Eleanor is a girl's name of Old French origin that was widely embraced by English aristocrats as early as the 12th century. It has since become associated with enduring character and has been embraced for its refreshing wholesomeness. Pronounced el-uh-nor or eh-la-nohr, this vintage name has only one drawback: It has no 100-percent-verifiable meaning.
It does, however, have a rich history. Often presumed to be a variation of Helen (a Greek name meaning "light"), Eleanor is more likely an English variation on the Old French name Alienor. The first Eleanor was Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine, wife to King Louis VII and Henry II.
Queen Eleanor 's mother, Aenor, named her daughter after herself, and added the extra element to the name to identify her as "the other Aenor." The problem with this story is the lack of verified origin and meaning for Aenor, making great guesswork of finding an agreed-upon meaning for Eleanor.
Baby name experts often resort to the Helen connection, and deem Eleanor to mean " light." A similar meaning derives from the Quran and the Arabic roots el nour – meaning "radiance" and "light."
Eleanor isn't just vintage, it 's medieval. Powerful and savvy Eleanors abound through history, including the rich and beautiful Eleanor of Acquitaine and Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most-liked and formidable first ladies in U.S. history.
What brought Eleanor back isn't clear – but it could be that parents appreciate its links to strong women. Also, it has a plethora of appealing variations (Eleanore, Eleanora, Elinore, Elinor, Elanor, Elenora, Elnora, Ellenore) and nicknames (Ellie, Ella, Elea, Elle, Leonora, Lenore, Lenora, Norah, Nora, Noreen, Nell, and Nelly), which make this classic name both versatile and evergreen.
Feminine but not frilly, Eleanor is a great name for your future leader.
Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine : Queen of France, Queen of England, and Duchess of Aquitaine
Queen Eleanor of Provence : French noblewoman, wife of King Henry III
Queen Eleanor of Castile : Daughter of Eleanor of Acquitaine
Elleanor Eldridge : Black/Native American memoirist and entrepreneur, wrote Memoirs of Elleanor Eldridge
Eleanor Roosevelt : Former First Lady of the United States, chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission
Eleanor (Nell) Gwynn : British actress, longtime mistress to King Charles II
Elinor Glynn : British novelist and Hollywood screenwriter
Eleanor Farjean : Poet, author of the hymn "Morning has Broken"
Eleanor (Nora) Roberts : American novelist
Eleanor Holmes Norton : Washington D.C. legislator, delegate to the United States House of Representatives for the District of Columbia
Elinor Smith : Youngest licensed pilot in the world in the early 1900s, at age 16
Eleanor Abrams : artist
Eleanor Atkinson : writer
Eleanor Boylan : writer
Eleanor Brass : writer
Eleanor Bron : actress
Eleanor Clark : writer
Eleanor Clift : journalist
Eleanor Dark : writer
Eleanor Estes : writer
Eleanor Gates : writer
Eleanor Johnson : published author
Eleanor Lay : published author
Eleanor Powell : actress
Eleanor Roosevelt : First Lady
Eleanor Smeal : activist
Eleanor Taylor : published author