Quick Facts on Elsa
- English, German
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
God is my oath; God's promise
Etymology & Historical Origin - Elsa
Elsa is the short form of Elisabeth (which is the French, German and Dutch form of the more common English spelling of Elizabeth). The name Elizabeth in its various linguistic forms has been around since the Middle Ages, mainly popularized by the French (using the spelling Élisabeth). Elizabeth with a “z” is the typical spelling in English; most other European languages use the “s.” Elizabeth is found in the Bible (Luke 1:5-80) as the wife of Zachariah and the mother of John the Baptist. The name is essentially Greek (Elisabet) from the Hebrew (Elisheva) meaning “God is my oath.” In the Biblical story, we learn that God looks favorably upon Zachariah and Elizabeth as “they were both righteous before God…but they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” (Luke 1:6). The angel Gabriel is sent to Zachariah with a message that Elizabeth will soon conceive a son and “you shall call his name John.” Gabriel also says that John’s birth will be cause for much rejoicing and that the baby will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from Elizabeth’s womb. Zachariah expressed disbelief since his wife was well past childbearing years. As punishment for his doubt, God struck Zachariah mute. Sure enough, Elizabeth became pregnant and gave birth to John, after which Zachariah’s voice was restored. Around the same time, Mary become impregnated by the Holy Ghost with Jesus (Mary and Elizabeth are contemporaries; tradition holds they were cousins). John the Baptist’s role is important because it will later become his job to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah, the knowledge of salvation and the forgiveness of sins “because of the tender mercy of our God” (Luke 1:78). And John the Baptist also has the honors of having baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. In other words, John was one important Biblical dude among Christians and Elizabeth was the Baby Mama. It’s no surprise that the Biblical Elizabeth became the inspiration behind the usage of her name, and why so many Christianized European countries embraced it since the early Middle Ages (her Feast Day is November 5). The much admired Saints Elizabeth of Hungary and Elizabeth of Portugal also encouraged the usage of Elizabeth in later medieval times; further cementing the name’s lasting popularity. Elizabeth is up there with Mary, Margaret and Catherine as long-enduring and enormously popular names which have also spawned scores of variations and pet forms. Elsa is an example of one such pet form originally used among the Germans, Swedish, Finnish and English. Other pet forms you may recognize are Bess, Bessie, Beth, Betty, Buffy, Eliza, Elle, Ella, Ellie, Else, Libby, Lillian, Lisa, Liesel, Liza, Lizzie (and that’s just a partial list!). Elsa is currently the 3rd most popular name in Sweden (2011). It is also a high ranking name in France, Catalonia and Spain. Because Elsa is used among so many European cultures, we would consider this name quite cosmopolitan.
Popularity of the Name Elsa
The diminutive Elsa has existed on the American female naming charts since the government first began tracking naming trends (1880). Although the name has never experienced anything beyond moderate popularity, the high point of her usage career came in the late 19th century. Back then Elsa almost (but not quite) made it to the Top 200 list of most favorite girl names. The name saw fairly erratic usage as the 20th century got under way. She reached her lowest point on the charts in the late 1990s at which point she came dangerously close to disappearing forever. Fortunately, this little cutie has returned and seems to be experiencing a mild revival in the 21st century. Elsa is another attractive choice for parents who find names like Emma, Ella and Elise charming but perhaps too overused in today’s environment. Elsa is refreshingly underused in America today and sounds slightly more grown-up than Elsie. Adding some cultural cachet to the name is Richard Wagner’s popular opera “Lohengrin” composed in 1848 which centrally features a soprano character named Elsa (a damsel in distress rescued by a valiant knight).
Popularity of the Girl Name Elsa
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Elsa
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Elsa
Elsa We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Elsa.
Popular Songs on Elsa
Elsa - is the soprano character in Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin
Supersonic - a song by Oasis featuring the name Elsa
Children's Books on the Baby Name Elsa
Abenteuer von Elsa und Berta (Maria Krieger) - German Edition. Oma Maria erzählt kleine Geschichten über die beiden reiselustigen Schnecken Elsa und Berta und ihre Abenteuer und Entdeckungen. Die beiden Wunderschnecken finden auf ihren Reisen viele Freunde und legen dabei unglaubliche Distanzen zurück. Über die Jahre wurde die Anzahl der Abenteuer immer größer und die Enkel drängten darauf, die Geschichten endlich schriftlich feszuhalten. Mit diesem ersten Werk der Autorin ist das endlich gelungen. Viel Spaß beim Vorlesen und Nacherzählen! Recommended for ages unknown.
Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds (Joy Adamson) - Joy Adamson's story of a lion cub called Elsa in transition between the captivity in which she is raised and the fearsome wild to which she is returned captures the abilities of both humans and animals to cross the seemingly unbridgeable gap between their radically different worlds. Especially now, at a time when the sanctity of the wild and its inhabitants is increasingly threatened by human development and natural disaster, Adamson's remarkable tale is an idyll, and a model, to return to again and again. Illustrated with the same beautiful, evocative photographs that first enchanted the world forty years ago. Recommended for ages 13+
Elsa, Star of the Shelter! (Jacqueline Wilson) - Noisy, brash, and a troublemaker, ten-year-old Elsa uses her loud voice to warn of a fire at the homeless shelter where she lives with her family. Recommended for ages 8-11.
Sugar and Elsa: The Mystery (Maureen Ferraro) - A charming story of two sisters Amy and Kim and their pets Sugar & Elsa will keep children interested right up until the end. The girls argue about whether or not the animals can communicate with each other. When a summer thunderstorm hits and the power goes out and the animals are left alone the mystery begins. It's a wonderful story about how a dog and cat work together to solve a mystery. Recommended for ages 6-9.
Famous People Named Elsa
Famous People Named Elsa - Elsa Benítez (Mexican model); Elsa Beskow (children’s book author); Elsa Einstein (Albert Einstein's second wife); Elsa Eschelsson (first Swedish woman to earn a doctor in law); Elsa Lanchester (actress); Elsa Lunghini (French singer); Elsa Martinelli (Italian actress); Elsa Maxwell (gossip columnist); Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian fashion designer); Elsa Zylberstein (French actress)
Children of Famous People Named Elsa
Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Elsa - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Elsa.
Elsa - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures
Elsa - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Elsa.