Gender: Female Meaning of Ellen: "bright, shining light" Origin of Ellen: English variation of Helen Ellen's Popularity in 2019: #797

Ellen Origin and Meaning

The name Ellen is a girl's name of English origin meaning "bright, shining light".

An Old English form of Helen, the sensitive but clear-eyed Ellen has swung in and out of style for centuries, often alternating with the parent name. Ellen was the more common in medieval England, until after the Renaissance, when Helen overtook her. In Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, set at the end of the nineteenth century, one character wonders why another has not changed her "ugly" given name to something prettier, like Elaine—a statement few would make today.

Ellen has been the name of two First Ladies—Arthur and Wilson—and is Scarlett O'Hara's mother in Gone with the Wind. These days, the ubiquitous Ellen DeGeneres has almost made it a single-owner name, though Ellen Page has been rejuvenating it of late.

16 names similar to Ellen

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Ellen. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Ellen, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

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


Rank in US: #797

- this week

Famous People Named Ellen

Pop Culture References for the name Ellen

Ellie, Elena, Elina, Elyn, Elene, Elen, Elea, Ellynne, Eleni, Ellon, Elenee, Elenyi, Elenita, Ellin, Elin, Ellyn,


Boba_Buddy_Le Says:


Ellen DeGeneres is a big negative association for me.

Jeff1980 Says:


The name Ellen reminds me of.... Ellen (first mentioned in November 9, 1990)[19] is a local woman whom Jon often tried to go out with. Originally, she was also an unseen character in the strip as well; most Ellen strips originally centered on Jon speaking to Ellen on the telephone, attempting to ask her out on a date. In a 2006 story, Ellen appeared in the strip after Jon convinced her to go on a date because she had amnesia and couldn't remember how much she despised him.[20] She was persuaded to go on a date with him, and on July 20, 2006, the strip finally showed her as a blonde woman with a striped dress.[20] From Wikipedia

♡ f a l l i n g ♡ Says:


I've done research on the etymology of Ellen, and I must say, I disagree with both you and Elne Clare. I think Ellen is a lovely name, and it can be derived from both the Middle English form of Helen and the archaic Middle English word elne.

abertawe Says:


If a name potentially being called ugly outrages and offends you, it might be a good idea to not peruse name sites. Opinions abound! 0.o

Frances Says:


I really like the nick name 'Nellie' or 'Nelle'

Ziggy2112 Says:


You need to work on your reading comprehension.

helen m Says:


Thank you for saying that .. Ellen is such an ugly name, I Knew it could not have been Greek...

Mikayla395 Says:


Ellen is lovely.

Bobcat108 Says:


I think you misread the Name Info: The authors are not saying that Ellen is an ugly name; they're paraphrasing what a character in a novel says:

"In Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, set at the end of the nineteenth century, one character wonders why another has not changed her "ugly" given name to something prettier, like Elaine—a statement few would make today."

The authors of this site also point out that few people today would make the statement that Ellen is an ugly name.

ellenspencerhall Says:


"ugly given name" excuse fucking me i am outraged. how dare you say that ellen is an ugly name. that is so offensive on so many levels.

Elne Clare Says:


My dad objected to naming me Ellen, due to this nickname. He lost the battle though and the only persons who were allow to call me Ellie were his mother and sister-in-law. Later due to y relationship with my grandmother, it became a term of endearment for me and I have allow sever dear friends and lovers to call Me Ellie. Now many people call me Elne.

Just never call me Helen. I always hated it when strangers would call me that and it really burned when one lady keep spelling it Helen in my music books back in 3th grade.

Elne Clare Says:


Ellen doesn't actually come from the Greek Helen, but is an Old English word and means strength, courage and sometimes in Old English zeal. If you have access to the Oxford English dictionary you can find it as Elne, which is the modern English spelling.

I discover this when I was 14 and looking for words that were derive from Elf and El, when I was interested in the elvish language of the Lord of The Rings, that J.R.R Tolkien developed. This was right after I also learned he had worked on the original edition of the OED. Elne is also a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.

I been using Elne Clare as my user name in several online games and forums online since 1996 and since name my Jewelry Business Elne Clare Designs.

cabosanmucus Says:


Honestly I like Ellen way more than Helen though Ellen is a midcentury name to me like Joanne or you know. But I think the Swedish Elin is absolutely striking and cool. And on an unrelated note, I love Belen (Belén).

Haids1987 Says:


Ann and Ellen sound like lovely little girls hosting a tea party. :) What a pretty combination.

EW314 Says:


I love Ellen - it's clear, bright, pretty and there's something no-nonsense about it. Elle would be a lovely nickname but honestly I don't think Ellen needs one.

Impwood Says:


I've always loved this name. I'm not so keen on Ellie; I think Ellen on its own is wonderful. I love the description of it as sensitive and clear-eyed; that is just how I see it.

lesliemarion Says:


I fell for this name unexpectedly. I think twins named Anne and Ellen would be wonderful. It is pleasant and sensible and the double l's are pleasing. And cheyenne is right - it looks lovely in cursive. :)

ThistleThorn Says:


I love Ellen DeGeneres and you could call her Ellie.

cheyenne_melody123 Says:


I actually love this name so much! I think it has a strong femininity and I think ti looks really pretty in cursive!