Yes, you’ll find a hella lot of Ellas leapfrogging and hopscotching with Bella, Hayden, and Peyton. Do kids even hopscotch anymore? Maybe they’re texting. Anyway, as an alternative to Emma, Ella is one of the top “fresh-sounding” choices for new moms these days, as its sound is simple, lithe, and feminine. In fact, Ella is SO feminine, it actually means “her” in Spanish and is pronounced “A-ya.” Her French counterpart is Elle (“her”/”she” as well), also very popular amongst the under 5 set. Ella and Elle’s Italian cousin could be said to be Bella, which literally means “beautiful.” You won’t be finding any Ellas in Barcelona or Bellas in Bologna, but there are enough of them being born right here in the United States to go around.
How is that possible? You’ve checked the stats, and while Ella is on the rise at 21, it’s still not top 10? Bella is all the way down at 159, and Elle and Belle don’t even make an appearance on the top 1000 list. Please don’t refuse to believe me when I tell you all “ell” names are running a muck. How many Isabellas do you know? Isabelles? Any of them go by Bella or Belle? I bet almost all of them. There’s also Annabelle, which is on the rise at 196, and that’s not even counting Annabel, Anabel, Anabelle, and Annabella. Stella is bringing up the rear at 244, which is not insignificant. Ella, Ellie and Elle may conveniently be derived from any name containing “el”– Elizabeth, Eliza, Eleanor, Ellen, Elena, Ellery, Elliot, Ellison, Gabrielle, Gabriela, Danielle… which gives credence to my claim that it’s better to name your daughters Elizabeth than Elle (bias aside, of course).
Among trends, Elle is the most appealling. Other than meaning “her”, her only offense is to bombard the ear with oversaturation. If you’re in love with Ella and Bella but would like something a bit more distinctive for you daughter, the choices below come highly recommended:
Mirabel, Mirabella, Mirabelle
Aaah, those are beautiful options, if I do say so myself!
Illustration above by G. Brian Karas from Cinder-Elly