heart in heaven, and all ends well. If you believe Mr. Poe, that is.

  • Popular Songs on Eleanor

    Popular Songs on Eleanor

    Eleanor - a song by Jet

    Eleanor - a song by the Low Millions

    Eleanor Rigby - a song by The Beatles

    Eleanor Rigby - a version by Paul McCartney

    Eleanor Rigby - a version by Ray Charles

    Lady Eleanor - by the The Gathering

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Eleanor

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Eleanor

    Eleanor (Barbara Cooney) - Award-winning author Cooney presents a well-researched and poignant storybook biography of Eleanor Roosevelt's childhood. The wartime First Lady of the New Deal, who became one of the most beloved Americans for her empathy with the downtrodden, was famously unglamorous and plain in looks, even as a child. Her beautiful and awful mother humiliated the little girl, calling her Granny, "because she is so funny and old-fashioned looking." Orphaned at nine the girl eventually found her way to confidence, helped initially by a boarding-school headmistress. The book mentions only briefly Roosevelt's later achievements, so a parent will have to supply a little context for this tale of an ugly duckling who turns into, not a swan, but a fulfilled and happy duck. Recommended for ages 5-10.

    Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake, and Me (Cathy Rubin) - Everyone in Eleanor's family thinks they have the perfect nickname for her. Nana thinks "Eleanor" is boring and insists on calling her "Elle," her perfect "mademoiselle." Papa wants to call her "Punch," his favorite "crunch." Dad insists on naming her "Eleanora, the movie star with so much mora." Even Mom gets into the act, shortening her name until it's just one letter--E! Finally, Eleanor realizes that the only person who can come up with the perfect nickname is the one who is going to use it--herself! This endearing story, told in clever and humorous rhyme, offer a unique insight into how one spunky kid relies on her sense of self to solve her problem. A clever story about identity and the power of names, as told by Eleanor, the spunky heroine. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine, France, 1136 (Kristiana Gregory) - The story begins in 1136, when Eleanor is a disobedient 13-year-old in her father's palace, and ends in 1137, when she marries and becomes queen of France. In this fictional diary, Eleanor records a wide variety of events and displays myriad emotions while creating an informative backdrop of the social and religious customs of the twelfth century. The characterizations of the lively Eleanor, her protective grandmother, and her troubled father are all convincing within their time and place. The book ends with an epilogue, a historical note, a Capet-Plantagenet family tree, and a list of characters (some historical, some fictional). Illustrations, also grouped at the end, include black-and-white reproductions of period paintings and engravings, photos of places and artifacts, and a map. A rewarding addition to a popular series. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Encore for Eleanor (Bill Peet) - Eleanor the elephant, a retired circus star, finds a new career as the resident artist in the city zoo. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt? (Gare Thompson) - For a long time, the main role of First Ladies was to act as hostesses of the White House...until Eleanor Roosevelt. Born in 1884, Eleanor was not satisfied to just be a glorified hostess for her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Eleanor had a voice, and she used it to speak up against poverty and racism. She had experience and knowledge of many issues, and fought for laws to help the less fortunate. She had passion, energy, and a way of speaking that made people listen, and she used these gifts to campaign for her husband and get him elected president—four times! A fascinating historical figure in her own right, Eleanor Roosevelt changed the role of First Lady forever. Recommended for ages 9-12.

  • Famous People Named Eleanor

    Famous People Named Eleanor

    Famous People Named Eleanor - Eleanor Roosevelt (U.S. First Lady); Eleanor of Aquitaine (royalty); Eleanor Audley (actress); Eleanor Parker (actress); Eleanor Powell (actress)

  • Children of Famous People Named Eleanor

    Children of Famous People Named Eleanor

    Famous People who Named their Daughter Eleanor - Christopher Lambert (actor); Woodrow Wilson (U.S. President)

  • Historic Figures

    Eleanor - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    (Anna) Eleanor Roosevelt (11 Oct 1884 – 7 Nov 1962) - Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the most beloved women of modern times, both as First Lady during her husband’s four terms in office, and as a public figure in her own right. In her long and varied life, she was a humanitarian, a civil rights activist, a teacher, a diplomat, a columnist, a radio spokeswoman, a speechmaker, an advocate for women’s rights and, incidentally, a wife and mother. Coming from a privileged but lonely background, wherein she suffered the deaths of both parents and siblings at an early age, she was subject to lifelong bouts of depression. She married her cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when she was twenty-one, and was immediately swept into the press of public life that surrounded and supported him. She was also swept into a world that was fraught with personal harm for her. Her formidable mother-in-law opposed her and her gregarious husband was unfaithful to her. A turning point came in 1921, when Franklin contracted polio, and Eleanor supported his decision to stay in politics against the wishes of his mother. She began making public appearances on his behalf, and by the time he was president, she was a seasoned politico. It is highly likely that she had a romantic relationship with the journalist, Lorena Hickok. She and Franklin, who sustained several long term extramarital relationships himself, seem to have agreed to go their separate ways together, in a very modern and civilized solution to the problems of their public personae. After Franklin’s death, Eleanor continued with her far reaching humanitarian work, and died a revered figure at the age of seventy-eight. She set a high standard for all women, one that is eminently worthy of pursuing.

    Eleanor of Aquitaine (ca 1122 – 1204) - Eleanor of Aquitaine was the powerful queen of France, wife of Louis VII, and of England, as wife of Henry II; she was also the mother of ten, including three future kings of England. High-spirited, willful and well educated, Eleanor became the wealthy Duchess of Aquitaine while still a child, making her a highly prized candidate as potential Queen Consort. Entrusted to the guardianship of Louis VI, she was almost immediately married off by him to his son and heir, Louis VII. She and her husband took part in the Second Crusade, with less than stellar results, and eventually their marriage was annulled, on the basis of consanguinity, but actually because she had only produced two daughters in fifteen years. On to Part II for our Eleanor – richer than ever, she now marries the man who becomes Henry II of England (to whom she was even more closely related by blood than to Louis). In the parentage department, she fares quite a bit better – providing Henry with five sons and three daughters. This marriage proves to be a fractious one, and Henry II even has Eleanor put under house (castle?) arrest for sixteen years when she supports one of her sons in his rebellion against the king. The indomitable Eleanor, twice a queen, thrice a mother of kings, outlived everyone, except two of her ten children, and died at the age of eighty-two, still considered an “admirable beauty”. The scope of this amazing woman’s fortitude was amply portrayed by Katharine Hepburn in the 1968 movie, The Lion in Winter (for which she received an Academy Award).

Personality of the Girl Name Eleanor

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Variations of the Baby Name - Eleanor

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