Ella:Sympathy, compassion

Name Space

Ella is a short and flowy name with multiple known meanings, depending on which origin you consider. Some sources say the name comes from an old German word alia, meaning "all," or alja meaning "other," while others point to modern Hebrew, where Ella means "goddess," and also "terebinth tree." And Ella is a Spanish personal pronoun meaning "she" and "her." Ella is most commonly pronounced "el-luh."

Though sometimes used as a pet form of Ellen or a nickname for Eleanor, Elizabeth, Isabella, or even Gabriella, Ella has stood alone as a given name since the Dark Ages. At that point in time, Ella was actually a male name, borne by three different Anglo-Saxon kings, including King Aella of Northumbria.

In Greek mythology, Aella is the name of an Amazon daughter of Ares and Harmonia. So who was the first female Ella on record? Archival birth registries show one lone baby girl named Ella born in Nurnberg, Germany in 1497.

Aside from a drop in the seventies, eighties, and early nineties, Ella has been popular in the United States for the past hundred-plus years. Ella's popularity grew by 50 percent from year to year between 2001 and 2004, when the movie Ella Enchanted was released.

Ella is similar to other popular girl names ending in a, such as Emma, Sofia, Olivia, Ava, and Bella. Variations of Ella include Elah and Ela. Ella is also quite flexible and can be used in compound names like Ella-Mae, Ella- Marie, Ella-Rose, Ella-Grace, Ella-Rae, Ella-Louise, Ella-Jade, and Ella-Jane.

This short and sweet name easily translates between cultures, and has been embraced in numerous countries, including Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Australia, and Switzerland. And though it 's short, Ella lends itself to many endearing nicknames, including:

  • Ellie
  • Elle
  • Elly
  • Elsie

Ella's flexibility and melodic, vowel-heavy sound make it a winner for parents looking for a name that 's simple and elegant.

The Five Elements:
Also Spelled Like...:
Ela Elle
Famous Ella:

Aella of Northumbria : King of medieval English kingdom of Northumbria, appears in Geoffrey Chaucer 's The Man of Law's Tale

Ella Wheeler Wilcox : Late nineteenth century American poet and author, wrote "laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone"

Ella Josephine Baker : Civil rights activist who worked alongside W.E.B. DuBois and Martin Luther King

Ella Fitzgerald : Renown American jazz singer, won 14 Grammy Awards

Ella Mae Morse : 1940s jazz, blues, and country singer, considered the first rock-and-roll singer

Ella M.S. Marble : Doctor of medicine, suffragette, early 20th century women 's rights activist

Ella Young : Irish/American poet and teacher of Celtic mythology, detained at Ellis Island in 1925 for believing in fairies

Ella Havelka : First indigenous ballet dancer to be a member of the Australian Ballet

Ella Rose Emhof : stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, member of the U.S. second family

Ella Fitzgerald : musician

Ella Bloor : published author

Ella Cummins : published author

Ella D'Arcy : writer

Ella Deloria : published author

Ella Gardner : writer

Ella Hooper : musician

Ella Pell : painter

Ella Raines : actress

Ella Simon : published author

Ella Wilcox : poet

Ella Wood : artist

Ella Young : writer