Ella

Ella comes from Germanic element alja meaning “other, another, foreign” and from which the name Eleanor/Alianor comes from. Ella could also be a nickname for names beginning and ending with ella such as Gabriella (feminine form of Gabriel meaning “God is my strong man” or “God is my strength”) and Daniella (feminine form of Daniel meaning “God is my judge”), Elizabeth (meaning “God is an oath” or “my God is abundance”) and Eleanor, which comes from Old French form of Occitan name Aliénor which could mean “the other Aenor” from Latin alia meaning “another” and the given name Aenor, possibly a Germanic name of unknown meaning, though it’s been linked to Adenorde or Adenor, made up of Germanic elements adal (noble) and nord (north), or even as a contracted form of Azenor, a Breton name of uncertain meaning and etymology though it could also be derived from Breton enor “honor”. Another possible origin of Eleanor is that it originated from the name Helen, an Ancient Greek name of uncertain etymology though it’s been linked to Greek helene meaning “torch” or “corposant”, though it might also be linked to selene meaning “moon ”. Ella is also the Spanish and Italian word for “she”.

Origin: Ancient Germanic, Hebrew, Latin, Ancient Greek

Variants:

  • Alia (Ancient Germanic)

 

Elder

Elder is a Portuguese male name, a variant of Hélder which either derives its name from a Dutch town called Den Helder possibly meaning “hell’s door” in Dutch, or “hill/hilly grounds”, or it could be a derived from Germanic given name Hulderic meaning “merciful ruler” or “graceful ruler” from Germanic elements hulda (merciful, graceful) and ric (power, rule). Elder is also a surname, originally used to differentiate between two men with the same name (like a father and son) and Elder would refer to the oldest (or senior). As an English word it’s used to refer to someone who is older or who had a higher rank.

Elder also refers to a type of tree as well as a flower deriving from Old English ellærn meaning “elderberry tree”. The elder tree is often depicted in folklore, associated with magic and witchcraft. One such folklore is that if a person cut down an elder tree without permission of the Elder-Mother than it would take revenge upon that person, and that witches tend to congregate under an elder tree.

Origin: Dutch, Germanic, Old English

Male forms:

  • Hélder (Portuguese)
  • Helder (Portuguese)

 

Female forms:

  • Eldra (English)

 

Emmeline

Emmeline is an Old French form of Germanic name Amalia, derived from Germanic word amal meaning “work” in reference to the idea of industriousness and fertility.

Origin: Germanic

Variants:

  • Emmaline (English)
  • Emmalyn (English)
  • Emmelyn (English)
  • Emelina (Spanish)
  • Amelina (Ancient Germanic)
  • Amalia (German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Romanian)
  • Amelia (English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Dutch, German)
  • Émeline (French)

 

Ellison

Ellison comes from a patrynomic surname meaning “son of Ellis”, Ellis being a medieval form of Elijah, a Hebrew male name meaning “my God is Yahweh”. Ellison may also be a variant form of Elisedd, a Welsh male given name meaning “kind, benevolent” from Welsh elus. Ellison seems to be very popular as a girl’s name.

Origin: Hebrew, Welsh

Variants:

  • Ellis (English)
  • Elisedd (Welsh)

 

Esmeralda

Esmeralda is the Spanish and Portuguese word for “emerald”, also used as a given name. It comes from Old French esmeraude via Vulgar Latin (which is the common speech of Latin including different dialects) esmeralda, esmeraldus which comes from Ancient Greek smaragdos meaning “green gem”. That itself could come from a Semitic source such as Hebrew baraket or bareqeth meaning “emerald, shine” or Arabic barq “lightning”.

Origin: Hebrew, Arabic

Variants:

  • Esmeraude (Old French)
  • Emeraude (French)
  • Émeraude (French)
  • Emerald (English)

 

Erin

Erin is the Anglicized form of Éireann (from which the name of Ireland comes from) derived from Gaelic Éire which comes from Old Irish Ériu meaning “fertile” or “fat, rich” likely in reference to the land, so connoting the idea of “abundant land” or “fat land”, from Proto-Celtic *Φīwerjon, derived from Proto-Indo-European *piHwerjon from *piHwer meaning “fat”.

Though Erin seems to be very popular for girls, it has been used as a boy’s name as well, making it a unisex name.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

Variants:

  • Eryn (English)
  • Eireann (Irish, English)
  • Éireann (Irish)
  • Ériu (Irish)
  • Arin (English)
  • Ireland

 

Eliot

Eliot comes from an English surname, originally used as a medieval pet-form of Elias, a cognate of Elijah, a Hebrew male name meaning “my God is Yahweh” or “Yahweh is my God”.

However, Elliott as a surname might come from an entirely different source: it could be derived from a Middle English male personal name, Athelgeat, meaning “noble Geat”, composed from Middle English athel (noble) and Geat, the name of a North Germanic tribe in southern Sweden. It might also be from Athelgyth, a Middle English female name meaning “noble battle” from Middle English athel (noble) and gyð (war, battle), or from Aelfweald meaning “elf ruler”. It might also be an Anglicized form of Gaelic eileach meaning “dam, mound, bank”.

I listed Eliot as a unisex name- some people might disagree with that and argue it’s a boy’s name and I’m not going to argue against that. But as a fan of the tv show Scrubs, I guess I’ve been able to see it as both.

Origin: Hebrew, Middle English

Variants:

  • Elliott (English)
  • Elliot (English)
  • Eliott (English)
  • Elyot (English)
  • Eliette

 

Etain

Etain is the Anglicized form of Étaín, an Irish female name. It seems likely it derives from Old Irish ét meaning “jealousy, passion, zeal”. In Irish mythology, Étaín is the lover of Midir, the son of the Dagda, but she was turned into a water, a worm, and a butterfly (or a fly in some versions) by his jealous wife Fuamnach. Étaín has also been associated as being a sun and horse goddess.

It can be pronounced as e-tane or ay-teen (I prefer the former).

Origin: Irish

Variants:

  • Étaín (Irish)
  • Etaoin (Modern Irish)
  • Éadaoin (Modern Irish)
  • Édaín (Irish)
  • Eadan (Modern Irish)
  • Edana (Latin)
  • Aideen (English, Irish)

 

Echo

Echo comes from Greek ekhe meaning “sound”. This was the name of a nymph in Greek mythology who loved talking and often used her loquaciousness to distract Hera when Zeus was off on one of his affairs. When Hera found out, she cursed Echo so that she could only repeat the last thing someone else said. Echo also fell in love with the youth Narcissus but because she couldn’t speak to him, he spurned her advances and she wasted away to nothing because of her unrequited love.

Echo is also a word in English derived from the same source above, used to refer to a sound made by an echo, which is why I decided to list it as a unisex name.

Origin: Greek

Evelyn

Evelyn comes from an English surname, derived from given name Aveline, the Norman French form of Germanic name Avelina, a diminutive of Avila from Germanic element avi of unknown meaning though possibly meaning “desired”.

Evelyn was a very popular name for boys in the past though it is now currently more popular for girls.

Nicknames: Eve, Evie, Lyn, Lynnie

Origin: Ancient Germanic

Variants:

  • Evaline (English)
  • Evalyn (English)
  • Eveline (English, French, Dutch)
  • Eveleen (English)
  • Aveline (English)
  • Evelina (English, Italian, Swedish)
  • Avila (Ancient Germanic)