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{{name info | origin = Greek | name = Ellen | pronunciation = EL-en, EL-lun, ELL-en | meaning = light, torch, bright | Rank2000s = 504 | nicknames = Nell | Related Names = Elen, Elin, Elleen, Ellena, Ellene, Ellyn, Elynn, Eleanor, Elle, Helen | gender = female

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The name Ellen ultimately derives from the Greek “ele” meaning “light,” “torch” or “bright.” However, the name came about as a shortened or pet version of the names Helen or Eleanor. In modern times, Ellen is utilized as a given first name in its own right.


According to the 1990 United States Census [1], Ellen ranked as the 126th most popular female first name and the 23,082nd most popular last name. In the United States, the name ranked in the Top 1,000 most popular girls' names every year since 1880, when it ranked 61st.

According to the Social Security Administration [1], in the 21st century, the name ranked in the Top 600 most popular girls' names every year from 2000 (451st) through 2006 (544th).

United States Popularity of the girl's name Ellen in the 21st Century:

  • Year: 2006 Rank:544th
  • Year: 2005 Rank:556th
  • Year: 2004 Rank:495th
  • Year: 2003 Rank:450th
  • Year: 2002 Rank:476th
  • Year: 2001 Rank:457th
  • Year: 2000 Rank:451st

In 2007, the popularity of the girl’s name Ellen ranked 21st in Sweden.



  • “Ellen” was a 1990s American television comedy show starring Ellen DeGeneres, for which she was nominated for a primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” in 1998. [1]


  • Ellen Louise Axson Wilson - Former First Lady of the United States from 1913 until her death in 1914. She was the first wife of former President Woodrow Wilson. [1]
  • Ellen Pompeo – Film and television actress who stars as “Dr. Meredith Grey” on the 21st century hit television drama “Grey's Anatomy." [1]
  • Ellen Burstyn – Film and television actress who won an Academy Award (Oscar) for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” for her performance in the 1974 movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. She was also nominated for five other Oscars during the past four decades, the most recent being “Best Actress in a Leading Role” for her work in the 2000 movie Requiem for a Dream. [1]
  • Ellen Fitzgerald – Miss Massachusetts, USA, in 1994.
  • Ellen Lewis Arthur – Wife of the twenty first President of the United States, Chester Alan Arthur, although she was never First Lady as she died in 1880, the year before he took office. [1]



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Author: Rich Kachold

Facts about EllenRDF feed
Origin Greek  +
Related Elen  +, Elin  +, Elleen  +, Ellena  +, Ellene  +, Ellyn  +, Elynn  +, Eleanor  +, Elle  +, and Helen  +
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