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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baby Name to Consider: Eloise

Jenny Grace writes:
I have been VERY MUCH enjoying the discussion of various names that originate in children's literature, such as Heidi, Wendy, Alice, Dorothy, the names from The Children's Hour, the names of the Little Women, stuff like that. boys' names too I suppose (not really, I'm not good at naming boys).
Anyhow it's been a very satisfying Imaginary Baby discussion for me, except that no one wants to discus a particular name with me, either because they haven't heard of the book, or they are alarmed by my baby name discussion and want to know if I'm pregnant (I'm not).
The name I would like to discuss!
What do we think of Eloise?
Is the association with the children's book positive or negative?
Is it a pretty name?
Would Elsie be an appropriate nickname?
Does it make us think of Heloise, and Abelard, and monk castration? (
Anyhow, I've been pondering the name Eloise, for an imaginary baby, if you'd care to ponder it with me.
I also want to know what you're favorite literature-based names are, if you have any.

I would INDEED enjoy a good ponder! I like the name Eloise very very much, and for me the children's book character is what takes it from being "the name of that older lady at church" to a name reasonable and appealing for a child. It gives it SASS and SPIRIT. True, the book Eloise is a bit of a terror, but she is an APPEALING terror, and a CHEERFUL terror, and a CONFIDENT terror with high self-esteem.

I don't know if I would describe the name as "pretty" or not---in the same way I'm not sure if I'd use that word for the name Beatrix, or even for a fancier name like Anastasia. They're some of my favorites, but are they pretty? Good question. Clarissa is a pretty name, I think; Linnea seems pretty to me, as does Cecily, as does Arabella. For me, names like Eloise and Ruby and Genevieve have some quality other than prettiness, but I find I can't put a finger on what, or why.

Elsie, to me, is a different name and not a nickname for Eloise--but then, I'm a HUGE stick-in-the-mud about nicknames (I don't think Ella is a nickname for Elizabeth, either, even though I am fine with Meg as a nickname for Margaret). In old books I've seen Weezie as a nickname for Louise and Eloise, but it's not a nickname I like much. Louise has Lou and Lulu, and I'd think Eloise could have Lo or Lolo---which looks odd when I write it, but it seems like J. Lo and Lo Bosworth have brought it into the realm of possibility. Or the nickname Ello might happen naturally. I think I'd just call her Eloise, though. It's so fun to say.

I had somehow managed to fail to notice that Heloise was Eloise with an H: I've got Heloise over on one side of my mind with household hints, and Eloise way on the other side with appealingly spoiled children. So clearly my answer is that it doesn't make me think of monks and castration misunderstandings---but I would be grateful for the chance to take that into account, if I were considering using the name, since I can easily see how to someone else the names could be interchangeable.

The question about other favorite names from children's literature needs its own separate post, I think; I'll do that one a little later today. In the meantime, let's discuss: ELOISE. And let's have a poll over to the right! [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results for “What do you think of the name Eloise?” (289 votes total):

I love it! I’d use it! - 19%
I like it! I’d consider it! - 28%
Wouldn’t use, but would like on someone else’s baby - 40%
No particular opinion either way - 3%
Slightly dislike - 6%
Strongly dislike - 2%


Jenny Grace said...

Your thoughts make me like this name MORE. That said, I already know it's in the category of names that I could never ACTUALLY use, because I have a nephew Elliot and an aunt Ellen and a cousin Elizabeth and they all get shortened to Ellie and I see them all a lot and I think we're overloaded on El-sounds in my family.
But I WISH I could name my imaginary baby Eloise. And I hope someone else does.

Linda said...

I like the NAME very much, but the book character is such a spoiled brat IMO that it ruins the name for me. I need someone to name a cheerful little girl Eloise so I can banish the bad association.

Rachel said...

Lolo makes me think of the Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones, whose real name is, I think Lori. Still, I think Lolo would be a valid nickname for Eloise.

I read an article once comparing the book characters Madeline and Eloise and the author of the article said that she pictured, grown up, that Madeline would be some sort of political ambassador while Eloise would probably end up being a woman with alcohol problems. While I definitely don't agree with this assessment, it's kind of stuck with me, so I would never name an actual child Eloise. I suppose this is because I would think: "Oh, do other people think my child will grow up to be an alcoholic because her name is Eloise?" It's ridiculous, but there you go.

Cayt said...

Thinking about the nickname Lola for Eloise just about makes me have a cute aneurysm.

The Shabby Princess said...

I LOVE the name Eloise. My boss's wife is named Eloise and she's such a chic and lovely woman. I would very highly consider the name Eloise for my future daughter!

Jenny Grace said...

Also! We read Eloise a lot around here. And Eloise is a brat, but there is like, a LOT of subtext about her absentee party girl mother who can't be bothered and her mother's boyfriends and WHO IS HER FATHER?? and she's just this rich yet neglected little girl.
So she's a brat but she's spunky and I actually sort of want to mother and protect her because my word.
That's unrelated to the name, but have you read the book recently?

mjb said...

Jenny Grace - did you know that the character is supposed to be modeled on Paris Hilton as a little girl to some extent?

Swistle said...

Jenny Grace- AGREE. And she has many fine qualities, and she is affectionate toward her nanny, and she is clearly smart even though she drives her tutor berserk for fun.

MJB- She can't be! That book is more than 50 years old!

Anonymous said...

Everytime I hear the name Eloise I think not of the book, but of the TV show Lost! So no, I don't have the negative, bratty connotations. It's not a name that I particularly *love,* but it is a good name. I disagree that Elsie is not a reasonable nickname, but that's just me!

-R- said...

I like the name Eloise. I think of a cute, spunky little girl.

I don't like the nickname Elsie. It makes me think of a cow.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I haven't read the books a lot so I only have a vague idea of what the character of Eloise is like. I think it's a cute name and the book association isn't a negative one for me. If I were to name a daughter Eloise, I probably wouldn't introduce her to the "namesake" books until she was old enough to understand to NOT act like the girl with her same name.

Anonymous said...

Eloise is the #1 name for if our next baby is a girl. I love it! I've only seen the movie, and she's adorable and hilarious. I plan on calling her Els or Elsa. Althought Lola may come up too :)

Carmen said...

I'm with -R-. Elsie makes me think of a cow. Along with Bessie & Daisy & Lulubelle. But Eloise is a cute name.

vanessa said...

I LOVE the name and I love the book and I love the character and now I am adding Eloise to my own name list. The character is a delight. She's a pain, sure, but she's a pain in that excellently spunky, smart, highly imaginative way. I suspect that in real life I would enjoy her tremendously.

Superjules said...

I remember liking Eloise the first time I heard it (which I think was in the book context) and my liking of it has only grown over time. I actually think it sound BEEAUUUUTIFUL. And I think it might be a family name, but I'd have to double check.

Magic27 said...

I've never heard of the book (not even sure what book you're all referring to) but I can say that Eloise and Heloise (which are, in fact, totally interchangeable here) are pretty common here in France - there are several at my daughters' school and my elder daughter had a friend called Eloïse for a while, a very sweet, funny, good-natured child I liked very much. Here, the connotation (if you think of anything at all) would certainly be Héloïse et Abelard, though I'm not sure how familiar people really are with the story.
As far as I'm aware, there are no standard nicknames used here in France.

Ms. Key said...

This isn't a name I'd previously considered for myself, but lately I've been revamping my "names for my imaginary future children" list. And now I am really considering Eloise!

I think it IS pretty... I think sometimes whether a name is "pretty" or not is very subjective, maybe even based on letters and sounds that an individual finds appealing. The softness of Eloise makes it pretty for me. (In contrast, Swistle, I don't find "Arabella" to be a 'pretty' name, for the same 'i'm not sure what/why' reasons as you with Eloise, and I do find Genevieve to be pretty; so we just have different taste in sounds-we-find-pretty maybe?).

Anyway, I'm really pondering about this name now. I think I'd call an Eloise "El" or "Ellie"; just a simple nickname that flows from the first sounds; as most nicknames do.


Lucy said...

Oh, I love the name Eloise. In fact, we named our daughter that who was born last year. The name skyrocketed last year, from 900-something to 500-something. I'm hoping it doesn't continue to jump up in the next few years as one of the reasons I love it, is that isn't so common.

I don't think we have gotten one comment about her being named after the character in the book. A few people have asked if we own the book or read it to her or something.

Her nickname is Ellie. While I don't LOVE it, it just kind of happened naturally. Our 3 year old pretty much exclusively calls her Ellie Bellie, which is cute now, but I'm sure we will drop later on. We plan on calling her mostly Eloise, but in general use we do use Ellie a bit. I always introduce her as Eloise.

If you are looking to see a cute little Eloise, feel free to check out my blog for lots of pictures (she is the little one):

jac said...

The little Eloise I know is nicknamed The Weasel. Awesome? Yes.

Peyton said...

Way late to the party, but Eloise is supposed to be a cross between the author, Kay Thompson, and her god-daughter, Liza Minnelli (yes, THAT Liza Minnelli).

I love the name Eloise. Don't think my husband would go for it, though.

Laurel said...

I just found this by wasting time and Yahoo! searching "Eloise is a baby." B/c I was looking at my little Eloise who just turned a year old. Anyway, it was fun to read this whole discussion on the name. I love it, obviously, and FYI- most of the time we call her Eloise, but one of the other kids started calling her Ello or Ello Bello and so we use those occasionally too. Since she was born she has been collecting the Kay Thompson books, we love them, especially Eloise in Paris.

Originally when I brought up the name Eloise my husband was not too keen on it, but he said he would consider it if he could call her Ellie for short. That discussion took place when we were pregnant with Eloise's older sister, whose name was already picked out. By the time we were pregnant again the name had grown on him and now he loves it too.

I did not get it from the books, however, I got it from the Rembrandt's song.