Monday, March 12, 2012

Usual Nickname, Unexpected Name--Nell

With all the names that Nell is historically short for, it's surprising it's not more popular. The usual suspects include Helen, Eleanor, & Ellen, although any English name with a prominent 'el' sound is possible. Of course, it's not the most intuitive nickname in modern English.
Nell came about either as a rhyming nickname for Ell, or through the habit of calling loved ones 'Mine ____'. For instance, 'Mine Ellen' turned eventually into 'My Nell'. Most likely, both factors contributed.

  • Antonella (an-toh-NEL-lah, Italian)--feminine form of Anthony.
  • Daniella (dan-YEL-lah, English)
  • Finella (fin-EL-lah, Irish)--Anglicized from Fionnuala.
  • Ionela (yoh-NEL-lah, Romanian)--feminine form of John.
  • Kornelia (kor-NEL-yah, German)
  • Marianela (mahr-ee-an-EL-ah, Spanish)
  • Narelle (nah-REL, English)
  • Nedelya (ned-EHL-yah, Bulgarian)
  • Nelda (NEL-dah, English)--feminine of Neil
  • Nelinha (nel-EEN-yah, Portuguese)
  • Nephele (NEF-el-ee, Greek)
  • Ninel (neen-YEL, Russian)
  • Noella (noh-EHL-lah, French)--"Christmas"
  • Ornella (or-NEL-lah, Italian)
  • Penelope (pen-EL-oh-pee, English)--from Greek, "weaver"
  • Peronel (PEHR-oh-nel, English)--form of Petronilla. Other forms include Petronel, Petronella, & Pernel.
  • Prunella (proo-NEL-lah, English)--from Latin, "plum"
  • Sanela (sah-NEH-lah, Croatian)--from Latin, "healthy"

1 comment:

  1. I think Nell is such a sweet and versatile nickname. time for a comeback! We'll probably see it as a stand alone first, though.