"noble maiden"

Ethel Origin and Meaning

The name Ethel is a girl's name of English origin meaning "noble maiden".
Ethel is a name we once declared as 'So Far Out They'll Probably Always Be Out,' but with the return of other names on that list and with its new starbaby cred via Lily Allen, its soft sound and admirable meaning, we're not so sure.

At the turn of the last century, when Ethel Barrymore was the belle of Broadway, her first name was wildly popular, a Top 10 name for sixteen years and in the Top 100 until 1939. Other well-known bearers have been musical stars Ethel Merman and Ethel Waters and Robert Kennedy's widow. Not so distinguished: Ethel Mertz on "I Love Lucy".

Ethel fell away from such Old English appellations as Ethelberta, Ethelreda and Ethelinda. Now THOSE, we think we can safely say, are so far out they'll always be out.
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Ethel Rank in US Top 1000

Ethel Popularity

20 Names Similar to Ethel

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Famous People Named Ethel

  • Ethel Barrymore (born Ethel Mae Blythe)American actress
  • Ethel ClaytonAmerican silent film actress
  • Ethel May DellEnglish romance novelist
  • Ethel Carow Roosevelt Derbydaughter of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
  • Ethel Merman (born Ethel Agnes Zimmerman)American singer and actress
  • Ethel TurnerAustralian novelist
  • Ethel Mary SmythEnglish composer and feminist
  • Ethel Skakel Kennedywidow of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy
  • Ethel WatersAmerican jazz singer and actress
  • Ethel Elizabeth GeeEnglish spy
  • Ethel Greenglass RosenbergAmerican spy
  • Ethel Lilian VoynichIrish novelist
  • Ethel ShannonAmerican silent film actress
  • Ethel Kremer SchwabacherAmerican painter
  • Ethel L. PayneAmerican journalist
  • Ethel HaysAmerican cartoonist
  • Ethel Hannah CatherwoodCanadian Olympic athlete
  • Ethel AzamaAmerican jazz singer
  • Ethel AylerAmerican actress
  • Ethel Percy AndrusAmerican educator and founder of AARP
  • Ethel Mary Cooper (b. 2011)daughter of singer Lily Allen

Ethel in Pop Culture

  • Ethel Andersoncharacter on TV's "Brickleberry"
  • Ethel Parkscharacter on TV's "Downton Abbey"
  • Ethel Mertzcharacter on TV's "I Love Lucy"
  • Ethel May Skinnercharacter on British soap "EastEnders"
  • Ethel Hallowcharacter in "The Worst Witch" series
  • Big Ethelcharacter in Archie Comics
  • Ethel Darlingcharacter in "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
  • Ethel Thayercharacter in Ernest Thompson's "On Golden Pond"
  • Ethel Eldoncharacter in Mildred Keith series
  • Short for EthelindaEthelberta, Ethelgoda, Etheldred, Ethelwynn, etc.
  • Ethel Hardycharacter in G. A. Henty's "Out on the Pampas"
  • Ethel Toffelmeyercharacter in "The Music Man"
  • Ethel Gracklecharacter in "Strange Hill High"

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