8 Unexpected Eleanor Nicknames

Eleanor nicknames

Let’s look at Eleanor nicknames. Not just any nicknames, either – unexpected choices, the kind that might surprise.

Eleanor needs no shortening, of course. It’s three syllables, and really rolls off the tongue. It makes for a smart name, one rich with history and style.

But at #60 in the US, the name is no longer rare. In fact, Eleanor has ranked in the US Top 100 for the past two years, and rose nearly every year this century. This traditional name is trending.

So maybe you’re considering Eleanor nicknames to stand out from the crowd. Or maybe you like the idea of shortening your child’s name, but aren’t sure where to start.

These eight ideas will get you started!

Eleanor Nicknames: E

Elle – Ellie seems to be the go-to nickname for Eleanor these days. It fits our pattern of taking the first syllable of a name and adding -ie. But Elle might make a more elegant choice. The French word for she first made waves in 2001. Reese Witherspoon played a smarter-than-she-looked Harvard law student named Elle Woods. Elle might also be short for Elizabeth or Elena or any other El- name, but I think it works especially well for Eleanor.

Elea – This one makes the list thanks to British Baby Names blogger Eleanor “Elea” Nickerson. It also fits into a special category, like Greta for Margaret and Eliza for Elizabeth. They’re short, feminine names that liven up a more serious, classic choice.

Eleanor Nicknames: L

Lea – If Elea works, how about just Lea? Pronunciation creates some challenges. Is it Lea, like Leia from Star Wars? Or Lea, like Leah and Lea Michelle? I’m saying it like Star Wars, but I think both are defensible. And if Lea works, maybe Lee or even Leelee makes another option.

Leo – Do you love the idea of Alexandra answering to Alex, Charlotte called Charlie? How about Eleanor called Leo? I’ve never heard it in use, but Leo follows logically from the letters in the name.

Len – If you’re watching E! original series The Royals, you might be thinking of hard-partying princess Eleanor, often called Len. Unlike many names on this list, the sound is undeniably there. Another option? Add a syllable to make Leni. Leni is German, and often comes from Helene – as in supermodel-television host Heidi Klum’s eldest child.

Lena – You might arrive at Lena from Selena or Magdalena or Annalena. The list goes on! But Lena works for Eleanor, too, a twist on Len.

Eleanor Nicknames: N

Nell – Confession: I love Nell as a nickname for Eleanor. And Helena. And Penelope. And … you get the idea. Nell tops my list of nicknames, and there’s no shortage of ways to get there. But I think Eleanor feels especially traditional. That’s because the N comes from an old affectionate phrase: mine Eleanor or mine Elle. Smoosh it together, say it fives times fast, and you’ll arrive at Nell. It’s a gentle, old-fashioned name for a girl, and a sweet short form of Eleanor.

Nori – Yes, there’s the seaweed connection. And some said that North West, daughter of Kim and Kanye, might be called Nori. But so far, Nori remains an under-the-radar possibility. Nora seems like a mainstream favorite among Eleanor nicknames, right up there with Ellie. Not only is Nori far less expected, but it has a totally different vibe. Nori seems edgy, interesting, even exotic. It takes traditional Eleanor into the 21st century and beyond.

What are your favorite Eleanor nicknames? Have I forgotten any?

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17 Comments

My wife’s name is Eleonore and she was always called Nori by her family. When she moved to Canada from Holland,everyone else called her Ellie. Me I like Eleonore the best. It is spelled with an acute accent on the E.

My name is Eleanor. I get called Nori by one friend, Ellie by a few (which I don’t like) and Elle by many. I like Elle the best.

My cat is Eleanor, nicknamed Nori, so I was very happy to see that option! Also, if Leo is on the table, what about Eli as well?

My name is Eleanor but I now go by Norah. In Spanish Eleanor is Eleanora, and when I was studying Spanish, my name was shortened to Nora . Liking it, I started to go by Norah – and later, I added the “h” because it looks much better with the h at the end.

I love the name Lorli as a pet name for Eleanor. This was the pet name of Eleanor von Trapp of the famous Trapp Family Singers, whose story was the basis for the movie, The Sound of Music.

Lovely post! I have a beautiful rabbit named Eleanore. She gets Eleanora, Lel, Lilen, Lilian & Lilith (if she’s really naughty). I can see how all of the nicknames you listed would work, often a name can change & evolve over time. Especially in my household. 😀

I have a great aunt Eleanor, whomever we all call Aunt Lolly because my uncle couldn’t say her name right when he was little. I have always loved the nickname.

Aww, thanks for the mention! I get called Elle by about 80% of my family and friends, so it definitely works for a nickname for Eleanor. In my case though it’s mostly that they have further reduced from Eleanor > Elea > El.

Most people ask how I pronounce Elea, but the truth is it’s simply “Ella” (although as a teen school friends called me “ELL-ee-a”). When I was little I was called “Ella” or “Ella-Bella/e” by my family, but I didn’t know how Ella was spelled. I did know how to spell Eleanor though, so I just took the -nor off. “Ella-nuh” = Elea-nor. I spent years assuming I’d self-invented it and then found a birthday card from my mum on my second birthday which is to “Elea-Bella”…. so apparently my parents had the same idea.
I do prefer the Elea spelling to Ella personally. It just feels more interesting and much more akin to my name.

I also get called Nen. It started when I volunteered at my local nursery as a teenager. One boy couldn’t say Eleanor and said Nen-nen-a. The name stuck around in my family and I still get called it by my sister. It works I think because of the strong ‘n’ sounds in Eleanor.