Meaning and Name Origin
Ethel \e-thel\ as a girls' name is pronounced ETH-el. It is of Old English origin, and the meaning of Ethel is "noble". Short form of old names containing ethel like Etheldreda. First used as an independent name in the 1840s, and made somewhat popular then by a character named Ethel in Thackeray's novel "The Newcomes" (1855). Actresses Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Merman.
Ethel▼ has 21 variants: Atal, Ehtel, Etel, Etelka, Eth, Etha▼, Ethelda, Etheleen, Ethelene, Ethelin, Ethelinda, Etheline, Ethelyn▼, Ethelynne, Ethill, Ethille, Ethlin, Ethlyn, Ethlynn, Ethyl▼ and Ethyll.
Ethel▼ has 1 more different form via Etheldreda: Dreda.
Ethel is a very prominent first name for females (#125 out of 4276, Top 3%) and a slightly less prominent surname for all people (#85367 out of 88799, Top 96%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Shown below is the birth name popularity of Ethel for girls. Ethel reached its top rank of #8 in the U.S. during the years 1890-1899, but is not ranked currently. (2014 Birth Statistics)
Shown below is a comparison of the popularity of the girl name Ethel and affiliated names. Prominent variation forms of Ethel ranked in the Top 1000 are Ethyl, Ethelyn, Ethelene and Etha. Usage of these girl names was at its highest during the years 1880-1889 and has become significantly less since, with the forms Ethyl, Ethelyn, Ethel and Etha becoming less in vogue. (2014 Birth Statistics)
A recommended similar baby name is Erthel. This name tends to be less frequently used than Ethel.