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Gender: Female Meaning of Elaine: "bright, shining light" Origin of Elaine: Old French form of Helen Elaine's Popularity in 2017: #588

The name Elaine is a girl's name of French, Scottish origin meaning "bright, shining light". Elaine is ranked #588 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Names That Mean Hope and discussed in our forums with posts like "Middle name for a First name!".

From the experts:

This old Scottish form of Helen has had quite a history, going from appearing as one of the shining heroines of the Arthurian legends, the princess who fell in love with Sir Lancelot and became the mother of Sir Galahad, referred to as 'Elaine the fair' and 'Elaine the lovable', to being the name of the most famous of New York's celebrity restaurants, to being the archetypal New York neurotic on Seinfeld.

Elaine is a homophone for French Helene, just one of many names that a was imported to Scotland during the centuries that Scotland and France had a mutual enemy in England.

Elaine entered the Top 100 in the early 1920s, and remained there for close to forty years, peaking at Number 42. Now, after a long slump, we see signs of a possible rise along with all the other El-names. For parents looking for a more unusual name, try Yvaine.

Find other names based on Elaine using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Elaine

Elaine Hendrix, American actress
Elaine May, American director/actress
Elaine Yiu, Hong Kong actress
Elaine Paige (born Elaine Jill Bickerstaff), English singer and actress
Elaine Ingham, American microbiologist
Elaine Hamilton-O'Neal, American painter
Elaine Lobl (E.L.) Konigsburg, American children's novelist
Elaine Miles, American actress
Elaine Stritch, American actress and singer
Elaine de Kooning (born Elaine Marie Fried), American painter, wife of painter Willem de Kooning
Elaine Jin, Chinese actress
Elaine Youngs, American Olympic beach volleyball player
Elaine Tyler May, American historian and author

Pop Culture References for the name Elaine

Elaine Marie Benes, a main character on TV's "Seinfeld"'
Elaine of Astolat, Arthurian legendary figure
Elaine Jenkinson, from the British TV series "Broadchurch"
Lady Elaine, character in Barbara Cartland's book The Ruthless Rake
Elaine Austen, character in video game "Sims 3" Moonlight Bay
Elaine Robinson, character in book/movie "The Graduate"
"The Exploits of Elaine," 1914 film serial
"Elaine," song by ABBA
"Miss Elaine", song by Run–D.M.C.
Elaine Marley, main character in video game series Monkey Island
"Elaine," opera by Herman Bemberg
Elaine of Corbenic, legendary Arthurian figure
Elaine "Ellie," character in novel "Avalon High"
"Elaine's Big Day," episode of TV's 'New Girl'
Elaine Dickinson, character in the movie "Airplane!"
Elaine, character in the manga/anime "Seven Deadly Sins"

Elaine's International Variations

Elaina (French) Eline (Scandinavian) Elena (Italian)


Bobcat108 Says:


I wasn't a favorite of mine prior to Seinfeld as it was the name of a classmate, so it felt old to me, & the Seinfeld character completely killed it for me. There are other names in this family (Elena, Elen) that I do like & would use.

josephinedagnall Says:


I'd completely forgotten about that association! I'll never be able to look at this name in the same way now.

VelvetEar Says:


I would probably end up saying Eh-Lane or Uh-Lane unless told to pronounce it differently.

heatherelainediamond Says:


I'm torn about whether to use this name only because it doesn't seem to roll of the tongue very easily. It's my middle as a tribute to my great aunt and I love it for the way it looks, its meaning, its elegance. But, even having it my whole life and trying it lately for this upcoming feel awkward to say ... like two different words: Uh lane, EEE lane, uh LANE, Elle Lane...difficult to convey in writing, but would like other's opinions on pronunciation.

headintheclouds Says:


I really like the sound of Elaine. It's dainty and fairy princess-like due to the Arthurian legend association, yet also grounded and homespun. Plus I love the nickname Lainie for this. With the popularity of A-, E- initials and El- names for girls nowadays, Elaine IMO deserves more present usage. It is old-fashioned, but Elaine surely deserves to be among the ranks of other popular vintage-y choices like Hazel and Stella.
---> Maybe it's because this name is more associated with the boomer generation and hence doesn't pass the "hundred year naming rule" to sound fresh enough for current parents? (I kind of see this POV.) Or perhaps it's because parents nowadays prefer more elaborate girly variants like Elena/Elaina/Eleanora.

ThistleThorn Says:


I like this more than Alaina. I love the nicknames Ellie, Ella, and Lainey.

Daiseymae Says:


I actually like this name. It is my mother's middle name.

servals_ Says:


I like the name but it still reminds me of Elaine the Pain from Tracy Beaker. That probably wouldnt be a problem outside of the UK though.

Saffron_Rice Says:


It might have links to the Welsh Elain meaning "fawn" - that fits in with its use in Arthurian legend.

lainerector1 Says:


My name is Elaine and it reminds me of an old lady name or a horrible character from seinfeld. Luckily, it's easy to make nicknames out of. I go by Laine, but Lainey and Ella are other options.

ladybug99 Says:


Elaine will never shed it's Seinfeld stardom, for me. Whether that hinders or strengthens your opinion of it, depends on the person :)

The_Supernatural_Hufflepuff Says:


There is a flower shop in the town I live in called Elaine´s.

Eva Thyssen Says:


Very cute.