Nora is often thought of as an Irish name, but it's a common name in various parts of the world and has a long history, as well as a few different meanings and spellings.
In Europe, Nora emerged as a shorter version of Honora, which comes from the Latin word "honor." Nora is also short for Eleanora, a Greek name meaning "light."
In Hebrew, Nora is spelled Norah, which means "light." Arabic variations of the name are often spelled Noora, Nura, Noor, Nour, or Nur, which also means "light" or "the divine light."
Nora is a beloved stand-alone name, but it can also be used as a nickname for Eleanor or Eleanora. Nora is pronounced "nor-rah" and spellings include Nora, Norah, Noora and Nura. It is most commonly used a girls' name but can be used for babies of any gender. (And the names Noor, Nour, and Nur are gender-neutral.)
Nora is a beautiful and classic name that has an elegant ring to it but is simple to spell and say. And Nora isn't just for babies. In fact, many towns in Australia, Sweden, and the United States are named Nora. The Nora Stone, which was discovered in Sardinia, is an ancient Phoenician relic found in a pre-Roman town called Nora.
If you like the sound of the name Nora, but want to use it as a nickname for a longer name, you have lots of options, including Lenora, Noreen, Eleanora, Sonora, Honoria, and Norina. And while the short and sweet Nora doesn't lend itself well to nicknames, you could try out Nor, Nory, Nono, or Rah.
In the United States, Nora was more widely used in the 19th century and experienced a decline from the late 1800s to 2000. But the name has reemerged over the past twenty years, climbing from number 502 on the Social Security Administration's list of top baby girl names in the year 2000 to number 30 in 2020.
Nora's revival may be due to the popularity of singer Norah Jones, actress Nora Lum (known professionally as Awkwafina), and director Nora Ephron, who passed away in 2012.
For such a storied name, Nora feels unpretentious and authentic, making it quite the "honorable" choice for parents looking for an elegant baby name.
Nora Ephron : American filmmaker, director, and writer known for her romantic comedies When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle
Nora McInerny : American author, speaker, and podcast creator
Nora Berra : French politician and physician
Nora Roberts : American romance novelist
Nora Georgine : Princess of Lichtenstein
Nora Campos : American politician from California
Norah Jones : American singer, songwriter, and pianist
Nora Lum : American actress and rapper known professionally as Awkwafina
Nora Miao : Hong Kong film actress
Nora Nicholson : British actress
Nora Perry : American poet, newspaper correspondent, and writer
Nora Lawrence Smith : American newspaper publisher and activist
Nora Volkow : Mexican-American psychiatrist and director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Nora Baring : actress
Nora Balling : model
Nora Bayes : singer
Nora Denney : actress
Nora Lange : author
Nora Jane Noone : actress
Nora Roberts : author
Nora Tschirner : actress
Nora Zehetner : actress