Nora Name Meaning

Baby girl holding a toy

Kate_sept 2004 / Getty Images

What Does Nora Mean? 

Nora is a common name in several regions around the world. As a result, it has several meanings. In Ireland, Nora is derived from the name Honora, which is in turn derived from the Latin word for honor. In France, the name Nora comes from the name Eleanora, which means “light.”

The Arabic variation of the name Nora can be spelled Noora or Nura and also means “light.” Interestingly, there are also several towns in Australia, Sweden, and the United States named Nora. Sometimes, Nora is short for names like Eleanor and Eleanora, and other times it is used as a stand-alone name.

  • Origin: Nora is a popular name across the world and has several origins. It has been traced mainly to European roots. 
  • Gender: Nora is a typically feminine name but can be given to babies of any gender. 
  • Pronunciation: nor-rah

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 Nora? 

According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration, Nora is the 30th most popular name for girls in the United States. Many parents who named their babies Nora can trace the influence of their choice to the popularity of Nora Ephron, an American writer and filmmaker known for some Hollywood classics such as “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”

The name wasn’t very popular in the '90s but has witnessed a steady rise in popularity since 2001. Its popularity peaked in 2017, when 6,061 babies were given the name. Based on current trends, you can expect the name Nora to remain fairly popular in the years to come.  

Name Variations 

Nora has several name variations. If you are considering the name Nora for your baby but are looking for a fresh spin on the regular name, here are some other variations you could consider: 

  • Honoria (Roman)
  • Leanora (English)
  • Lenora (English)
  • Leonora (Italian)
  • Noor (Dutch)
  • Noortje (Dutch)
  • Norah (Irish, English)
  • Norene (English)
  • Norina (Italian)

Similar Names

If you’ve been considering the name Nora for your baby but aren’t quite sold on it yet, here are some names that have the same ring to them: 

  • Aurora
  • Cecilia
  • Clara
  • Cora
  • Dora
  • Eleanor 
  • Eloise
  • Stella
  • Viola

Common Nicknames

Nora is a short name made up of only two syllables. Most people see no need to form nicknames out of it and are content using the name as is. However, if you really like nicknames, you could use Nor, Nory, and Nono. 

Suggested Sibling Names 

Looking for a sibling name for Nora? Here are some popular options:

  • Aidan
  • Anna
  • Ava
  • Benjamin
  • Charlie 
  • Charlotte 
  • Ethan
  • Evelyn
  • Grace
  • Henry 
  • Mila 
  • Nolan 
  • Olivia

Famous People Named Nora    

If you’ve decided on giving your baby the name Nora, here are some of the most famous people also named Nora: 

  • Nora Berra, a French politician and physician
  • Nora Campos, an American politician 
  • Nora Ephron, an American journalist, writer, and filmmaker 
  • Norah Jones, an American singer 
  • Nora Lum, also known as Awkwafina, an American actress, comedian, and rapper 
  • Nora Miao, a Hong Kong actress 
  • Nora Nicholson, a British actress
  • Nora Perry, an American poet and writer
  • Nora Roberts, an American author who also writes under the alias J.D. Robb 
  • Nora Lawrence Smith, an American activist and newspaper publisher 
  • Nora Volkow, a Mexican-American psychiatrist and director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Nora is also a popular name chosen by authors, filmmakers, and creatives for characters in their works of fiction. Some common fictional characters named Nora that you may recognize include: 

  • Nora Allen, a character in "The Flash" comic books 
  • Nora Bing, a character in the popular sitcom "Friends" 
  • Nora Batty, a character in the British television series, "Last of the Summer Wine"
  • Nora Dershlit, a character in the American teen sitcom, "iCarly"
  • Nora Fries, also known as Mrs. Freeze, a fictional character in several DC Comics 
  • Nora Lewin, the main character in the American television series, "Law and Order"
  • Nora Walker, a character in the American television series "Brothers and Sisters" 

More Baby Names

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

Was this page helpful?
1 Source
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 baby names. Updated in 2021.