Unexpected Middle Names for Girls: The Letter E

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Note: In all posts, links appear in blue text. When a name appears in bold text, in blue, that means the link goes to the Baby Name of the Day post.

Oodles of women have the middle initial E, and my (completely unscientific) observation is that nearly all of them are Something Elizabeth Something.

And why not? She’s a saintly, regal classic. Elizabeth fills in the gap between a short given name and not-so-long last name, or vice versa. She can anchor a gender-neutral or extremely uncommon choice. And she’s been so popular for so long that chances are she honors someone in your family tree – or maybe lots of someones.

Of course she can also feel like a default choice – unimaginative filler. If your last name is relatively common, and you’re in love with a popular given name, then Elizabeth might seem too plain – almost like no middle name at all.

But there are tons of intriguing choices that lead to the middle initial E. Here are a few:

  • Elettra – Electra is an awful lot of name, even in the middle, but Elettra – the Italian version – softens the mythological overtones. There’s also Eletta, a family name for the poet Plutarch.
  • Ellison – Surnames on girls are a touchy subject, but attitudes tend to soften if the name is in the middle spot. Other elaborate E choices include Ellington, Ellery, Elliot, Emerson, Emery, and all of these ideas over at Nook of Names.
  • Elspeth – The Scottish spin on Elizabeth is only a tiny bit different, but it could be enough. Other international options include the Italian Elisabetta or maybe even the Basque Elixebete.
  • Elsinore – She’s a literary place name, but if you’re looking for a literary E name, there’s also Eleanor or Elinor – not quite as unexpected, but still distinctively different.
  • Eluned – Borrowed from a 5th century Welsh saint, she takes the best of Luna and Ella and puts them together for an unexpected middle moniker.
  • Endellion – The Cornish saint’s name attracted a flurry of attention when British prime minister David Cameron and wife Samantha welcomed their daughter while vacationing in Cornwall – and called her Florence Rose Endellion in honor of her birthplace. Another Cornish option? Elowen.
  • Embeth – I’m not certain where Embeth Davidtz’ parents found her unusual appellation, but like fellow South African actress Charlize Theron, she wears the classic-with-a-twist name nicely. In the middle spot, she’s a smoosh that could honor an Emma or Emily and an Elizabeth.
  • Emmeline – Or Emmaline, or Emeline, or even Emmalyn.
  • Estella, Estelle – A spin on the soaring Stella.
  • Esther – Like Estelle, she might not be long enough to bridge two shorter names, but she’s the kind of impeccable classic that fits nicely in the middle spot. The French Estée might be another possibility.
  • Evangeline – She’s a poetic pick that’s catching on fast. Evangeline is also more dressed up than Eve or Evelyn in the middle. Other unusual Ev- options include Evadne, Evelina, Everild, Everine, or Everly.

I’ve only scratched the surface with this list.  What have I overlooked? And which ones are just way too good to hide away in the middle?

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29 Comments

If this baby is a girl she will be Agatha Elizabeth Maeve. I know that Elizabeth is a filler name but I do adore it. Estee intrigues me!!!

My favorite E middles for girls are Estelle and Eden. I’ve always thought that Estelle, in particular, might have that Marie cadence that people love so much — with the bonus of a beautiful “star” meaning.

I grew up with a Jane Elizabeth as well as a Jane Evelyn. I have the classic 60s-70s middle name Lynn. But Joy is my mom’s middle name, so if I have a girl, her middle name will be Joy. I’d love for it to turn into a middle-first-middle-first tradition.

I love the name Elizabeth (it’s the name of my mother and my best friend), but I hate “filler” middle names (“Grace” seems to be a particularly common sin these days), so I guess it’s a good lesson to me that one person’s “filler” is another’s beloved family name.

I think it’s especially unfortunate that so many people choose “filler” middles for girls on the pretext that they’ll drop their middle names when they marry and take their maiden name as a middle name. I didn’t, and I don’t expect my daughter to, either.

For middle names, I wanted something literary, and my husband wanted something she could use as a possible stage name. In the end, we went with the hat trick and picked a family name that works for both.

Hm. What about Ever and Ember? And my own E middle name, Elyse! Or Elise. Whatever floats your boat.

Evangeline is gorgeous, and Elizabeth really is, too, though my heart lies with Eliza. Elodie is a good one, too, I think. Or Esperanza? Yes. Estella and Estelle might be my favorites off this list, Abby.

Elizabeth is in my middle slot, as well as my Mom’s, my grandma’s, and a smattering of cousins’ too. If I’m ever naming a girl, you’d bet right that Elizabeth will be the middle name.

Hmm, well I just WISH my middle name had been Elizabeth/Elisabeth! Instead my parents went for some creatively devised variant of Elizabeth that I suppose they thought seemed cool and different. It’s just ugly, and such a mis-match with my first name that if anyone had ever discovered it, would have led to name bullying for sure. I disowned it as soon as possible.

Out of your choices, I would accept Elsinore, Endellion, Emmeline or Evangeline as substitutes.

Like others have mentioned, I’ve known quite a few women with the middle name Elaine. Elise/Elyse is another popular middle name, both are probably chosen for the rhythm more than love of the name.

One uncommon name I love is Elodie, but for a really unexpected name there’s also Eos… the goddess of the dawn in Greek mythology.

If Alaric had been a girl we were going to go with at least one “e” middle name, possibly two (since both of our kids have two middle names). Elsie was going to be one of them, in honour of my grandma, and we were also considering Evangeline, but thought it might be a bit much with the first name we’d selected. I personally love Eluned, while Mark thinks Endellion is perfect. Elowen is pretty, but I always hear L O N.

If I had given my daughter a less unusual name, I would have loved to pick a really interesting middle name. But since we named her Juno, and my grandmother’s name was Elizabeth, that was the perfect choice for us. A little bit ancient Roman, a little bit classic. 🙂

I’m an Elisabeth middle, in honor of my Grandmother, Lilian Elisabeth. I used to wish m E was for anything but boring ol’ Elisabeth but I’ve fallen in love with it during the last 40 years. I’ve got Elspeth on our list for a girl, and love Edith enough to use but will use my Mother’s name (or His Mother’s) in the middle for girl honoring in the future. We’ve decided on Uncles and family surnames for boys middles. I figure, in some cases, the “boring” classic may tone down the outrageous first name! 🙂

I have an E middle name – Elaine. It’s my mother’s middle name and my grandmother’s first name. The odds are good that a future daughter of ours will have Elaine as either a first or middle name, especially since my dear grandmother isn’t doing so well these days.

The only girl I know with the middle name Elizabeth is an 11 year old named Emily [email protected] Yes, her parents let her older brother name her after the girl in the Clifford books 😉 Her two sisters (they’re triplets) are Jennifer [email protected] and [email protected] Ruth.

Eirene is a favorite of mine, but yes it would have been bad to put it on this list now 🙁

To just say that Marie, Elizabeth, and Rose are filler middle names does not seem completely accurate to me. These were common first names in my grandmother’s generation and it seems that many people use the middle as a spot to honor family. For example, my sisters’ middle names are Anne and Marie. They are both named for grandmothers – Anne for my paternal grandmother’s first name and Marie for my maternal grandmother’s middle name (in the case of this grandmother, Marie may have simply been a filler as I do not know my family tree well enough to know if she was named for a great-grandmother or other relative).

I agree; one of my sister’s has the middle name Anne, and it was the name of our maternal great-grandmother who was very special to my mother.

But is it probably correct to guess that a decent majority of __ Annes, __ Maries are cases where it just “sounded good”? I’d bet yes.

I think Eloise is a nice choice for a middle name – it echoes Louise which was once a very popular middle name, but seems fresher. Elise, Esme or Eva could work with a longer first name.

I was reading an article the other day about a couple with a baby daughter named Ernestine – definitely not my style, but I could see it as a middle name for a family drawn to quirky classics.

My middle name starts with an ‘E’ as well, people always assume it’s Elizabeth…. it’s not – I’m Bridget Eileen. My mother also has an ‘E’ middle initial, Nancy Ellen. I also know no less than 4 other girls/ladies with Elaine as a middle name, personally I don’t think it’s that great of a “filler” name. I agree with the above comment, I feel disappointed when someone uses a bland filler name (where I live the most popular middle names I hear are Ann(e), Jean, Leigh. LYN/LYNN/LYNNE, Michelle, Renee & Marie… the newest baby girls being born I do hear a lot of Grace & Nicole as middle names as well). I absolutely love the name Elizabeth as a first or middle name, and I think middle names of Anne, Rose & Marie are quite lovely, especially if they’re given to honor a family member. But the staggering amount of women in my generation with the middle name ‘Lynn’ gets very boring after a while! Bravo to those that choose anything other than the most bland/popular/filler middle names for their baby girls! btw, I know a baby girl born last year with the name Ellen Elizabeth – very classic & it suits her perfectly. Also love love the list above of all of those E names!

I have an E middle name, which I really, really dislike, so I used to lie and say it was Emmeline instead. If were to change it, which I have considered, and had to keep the E it would become Edna or even Edith, for personal reasons. I had a friend suggest Eureka to me, as well, which made me smile quite broadly.

Aside from Edna/Edith, there’s also Euphrasie, Elora and Enna.

I love the middle name. It presents such an opportunity to do something really special — either to use that really unusual name you love but are worried about using as a first name, to say something really personal and meaningful about your child and what their birth means and signifies to you, or to use some great old family name. I always feel a twinge of disappointment when the opportunity is wasted and the choice made is essentially a space filler on the birth certificate, there simply because these days it’s the convention to have a middle name.

Some lovely choices here, which are definitely NOT space fillers! I have to say, I do rather like the original Electra — but that’s probably the classicist in me rearing its head! I’ve always loved Everild and Everilda, and Eluned is another favorite — as long as it’s pronounced correctly! It should be ‘e-LIN-ed’.

To throw a few random others into the pot, how about Edelweiss, Eilidh, Eira, Elysia, Emerald, Equinox, Estrella, Eulalia and Euphrosyne? 🙂

I do know a LOT of people with the middle name Elizabeth/Elisabeth.

I might be wrong here, but I feel like “Marie” might be an even more common middle name than Elizabeth (which I assume is because of the appeal of an iambic middle name). In my graduating class from a women’s college a few years ago, I swear about 10-20% of my class had the middle name Marie.

Rose and Lynn seem to have been popular middle name choices for the generation right above mine. And now it seems that many baby girls that cross my path have a virtue middle name (Grace, Hope, Faith, and Joy come up a great deal).