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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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About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. 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!!!

  2. My favorite E names are Eponine and Eurydice, even though I know full well that no one will be able to pronounce the later. Not even I can pronounce it sometimes.

    1. I say Eurydice ur ah DEECH ay, but I think I’m getting that from my Intro to Opera class a billion years ago …

  3. 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.