Girl names starting with E include the most popular of choices. At least two qualify as regal, saintly classics. Dozens more feel like sweet spot choices for a daughter, names that read feminine without being too frilly, and familiar, but not wildly popular.
Of course, E names for girls as a group have caught on. The ten most popular girl names starting with E all rank in the current Top 75.
A number of E girl names were among the fastest rising, according to data released in May 2019:
- Everly was the fourth fastest rising girl name, with Everleigh at #5
- Emersyn came in at #7
- Emilia ranked #12
- Ember was #18 on the list
- Emery ranked #22
Everly, Emilia, and Emery all appeared on the fastest rising girl names list based on May 2018 data, too.
That list reveals one more challenge: many possible spellings and similar-sounding names can make it tough to pin down the exactly popularity of a name like Emmeline or Emerson.
But if you’re after rare girl names starting with E? The list goes on and on!
MOST POPULAR GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH E
Beloved by Jane Austen fans, classic Emma was pushed even higher when Gwyneth Paltrow played the role in a 1996 movie adaptation. It entered the US Top 100 in 1993. It made the Top Ten in 2002, the same year Ross and Rachel named their baby Emma on Friends. And by 2008, it hit #1, only to fall back and return to the top spot from 2014 to 2018. (That’s the most recent year for which we have data.) It’s short, complete, classic, and ages beautifully.
If Evelyn didn’t exist, we would have invented it by smooshing together Eva/Eve and that familiar -lyn ending. Except Evelyn has been around for ages, initially more common for boys. But it almost certainly comes from Avelina, a Germanic name of uncertain meaning. (Though it’s often connected to avi – desired.) Tailored and timeless, Evelyn has reached such great heights in recent years thanks, in part, to that appealing middle V sound.
A long-time #1 name in the US, Emily boasts years of history and multiple famous bearers, from Dickinson to Ratajkowski. Bronte and Stone. Post and Deschanel. It’s also a traditional name dating back to the medieval era, though we tend to tangle it up with the unrelated Amelia, and so many other Em- names parents love.
At home in any setting, across the oceans and the ages, Elizabeth reigns as the most classic of girl names. It offers dozens of nickname options, from defaults like Lizzie to less obvious picks – Zabby, Bess, or Lily, anyone?
A mini name with deep roots, Ella topped the charts in late nineteenth century America, and is every bit as popular more than a century later. Popular throughout most of Europe and the English-speaking world, spare and simple Ella carries the force of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald. It’s a fairytale name, too, as in Cinder-Ella. While the name’s never-in-the-Top-Ten status places it just outside the spotlight, we’re rich in names ending in -ella: Isabella, Stella, Bella, and on and on.
Nearly as refined as Elizabeth, Eleanor also belongs to saints, queens, and historical figures aplenty. Like any great classic, it comes complete with multiple nickname options. There’s also more than one spelling for Eleanor. There’s Austen-approved Elinor, as in Dashwood; Tolkien’s Sindarin Elanor; and imports like Eleonore and Ellinor – just for starters.
No question, El names are enjoying a moment. No surprise, then, that sweet nickname form Ellie stands on its own. It outranks other nicknames-as-formal names, like Molly and Sadie, but it owes some of its success to that style.
For starters, it’s a rock and rock roll surname – The Everly Brothers were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. And yet, I don’t think we hear Everly quite the same way we think about Hendrix or Lennon. Instead, Everly feels like a mash-up of all the sounds we love in girls’ names right now. It’s a little bit Emily, mixed with a heavy dose of Evelyn and Avery, too. And that is the formula for one of the fastest-rising names of our times.
Strictly speaking, Emilia is the Italian/Spanish/Polish/Scandi cousin to Emily. In practice, it sounds almost exactly like another chart-topper Amelia. It’s tough not to mix them all together, and see Emilia as a fast-rising alternative to those two favorites. Emilia got a boost from actor Emilia Clarke, world famous for playing Khaleesi in Game of Thrones. It’s a globe-trotting name that feels fresh and traditional at the same time.
The romance language version of Helen, Elena is another name that feels effortlessly international. And while Elena of Avalor isn’t Elsa/Anna/Sleeping Beauty level famous, the Disney Channel has made her the first Latina princess.
FAST RISING GIRL NAMES
When it comes to fast rising girl names starting with E, you might feel a certain amount of déjà vu. Most of these represent a spelling that ranks higher on the current popularity charts. And yet, it’s worth noting these names because it demonstrates how very, very popular E names have become for our daughters.
Eliana ranks in the current Top 100. Elliana comes next, followed by Elianna. But now the double-L, double-N spelling is gaining, too. There’s more than one possible origin for this name, and since it appears in multiple languages, the spelling confusion feels almost inevitable.
Fiery Ember makes a nature name update to 1980s favorite Amber.
Take fast-rising Ember, mash it up with the -ly ending of Everly (and Emily and Kimberly and dozens of favorites over the ages) and you’ll have Emberly. Thoroughly modern, but not completely unexpected.
Lest you dismiss Emersyn as a novelty spelling, check out the numbers. 1886 girls were named Emersyn in 2018, just a tick behind the 1935 newborn Emersons. As for arguments that it’s a boy name, well, there were 1238 new boys named Emerson in 2018, too, so that’s not incorrect. But this is a fast-gaining choice for our daughters.
It’s surprisingly hard to spell Emmie. Despite the wild, runaway popularity of Emily and Emma and so many other Em- names for girls, Emmie has yet to really chart, and that’s despite Ellie’s Top 50 status. Emme has seen some use, but Emmie is among the fastest rising at the moment.
Then again, Emmy is racing up the charts, too, and isn’t too far behind Emmie.
Emery, a surname name that owes much to Emily and Avery, is a recent newcomer to the US Top 100 for girls. Other spelling options are following.
Ensley looks like Kensley, hold the K. A handful of options exist to explain Ensley’s origins: it could be a place name, or it might come from Anselm. Regardless of origins, Ensley sounds like a twenty-first century name for a girl.
I’ve called Everly the new Mackenzie, a name likely to splinter into multiple spellings. The quick sprint up the popularity charts of Everlee is one reason why.
And, of course, the rise of Everleigh is another. It’s reached the US Top 200, despite being almost unknown just a decade ago.
FAMILIAR FAVORITE GIRL NAMES
The sheer volume of E names for girls leaves so many great options between the most popular, the fast rising, and the rare. Here are a few solid choices.
The Biblical Garden where it all started in the Book of Genesis, Eden means paradise. And yet, it doesn’t feel like a traditional girls’ name. For parents drawn to meaningful choices like Sarah and Ruth, but focused on a twenty-first century ready name, Eden bridges the gap. Though the numbers suggest it’s not exclusively used by families drawn to its religious overtones. After all, the sound is terribly appealing, too.
Charmingly antique Edith peaked around 1920. It recently got a boost as the middle sister’s name on Downton Abbey. But this name is still early stages of revival, a choice for parents disappointed that Eleanor and Evelyn are so popular.
A gentle Elisabeth short form that has long stood on its own, Elise reads musical across centuries. Beethoven composed “Für Elise” in 1810. If your sensibilites are more modern, you might think of The Cure’s “Letter to Elise” from 1992. Across more than 180 years, it remains a traditional, understated choice for a daughter.
If Elise feels understated, Eliza bursts with energy. It’s the name of My Fair Lady, as well as Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, making it doubly musical. And dropping with the final syllable from Elizabeth emphasizes this name’s zippy Z sound, too.
Sometimes a letter, spelled out, is a name. Elle – as in L, as in the French word for she – is one such option. Credit goes to the rise of so many El- names, but also 2001’s blockbuster movie Legally Blonde. Sequels, spin-offs, and a Broadway muscial followed. No surprise that stylish Elle Woods encouraged parents to put her spare, but sophisticated name into the US Top 1000 by 2002.
Eloise is just plain fun to say. It’s a saintly French name with literary roots. The collected letters of Heloise and Abelard make it literary and romantic. But American parents probably think of Kay Thompson’s character from Eloise and sequels, the young girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The first book debuted in 1955, and the character’s popularity remains strong.
Another double literary name, Esme started out as Scottish – and masculine. JD Salinger gave the name to a (female) character in a famous 1950 short story. Years later, Stephenie Meyer used it for the vampire matrarich in her Twilight series. It’s slowly caught on, an intriguing sound that’s just a little different.
Another antique name on the road to revival, Esther comes from the Old Testament. The original Esther is smart, fearless, and heroic – the annual feast of Purim celebrates Esther’s succesful efforts to save the Jews from slaughter. Christians embraced the name following the Protestant Reformation. A 1910s favorite, Esther is right on time for revival.
While not as popular as Top Ten Ava, Eva has returned to its late ninteenth/early twentieth century status as a Top 100 staple. The Latin form of Eve, Eva is heard in Spanish, Italian, Russian, Swedish, German, and lots of other Slavic and Scandinavian languages. It’s the perfect pick for a globetrotter – compact, versatile, and sophisticated.
Evangeline means “good news,” and while it’s often expressly Christian, something about this name feels broader. Maybe it’s because Longfellow made Evangeline famous in his tragic 1847 poem by the name. That makes it literary and romantic, too.
RARE E GIRL NAMES
A name from Greek myth, Echo pines away, lost to unrequited love, until only her repeating voice remained. We still use the vocabulary word today, and Echo is the go-to in the NATO phonetic alphabet to represent the letter E. But with names like Willow, Margot, and Harlow so popular, Echo could fit right in.
With Eden and Edith popular, nickname name Edie seems like a logical possibility.
Big in Scotland back in the day, Effie almost fits with Sadie and Millie. It also brings to mind Hunger Games villain Effie Trinket. There’s also Kaya Scodelario’s character on British comedy-drama Skins.
Eisley sounds like it could be big, but how do you spell this name? Isley, Eisley, or maybe Eisele? Country music’s Hillary Scott and Chris Tyrrell welcomed daughter Eisele Kaye in 2013; it’s a family surname on dad’s side.
A modern Greek spin on Helen, Eleni could pick up where Elena leaves off.
A gorgeous Hebrew name meaning “my God is my light,” Eliora sounds ethereal and quite wearable, given the success of Eliana.
Yet another surname name possibility, Ellery might succeed Emery and Everly. There’s also Eleri, a feminine name from Welsh legend.
Elodie has hovered just outside the US Top 1000 for several years. Baby name devotees adore Elodie, so it might be almost time for this lovely French rarity to make its Top 1000 debut.
As with Elodie, Elowen attracts plenty of attention on baby naming sites. It’s a modern Cornish nature name meaning elm tree. With a distinctive sound, but plenty of easy nickname options, Elowen could fit right in.
A Scottish form of Elizabeth, Elspeth seems daring and bold in the US.
A Cornish saint’s name, Endellion was all-but unknown until 2010. That’s the year that former British prime minister David Cameron and wife Samantha welcomed daughter Florence Rose Endellion. The bonus middle name honors their daughter’s unexpected early arrival while the family was vacationing in Cornwall.
Eulalie means well-spoken, from the Greek good – eu – and to talk- laleo. It’s a quirky, unconventional name in American English, but we’ve embraced choice like Rosalie and Amelie.
Sometimes the Greek eu becomes an Ev. That’s the case with Evadne. Like Zoe and Chloe and Penelope, the ‘e’ is pronounced.
Eoforhild was a seventh century saint, living in Anglo-Saxon England. The name eventually smoothed out to Everild – or even Averill. It’s among the rarest of the rare E names for girls.
Evolet looks like an Evelyn-Violet smoosh, but it’s actually an invention for the movie 10,000 BC. It may be based on the words “the love” written backwards, drop the extraneous H. After all, Evolet is the love interest that drives much of the movie’s drama.