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Gender: F Origin of Eleanor: English variation of French Provencal Alienor, meaning unknown Meaning of Helen: Greek, "bright, shining one" Eleanor's Popularity in 2013: #106

Popularity: this week.

Eleanor, a stately name that has been in and out of fashion since Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine brought it from France to England in the twelfth century, is hot again. Eleanor's straightforward feminine image combined with its royal medieval origins, is striking just the right note for parents in search of a girl's name that combines substance and style.

While some think Eleanor is a variation of Helen via Ellen, it actually derives from the Provencal for "other Aenor," used to distinguish the original Eleanor, who was named after her mother Aenor.

Big plus: Eleanor is a serious name, with two nicknames -- Ellie and Nell/Nellie -- that are seriously endearing. Diane Lane has an Eleanor, Katie Couric an Elinor, using the variant spelling. (Jane Austen used both versions--Eleanor in Northanger Abbey and Elinor in Sense and Sensibility.)

A notable namesake is First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Two other English queens bore the name: the wives of Henry III and Edward I.

Eleanora and Leonora are pretty, more feminine variations. Ellen and Lenore are shorter forms.

Famous People Named Eleanor

Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the US
Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages (Fr., married to British king, gave birth to Richard I)
Eleanor Parker, American actress
Eleanor "Nora" Robertson, American novelist
Eleanor Porter, American novelist
Eleanor Holmes Norton, American politician
Eleanor Stackhouse Atkinson, American author
Eleanor Logan, American rower
Eleanor Audley, American actress
Eleanor Tomlinson British actress
Eleanor Campbell, 13th Duchess of Argyll
Eleanor Jessie Coppola, American film maker
Eleanor Worthington-Cox, British Child Actress; youngest percipient of a Laurence Olivier Award

Pop Culture References for the Name Eleanor

Eleanor "Elle" Bishop, a character from the NBC television series "Heroes".
Eleanor Arroway, character from the novel 'Contact' by Carl Sagan
Eleanor Rigby - song by The Beatles
Elanor Gamgee - Samwise Gamgee's daughter from the 'Lord of the Rings' series
Eleanor "Ellie" Nash, character from Degrassi: The Next Generation
Eleanor "Norrie" Calvert-Hill, character from Under the Dome
Eleanor is the name of a character from the video game "Rule of Rose"
Eleanor Lamb is a character in the video game "Bioshock 2"
Eleanor, from the novel "Eleanor and Park."

Aleanor, Alenor, Aleonore, Aline, Allinor, Eileen, El, Elaine, Elan, Elana, Elanee, Elaney, Elani, Elania, Elanie, Elanna, Elanni, Elanor, Elanore, Ele, Elea, Eleanora, Elen, Elena, Eleni, Elenie, Elenor, Elenorah, Elenore, Eleny, Elianora, Elianore, Elie, Elienora, Elienore, Ell, Ella, Elladine, Elle, Elleanor, Ellee, Elleigh, Ellen, Ellene, Ellenor, Ellenora, Ellenorah, Ellenore, Elleonor, Elli, Ellie, Ellin, Elliner, Ellinor, Ellinore, Elly, Ellyn, Elna, Elnora, Elnore, Elyn, Elynor, Elynora, Elynore, Enora, Heleanor, Helen, Helena, Helene, Helenora, Heleonor, Leanora, Lena, Lenora, Lenore, Leonora, Leonore, Leora, Lina, Nelda, Nell, Nelle, Nelley, Nelli, Nellie, Nelly, Nonnie, Nora, Norah, Norina

Eleanor's International Variations

Élénora, Elinor, Eleanore, Elinore, Eléonore (French) Eilonóra, Ealanor (Gaelic) Eleonore (German) Eileanóra (Irish) Eleonora (Italian) Eleonora (Swedish)