Evelyn

Evelyn is a name which at first glance seems easy to discern but has a deeper history than one would think. At first glance it would seem to be an elaborated form of Eve combined with the –lyn suffix (which could be based on Welsh llyn meaning “lake”). Eve is the name of the first woman created by God in the Bible; her name is derived from Hebrew hawwa meaning “alive, living” which derives from a Proto-Semitic origin. 

But while that may be the modern interpretation of the name, Evelyn has deeper roots that aren’t quite so clear-cut. It originated as an English surname, originally spelled Aveline, which was brought over to England after the Norman Invasion. Aveline, or Avelina, was originally a double diminutive of Ava,  a Germanic name of unknown meaning which seems to derive from Germanic element avi, though the most common meaning attributed to it is “desired, wished for”- but that’s just a theory. Another possible theory is Proto-Germanic *albiz meaning “elf” but that doesn’t seem as likely. 

It’s also possible that Ava may have originated from Eva, the Latinized form of Eve.

As a given name, Evelyn was first used as a boy’s name, like many surnames (Ashley, Shirley, Beverly, etc.) but eventually became more popular for girls.

Origin: unknown

Meaning: could be an elaborated form of EveLyn “alive, living + lake”; also a name with Germanic roots, of unknown meaning though commonly attributed to mean “desired, wished for”; perhaps based on the name Eve

Usage: English

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Variants:

  • Evaline (English)
  • Evalyn (English)
  • Evalynn (English)
  • Evalynne (English)
  • Eveline (English, French, Dutch)
  • Eveleen (English)
  • Aveline (English)
  • Evelina (English, Italian, Swedish)
  • Avila (Ancient Germanic)