Elizabeth Name Meaning

Baby girl on a blanket.

Catherine Delahaye / Getty Images

What Does Elizabeth Mean?

The name Elizabeth is a biblical name of Hebrew origin. Its earliest origins can be traced back to the Old Testament of the Bible, where it was defined as “God is my oath” in Hebrew. The most popular reference to the name in the Bible is in the New Testament as the mother of John the Baptist.

In the Old Testament, Elizabeth appears in its Hebrew form Elisheva as the wife of Aaron, who is the brother of Moses. In the New Testament, it appears in the Greek form as Elisabet, who is the mother of John the Baptist.

According to the Bible, Mary, pregnant with Jesus, goes on a journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist at the time. When she hears Mary’s voice calling out a greeting to her, the baby leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

  • Origin: The name Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew words shava (oath) and el (God). It is found in the Old Testament, mentioned as the wife of Aaron. It is also found in the New Testament as the mother of John the Baptist.
  • Gender: Elizabeth is most often used as a girl name.
  • Pronunciation: uh-lih-zuh-beth

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 Elizabeth?

Elizabeth is a classic name that never seems to lose its appeal. It has been a popular name since the early 1900s, having been a top-30 baby name for girls in the U.S. throughout the past century. 

The name Elizabeth was extremely popular in the first part of the 1900s, holding a top 10 spot from 1900 to 1925. It only dropped to its lowest ranking of 26 around the late 1940s. It then steadily increased in popularity again until it made it back to the top 10 in the 1980s.

The 2021 statistics rank the name Elizabeth as the 14th most popular name for girls in America.

Its shortened form or variations can certainly be used however you see fit. Masculine variations are not common, but names such as Eli and Eliseo can have the same meaning.

Name Variations

As it is a biblical name, Elizabeth has an equivalent in many different languages:

  • Isabella (Italian)
  • Isobel (Scottish)
  • Isabel (Spanish)
  • Elisabeta (Romanian)
  • Elisabete (Portuguese)
  • Élisabeth (French)
  • Eliisabet (Estonian)
  • Elikapeka (Hawaiian)

Similar Names

  • Elsbeth
  • Bethany
  • Isabelle
  • Lisa
  • Elisa

Common Nicknames

Elizabeth allows for many nicknames that can suggest a variety of personalities: 

  • Bess
  • Bette
  • Betty
  • Betsey
  • Bessie
  • Betta
  • Eli
  • Ellie
  • Elsabet
  • Elise
  • Eliza
  • Elsa
  • Babette
  • Bettina
  • Lisbeth
  • Liz
  • Lizzie
  • Liza

Suggested Sibling Names

Other girl names from the Bible and from English royal tradition:

  • Miriam
  • Sarah
  • Hannah
  • Abigail
  • Leah
  • Rebecca
  • Mary
  • Martha
  • Victoria
  • Margaret
  • Catherine
  • Eleanor
  • Anne

Famous People Named Elizabeth

  • Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
  • Elizabeth Taylor, actress
  • Elizabeth Hurley, actress
  • Betty White, actress
  • Elizabeth Arden, makeup brand icon
  • Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross, maker of the first American flag
  • Betty Wright, R&B singer
  • Betty Friedan, feminist writer
  • Betty Carter, Jazz singer
  • Elizabeth Warren, politician
  • Bette Midler, singer and actress

Fictional Elizabeths

  • Elizabeth Bennett, fictional character from Pride and Prejudice
  • Elizabeth “Beth” March, fictional character from Little Women
  • Betty Rubble, fictional character from The Flintstones
  • Elizabeth "Betty" Cooper, fictional character from Archie comics

More Baby Names

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

1 Source
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  1. Social Security Administration. Popular baby names.

By Vicky Yip
Vicky is a freelance writer specializing on topics relating to prenatal care, motherhood, parenting, family, and home life. She is also a Senior Contributor for HoustonMoms (City Mom Collective).