Both, Boy Names, Girl Names baby nameEvelyn

What does the name Evelyn mean?

The different meanings of the name Evelyn are:
  • German meaning: Uncertain, possibly little bird
  • Hebrew meaning: Life
  • English meaning: Uncertain, possibly beautiful bird
The meaning of the name “Evelyn” is different in several languages, countries and cultures and has more than one possibly same or different meanings available.

Additional information: Evelyn is a gender neutral name, although the name has not been in the top thousand most popular names for boys since 1930. It either originated from the surname ‘Evelyn’, which in turn was derived from Aveline, a French feminine diminutive of the name Ava, or as an Anglicization of the Irish Éibhleann. It can also be considered a cognate of Eve and Lyn - then of Hebrew origin.

Evelyn can either mean ‘little bird’ or ‘beautiful bird’, depending on which translation is used. Evelyn is also sometimes used as the English translation for the Gaelic name Aibhilín. Common nicknames for Evelyn include Eve, Ev, and Lynn, and it is sometimes misspelled as Evelin, Evalyn, or Evelynn. Evelina is a Latin form of Evelyn used exclusively for girls, and Aveline and Ava are still used as names today.

Evelyn saw its peak popularity as a boy’s name in 1907 as the 778th most popular name for a boy. Evelyn has fallen in popularity as a boy’s name since 1930, but it has seen a surge in popularity as a girl’s name since 2000, reaching the sixteenth most popular name for a girl in 2014. In the 20th century, Evelyn was most popular in the 1910s and 20s. Recently it has been re-surging. Although nowadays Evelyn is commonly thought of as a girl’s name, it still has many feminine variants, including Evelyne, Eveline, and Eveleen.

The medieval name seems to have been used only by women, but it gave rise to a surname that was turned into a masculine given name as early as the 17th century.  Evelyn is today used primarily by women, but it was common enough as a boys' name just a generation ago.

The English author Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was more commonly known by his pen name Evelyn Waugh – ironically, his wife was also called Evelyn. Other famous Evelyns include Evelyn Mase (Nelson Mandela’s wife), Evelyn Keys (actress) and Evelyn Lincoln (secretary to John F. Kennedy).

The fictional Evelyn Carnahan was portrayed by Rachel Weisz in the 1999 film The Mummy, and Judi Dench played Evelyn Greenslade in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Sophie Vavasseur played the eponymous character in Evelyn, and Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother had the middle name Evelyn.