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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Although it has had to struggle against its somewhat bovine image, Bessie was once seen as quite glamorous: there were silent screen beauties named Bessie, such as Bessie Love (shown). A worthy namesake is the iconic blues singer, Bessie Smith. Bessie could possibly make a comeback à la Hattie and Sadie .

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23 Responses to “Fourteen Shades of Elizabeth”

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greenkoko Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 1:22 am

I love the name Bessie! It’s gorgeous!

Spunkiedoodle Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 1:25 am

Even more options: Elisabeth, Elise, Ella, Elle, Ellie, and Ebby.

Whirligig Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 1:49 am

I think somebody said this a few weeks ago but would it be possible to have them all in a list on 1 page because my computer won’t let me view them like this.
SAB whirligig

Mara_lyn86 Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 2:10 am

I love the name Elizabeth, and almost all of the variants. My favorite right now is Betsy, it is so cute.

I agree with the above. It can get tiring looking through the fourteen pages, especially if you have a slow connection.

Darci Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 2:27 am

I’ve long loved Betsy, although my current favorite form of Elizabeth is Beth.

svea Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 3:28 am

Great blog! I loved so many names:)

elnombr Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 5:12 am

My best friend is “Liza with a z” pronounced Lisa. It’s refreshing on the Lisa, imo. I also think Lilly is a cute nickname for Elizabeth as well as Elle/Ellie/Nelle, Nelly and a friend of the family, EBee, a possible alternative to Evie

aunt_ning Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 7:00 am

Elizabeth is one of my all time favorite names. I think partly because of it being used for a little girl in one of the Anne of Green Gables books, the little girl named Elizabeth went by a different nick name depending on how she was feeling that day, and I always loved that!

Maple10 Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 9:09 am

Elizabeth is my middle. I wanted to be called Ellie as a teen-ager, but i felt like my first name was pretty much stuck at that point (for better or worse). I love Bess, Libby, Bette, Eliza. Hate Beth. I would love to see a post about other versatile names like Margaret perhaps.

stairwaytoastar Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 9:18 am

This is one of the reasons why I LOVE Elizabeth so much. It is just so versatile and the ultimate classic name, with so many famous bearers over the centuries, and each one is a completely different type of girl/woman! If I ever have my own daughter named Elizabeth, I would try to always call her by her full name, however, as it is just so beautiful spoken aloud. But the nicknames I especially like from your list are Lizzie, Eliza, Bessie and Elsie. Thanks for the highlight of one of my favorite names! Keep it classic and pick a name like Elizabeth for your child!!

stairwaytoastar Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 9:35 am

Also, forgot to say — you didn’t mention the greatest literary Elizabeth – Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, who was Elizabeth most of the time, but Eliza in society, and, to those who loved her most, Lizzie. 😀

southern.maple Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 10:21 am

Elisabeth is one of my favorites for a girl. Betsy, Bessie, and Essie are my favorite nicknames for the name.

saraallison Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 10:45 am

@stairwaytoastar: I was also going to mention my dear Miss Eliza Bennet! She is my fav Elizabeth of all time. I love Elizabeth so much…if we ever have another bebe, I may just use it for a fn. Lizzie and Eliza are my fav nns for it, a la Elizabeth Bennet, but I love the whole name so very much!! Ps I didn’t know the queen was nn’d Lilibet…thats really cute since its based on her own childish misprn. 🙂

blueberry1215 Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 11:46 am

I went through these hoping to find a Lulu, but was disappointed. My younger sister is named Elizabeth, and we’ve been calling her Lulu as long as I can remember.
My favorites of these have to be Lillibet and Beth, other than Lulu, of course.

Poppy528 Says:

August 4th, 2012 at 12:55 am

No love for Tibby? I had a friend in school named Tybie, just Tybie. Not sure how Elizabeth morphs into it (like Sookie from Susan?) but I still have a fondness for it.

Betsy is just so stinkin cute, it’s my fave from the list.

Worchazer Says:

August 4th, 2012 at 7:51 am

What about Bethyn, Bethy, Ela with only one l and the Gothic sounding Lilith?

I also go with the request for a list on page 1 as I use my laptop on zoom, which causes the slides to jump around when I select ‘next’.

samjaymc Says:

August 4th, 2012 at 8:23 am

My favourites are Eliza (my favourite name EVER!) Lilibet and Liza!

PinkPenguin87 Says:

August 4th, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I’m very disappionted that my own short form of Elizabeth, Ellie, wasn’t mentioned!!

elizam9983 Says:

August 4th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

My name is Elizabeth. I love it. There are so many more nicknames than what is listed. My one Dad’s friend calls me Elesbee. It’s cute. I go by Liz, Lizzy, Lizzi, Eliza and Lisa and at work and my family I go by full name it is so beautiful after all. Elizabeth. and it is easy actually is easy to spell for a 9 letter long name. It is going to be my daughter’s middle name.

Cjrathbun Says:

August 5th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I met an Elizabeth who went by the nickname Biz. I thought it was so cool and spunky sounding, which matched her personality really well. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I thought it was a great name!

Whitley Says:

September 21st, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I love the nicknames Liz/Lizzie, Betty, and Bess.
All of the Elizabeth/Elisabeth-s I know go by their full name, but one is sometimes called Izzy.

Vickster Says:

February 25th, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I love Lizzy the way Elizabeth Bennet spells it. If I ever have a daughter that’s what I want to call her.

Mutant11 Says:

March 26th, 2013 at 10:50 am

Elizabeth is such a golden opportunity for nicknames that make my head spin! I’m quite fond of Eliza, and Libby/Liddy… more on the side of Liddy than Libby, for whatever reason it feels more mature to me. I like Betty’s vintage flair, as well as Bette’s, and Betsy has become more appealing, too.

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