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)

 

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)

 

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

 

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)