Eli Name Meaning

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Eli is a Hebrew name that means “high” or “elevated.” It could also mean “my God” when it’s a derivation of other biblical names such as Elijah, Eliezer, and Elisha.

It was popularized in the United States in the 17th century by the Puritans. Eli was the name of a high priest in the bible. He served as a spiritual guide and trainer to a young prophet Samuel. Samuel was the son of Hannah, a woman who had been unable to have a child for several years.

When Hannah gave birth, she handed over her son Samuel to Eli to be raised in service to God out of gratitude. Eli is most commonly remembered for the misdeeds of his sons and the curse he and his descendants had to live with, which was to die before reaching old age. 

  • Origin: Eli is a name of Hebrew origin.
  • Gender: Eli is typically a name given to boys.
  • Pronunciation: Ee-ly

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular Is the Name Eli? 

Eli has risen and fallen in popularity a couple of times over the last century. It was quite popular in the 1880s when it ranked in the top 200 most popular names for boys. Its popularity saw a decline at the end of the 19th century but increased into the 20th century.

In the early '70s, the name witnessed another rise in popularity. In the year 1976, it ranked in the top 400 list of the most popular names for boys in the United States. Its popularity has grown and continues to grow since then.

Since 2008, it has ranked as one of the top 100 most popular names for boys in the United States. It achieved peak popularity in the year 2013 when almost 8000 babies were named Eli. According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration, Eli is the 60th most popular name for boys. The name has seen a slight dip in popularity, but it still remains a popular name for boys.

Name Variations 

There aren’t many variations for the name Eli as it’s made up of only three letters and two syllables. Some other common variations include Heli which is of Latin origin, Eeli which is Finnish, and Ely which is English. 

Similar Names

If you like the name Eli, here are some other names you might want to consider that have a similar feel: 

  • Asher 
  • Benjamin
  • Caleb
  • Elias
  • Elliot 
  • Ezra
  • Isaiah 
  • Jonah
  • Luke
  • Micah 
  • Owen
  • Samuel 

Suggested Sibling Names 

If you are thinking of naming your baby Eli, here are some sibling names that would pair excellently with the name: 

  • Abigail 
  • Ava
  • Caleb 
  • Emily 
  • Ezra
  • Isabella 
  • Issac
  • Isaiah 
  • Jacob
  • Liam 
  • Lily 
  • Luke 
  • Olivia 
  • Owen 
  • Sophia 

Famous People Named Eli    

Here are some biblical figures and other famous people your baby would share a name with: 

  • Eli Bebout, Wyoming politician 
  • Eli Broad, American billionaire and philanthropist 
  • Eli C. D. Shortridge, third governor of North Dakota 
  • Eli Langer, Canadian artist 
  • Eli Manning, American football player and two-time Superbowl MVP 
  • Eli Roth, American film director and producer 
  • Eli Thayer, member of the United States House of Representatives from 1857 to 1861 
  • Eli Todd Tappan, American educator, and author 
  • Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin 

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options: 

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popular names of the period 1880s.

  2. Social Security Administration. Popularity of names.

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.