Social Values And Norms

Behind the name Elsa

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"Behind the name Elsa"
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Etymology, Origin and History.

Meaning My god is a vow', Elsa' has been a popular Greek, Scandinavian and German name. However, its primary origins are Hebrew, from the name Eliseba which literally translates as my god gave the oath'.

Gender: Female

Pronunciation: ELsah


Elsa seems to have been a popular name in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in European nations. In the USA census of 1990, it proved to be enjoying resurgence. More recently, it appears to have experienced a surge of popularity in Sweden where it was the sixteenth most popular girls name in 2006.


Did you know that:

Elsa is a name with associated with heaven and earth. It is an abbreviation for Elearethusa, an orchid hybrid. It is also the name of an asteroid discovered by Johann Palisa on the 7th February 1878.

Less poetically, the name acts as an acronym for several diverse worldwide associations such as the European League of Stuttering Associations, the European Law Students Association and the English Longitudinal Study of Aging.


Probably the most famous of the Elsa' namesakes was the lioness featured in the book and film Born Free'.

Less well known is the fact that Elsa is a character in German Arthurian legend. The daughter of the Duke of Brabant, She married Lohengrin the son of Parzival after he saved her kingdom. Elsa was never to ask her husbands name but one day curiosity overcame her. She never saw him again.

In 1848, Wagner immortalized the story in his opera Lohengrin.' It's most famous piece was the bridal chorus', popularly known as Here comes the bride.'

Finally, Elsa proves to have been a popular North American place name. It is the name given to the thriving present day city in Hidalgo County, Texas, USA. It was also the name of a silver mining town in Yukon, Canada. Sadly, this Elsa was deserted in 1989 after the closure of its mines.

Famous Persons

Elsa seems to be a name closely associated with fashion and showbiz. Famous Elsa's include:

Elsa Schiaparelli (Born 10th September 1890) French fashion designer of the 1920's and 30's. She scandalized Wimbledon with her innovative design for a short tennis skirt in the 1930s. She also collaborated with Salvador Dali who produced the design for a lobster print fabric for one of her dresses.

Elsa Benitez (Born December 8 1977), a Mexican supermodel who has appeared on the covers of Vogue and cosmopolitan.

Elsa Lancaster (Born 28 October 1902), English born actress best know for her role as the title character in the 1935 film, The Bride of Frankenstein'.

Elsa Lunghini (Born 20 May 1973). French singer and actress particularly noted for being the youngest artist to have a number one hit in France.

Elsa was also the name of Albert Einstein's second wife and cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, who he married in 1919.

Name Variants

Elizabeth (of which Elsa used to be a common abbreviation). Also Else, Elsie, Elsy, Elza and Ilse, which is the German version of the name.

More about this author: Natasha Sheldon

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