Fourteen Shades of Elizabeth

The royal and biblical Elizabeth accounted for approximately a quarter of all girls’ names in early Britain, and when she emigrated to Colonial America, close to the same percentage of all girl babies were christened with that name— sometimes even more than one in a family. So it’s no wonder that numerous nicknames would pop up to distinguish among all the Elizabeths– several of which would go on to be used as independent names.
Of course Elizabeth itself is a wonderfully elegant classic, but here are some of the most appealing variations on the Elizabethan theme.


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Liza with a ‘Z,’ Ms. Minnelli protested when the name Lisa was all the rage. Mama Judy Garland named her for one of her favorite Gershwin songs. This shortened form of the already shortened form Eliza dates even further back than that—Somerset Maugham wrote a novel called Liza of Lambeth in 1897.

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