Baby name needed: Irish form of Elaine

A reader named Diane writes:

My Mother passed away 2 years ago and I would like to name my daughter after her. Her name was Elaine. I have already used her name as a middle name for my first daughter. I would like to find a variation of Elaine to use as a first name. My husband is Irish and would love if there was an an Irish connection with the name as well. Any suggestions?

I love that Diane wants to use her mother’s name again. I think both daughters will appreciate having a form of their grandmother’s name to carry with them.

Let’s see…Elaine is an Old French form of Helen. Irish forms of Helen include Léan and Léana, which I believe are pronounced “layn” and layna” (please correct me if I’m wrong). The Irish name Eileen is sometimes considered to be a form of Helen, though technically the names aren’t related to one another.

Other variants and pet forms of Helen/Elaine include Ella, Ellen, Ellie, Helena, Lena, Nell and Nelly. And of course there’s always Helen itself. None of these are specifically Irish, but they’re all used in Ireland — perhaps that’s just as good.

What other ideas can you come up with?

Update – The baby is here! Scroll down to the last comment to see the name.

11 thoughts on “Baby name needed: Irish form of Elaine

  1. What if…you split the name in half, into El and Aine. And then named her Elizabeth Aine (pronounced Anya)?

  2. I don’t know if Diane will consider Irish surnames, my niece is named Delaney and she was named after an Elaine.

    Elain- Welsh name that means “fawn”.
    Keelin/Keelan- Irish name meaning “slender and fair”, not related to Elaine but I think it might work.

  3. What about Nora? It is a diminutive of Eleanor, which is a variation of Elaine and it is a common name in Ireland.

  4. I love Helen – I have three generations of Irish aunts named Helen, even though it is not technically an Irish name.

    Another option is Aileen, which is one of my cousin’s names (named for an Aunt Helen, of course)

  5. @Julie – If surnames work, Delaney is a cute idea.

    @Bella – Eleanor and Elaine sound similar, but the etymological link between them is doubtful. Still, they’re close enough that maybe Eleanor could be used as a substitute for Elaine…?

    @Caitlin – Aileen also happens to be an anagram of Elaine, which is very cool.

  6. Little late to the party on this one, but what about Elin (pronounced ee-lih-n)? It’s not Irish (it’s usually filed under Scandinavian or Welsh), but it’s a pretty name. :)

  7. I’ve just heard from Diane. Her baby ended up being a boy, and she went with the name Brendan Rory.

    But I don’t think we are done having children yet so I still might get that chance to have another little girl named after my Mother. Thanks for your help, I love all the suggestions…especially Ellie and Aine. Thinking Evelyn as well.


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