The baby name Nellie was popular throughout the 20th century, until the late 1970s, when an unpopular TV character knocked it out of favor. However, it's currently making a big comeback. Technically a nickname, Nellie is cute and fun and pairs well with classic and unique middle names.

Meaning of the name Nellie:

Greek: Brightness, light

Origin of the name Nellie:

Nellie was originally a nickname for Ellen, Helen or Eleanor, all of which are derived from the Gree word “ēlē,” which means “bright” or “light.”

Symbolism of the name Nellie:

Because the name literally means light, it may symbolize life, purity, hope or wisdom.

Baby name Nellie

©Ashley Haugen/

Style of the name Nellie:


Gender of the name Nellie:

Nellie is a girl's name.

Pronunciation of the name Nellie:


Number of syllables in the name Nellie:


Emotion evoked from the name Nellie:

The baby name Nellie evokes images of someone who is intelligent and outgoing.

Alternative spellings for the name Nellie:

Nicknames for the name Nellie:

Popularity of the name Nellie:

Throughout the 1920s, Nellie was a top 100 baby name. It remained on the list of the top 1,000 baby names for girls in the United States until 1979. In 2019, it made a comeback, and as of 2020, it ranks at number 837, according to the Social Security Administration.

Related names for the name Nellie:

Great middle names for Nellie and their meanings:

Famous people with the name Nellie:

Nellies in popular culture:

  • Nellie(character from the “Little House on the Prairie” books and TV series)
  • Nellie Bertram (character from the TV show “The Office”)
  • Nellie Forbush (character from the musical “South Pacific”)
  • Nellie O'Malley (doll and character from the American Girl collection)
  • Nellie(character in the animated movie “An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster”)