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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.

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Famous People Named Eleanor

(Anna) Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the US as wife of Franklin Roosevelt
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen consort of Louis VII of France, then Henry II of England
Eleanor Jean Parker, American actress
Eleanor Marie Robertson, birth name of Nora Roberts, American novelist
Ella Augusta "Eleanor" Norcross, American painter
Eleanor Emily Hodgman Porter, American novelist
Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Congressional delegate from D.C.
Eleanor Stackhouse Atkinson, American author
Eleanor K. Baum, American pioneering electrical engineer
Eleanor "Elle" Logan, American Olympic rower
Eleanor Audley, American actress
Eleanor May Tomlinson, English actress
Eleanor Jessie Coppola, American film director
Eleanor Key Francis "Glo" Helin, American astronomer
Eleanor Winifred Worthington-Cox, English actress

Pop Culture References for the Name Eleanor

Eleanor "Elle" Bishop, character on TV's "Heroes"
Eleanor "Nell" Potter, character on TV's "Smallville"
Eleanor Arroway, character in Carl Sagan's "Contact"
Eleanor "Ellie" Nash, character on TV's "Degrassi: The Next Generation"
Eleanor "Norrie" Calvert-Hill, character on TV's "Under the Dome"
Eleanor, character in video game "Rule of Rose"
Eleanor Lamb, character in video game "Bioshock 2"
Eleanor Douglas, character in "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell
"Eleanor Put Your Boots On," song by Franz Ferdinand
"Eleanor Rigby," song by The Beatles

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)