The Name Ella Origins and Popularity

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Ella is a girls' name with a long history, dating back to ancient Greece, that has enjoyed renewed popularity in the 21st century. The name was introduced to England during the Norman Conquest and has several different root meanings. In German, it's an adaptation of the name Alia, which means "other." In English, Ella means "fairy woman" or "light," and in modern Hebrew, Ella means "goddess." Whatever the language, Ella has a fine history to inspire parents seeking a name for their baby girl.

Ella's Popularity Is on the Rise

Her presence among the Social Security Administration's database of most popular baby names hasn't been constant over the past century, but in 2005, Ella capped a sudden rise by cracking the top 25. She hasn't cracked the top 10 yet but hit No. 17 in 2014. 

Globally, Ella is similarly popular in several other countries, including England/Wales, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, and Scotland.

Because Ella has fluctuated greatly in popularity, it does not appear on the Top 100 Names of the Past Century

Her resurgence seems to have coincided with the release of the 2004 film starring Anne Hathaway. The movie, based on the 1997 novel of the same name, is a retelling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella.

Middle Names and Nicknames

Elle, El, and Ellie are all common nicknames for the name Ella. Since the name ends in an "A," it's probably advisable to choose a middle name that starts with a consonant. And since it has an old-fashioned sound, classic names are likely to match best with Ella. Some suggestions include Ella Marie, Ella Rose, Ella Mae, or Ella Catherine.

Sibling Name Suggestions

Since Ella starts with an "E," parents may want to continue the pattern with Ethan or Evan for a brother, and Emma or Emily for a sister. To keep with the old-names-that-are-newly-popular trend, parents may choose names like Ava, Sophia or Olivia for Ella's sister, or Noah, Jacob or Daniel for a brother.

Famous Women

The most famous Ella is undoubtedly the late jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, nicknamed the First Lady of Jazz. After a difficult childhood, Fitzgerald rose to the pinnacle of the music world, winning 13 Grammy Awards over the course of her career. She partnered with trumpeter Louis Armstrong on such jazz classics as "Our Love is Here to Stay" and was known for her scatting, be-bop style of singing. 

Celebrity Babies

  • Ella Sofia Gordon (2010), daughter of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon
  • Ella Mae Clapton (2003), daughter of musician Eric Clapton
  • Ella Rae Walberg (2003), daughter of musician and actor Mark Wahlberg
  • Ella Olivia Stiller (2002), daughter of actors Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor
  • Ella Bleu Travolta (2000), daughter of actor John Travolta.
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