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Gender: F Meaning of Nell: "bright, shining one" Origin of Nell: English, diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al

Nell, once a nickname for Helen, Ellen, or Eleanor, is a sweet old-fashioned charmer that is fashionably used today in its own right. While Nell is perfectly in tune with contemporary vintage name style, it hasn't taken off the way some of its sisters have and so maintains an air of distinction. Use Nell or Nellie as a short for any name from Eleanor to Penelope or just name her Nell.

Nell was the pet name FDR called his wife Eleanor (along with Babs), the famous Little Nell in Dickens' Old Curiosity Shop was Elinor, and the infamous mistress of Charles II, Nell Gwynne, was born Eleanor as well.

Nell was the belle of the ball in the Gay Nineties, but has been off the charts since 1956. It's currently popular in France though, ranking at Number 144.

Jodie Foster played the title character of the 1994 movie Nell, and Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton named their daughter Nell, keeping the family tradition of names related to Helen.

Famous People Named Nell

Eleanor "Nell" Gwyn, English actress and mistress
Nell Burton, daughter of Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton
Nell Campbell, Australian actress and singer
Nell Carter, American singer and actress
Nell Hudson, British actress, appears in 'Outlander'
Nell Tiger Free, English actress and singer

Pop Culture References for the name Nell

Nell Trent aka Little Nell, main character in Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop
Nell Kellty, main character in movie "Nell"
Nell Bedworth, character in movie "It's a Boy Girl Thing"
Nell Jones, character on TV's "NCIS: Los Angeles"
Nell Turbody, character on TV's "Rescue Me"
Nellodee "Nell," character in Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age, or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer"
Nell McLaughlin, character in "My friend Flicka" by Mary O'Hara
Nell Fenwick, character in the "Dudley Do-Right" segments of animated series "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show"
Nell Mangel, character on Australian soap opera "Neighbours"

Nelli, Nelley, Nellie, Nelly, Nelma, Nella

Nell's International Variations

Neile, Nela, Neila, Nialla (Irish) Nelya (Russian)