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

Popularity: this week.

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.

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Famous People Named Nell

Nell Gwyn, 17th century longtime mistress of King Charles II of England, bore him two sons
Nell Burton, daughter of Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton
Nell Campbell, Australian actress and singer, most famous for playing Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Pop Culture References for the Name Nell

Nell (1994) - movie starring Jodie Foster.
Nell Bedworth, from movie "It's a Boy Girl Thing"
Nell- character on NCIS: Los Angeles.
Nell Turbody, character from TV series "Rescue Me"
Little Nell- main character of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop
Nell, heroine of 1995 Neal Stephenson sci-fi novel The Diamond Age, or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
Nell McLaughlin, character from My friend Flicka, by Mary O'Hara

Nella, Nelley, Nelli, Nellie, Nelly, Nelma

Nell's International Variations

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