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What does Ethel mean?

Ethel Pronunciation of Ethel 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.


ASSOCIATED WITH old english, noble, old, novel (literary)


VARIANTS Atal, Ehtel, Etel, Etelka, Eth, Etha, Ethelda, Etheleen, Ethelene, Ethelin, Ethelinda, Etheline, Ethelyn, Ethelynne, Ethill, Ethille, Ethlin, Ethlyn, Ethlynn, Ethyl, Ethyll

(female) Ethea, ..

(male) Ethed, ..

Ethel Kingsley (E.K.), ..

How popular is Ethel?

Ethel is a very prominent first name for females (#125 out of 4276, Top 3%) but an uncommon surname for all people. (2000 U.S. CENSUS)

Ethel reached its top rank of #8 in the U.S. during the years 1890-1899, but is not ranked currently. (2018 BIRTH STATISTICS)

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Ethel name in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Ethel outside U.S.

Which version is better?

Prominent variation forms of Ethel ranked in the Top 2000 are Etha, Ethelda, Etheleen, Ethelene, Ethelyn, Ethlyn and Ethyl. Adoption of these forms of Ethel was at its highest in the 1890s (AVERAGE #1221), but now, forms such as Ethelyn have gone out of style.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Ethel, Etha, Ethelda, Etheleen, Ethelene in U.S.

Top 2000 baby names ranking of Ethelyn, Ethlyn, Ethyl in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Ethel and related baby names outside U.S.

Similar Names

Recommended sound-alike names are Bethel, Chel, Elthea, Erthel (see Eartha), Estel, Esther, Ethna, Ethnea, Ethnee, Ethni, Ettey, Itzel and Rahel. These names tend to be less frequently used than Ethel.

See names
in meaning and etymology.