Rarely do I find modern names so much to my taste as I do Elowen! Although she sounds Welsh, she’s actually Cornish and means “elm tree.” Pronunciation-wise, the second syllable is supposed to be emphasized – i.e., Elle-OH-when. However, most people (myself included) probably emphasize the first syllable (like ELLE-oh-when). 36 girls were named Elowen in 2015.
Cornish is a rare and endangered language, but don’t underestimate Elowen. Another Cornish name, Jennifer, transitioned from utter obscurity at the dawn of the 20th century into the #1 American girls’ name by the 1970s. That took several decades, but maybe Elowen will rise faster in the days of the internet.
Usage is growing steadily on this spelling alone, but popularity for the alternative spelling Elowyn nearly tripled between 2014 and 2015, from 24 to 67 uses! That Elowyn is more popular than Elowen is curious, but not completely out-of-the-blue when you consider that Americans tend to spell other (mostly Welsh) names ending in -wen instead with -wyn (i.e., Bronwen and Gwendolen usually become Bronwyn and Gwendolyn). Another spelling, Ellowyn, registered 34 times last year. There’s also Ella-influenced Ellawyn at 7 uses. If you rank names by combined spellings (as some people do), that means 144 baby girls were called Elowen last year…an average of almost 3 per state. There may be even more, if there were spellings too rare to show up in the extended data. Either way, don’t be shocked to find one on the playground.
The most obvious nicknames for an Elowen are Ella and Ellie, but Winnie is arguably possible as well. I can even see where a fan of Netflix’s Stranger Things might use this name to honor Eleven without calling their daughter a number.
What do you think of Elowen? Do you think she or Elowyn will enter the top 1000 at some point?