Skip to main content

Updated July 3, 2024

Table of contents

Boy name origins & meanings

What does Eli mean and stand for?


  • Hebrew: Ascended, uplifted, high
  • Greek: Defender of the faith; light; variation of Eleanor

Gender: Male

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Eli is pronounced ee-lie

The name Eli has ancient origins, primarily derived from the Hebrew word ’aly meaning "ascended" or "uplifted." It is often found in Biblical contexts, most notably borne by the high priest Eli from the Old Testament. Over time, the name has been embraced across different cultures and remains a timeless choice for many.

How Popular Is The Name Eli

Family name origins & meanings

Jewish: from a short form of Elia.

Famous people with this first name

Eli in Pop Culture

Do you know these fictional characters that share this first name?

  • Eli Vance from Half-Life - A scientist and resistance leader, he plays a crucial role in the fight against the Combine.
  • Eli Gold from The Good Wife - A cunning political operative, Eli Gold is known for his sharp mind and strategic thinking.
  • Eli Wallace from Stargate Universe - A brilliant, yet socially awkward mathematician, he is one of the key members of the Stargate project.
  • Eli Thompson from Boardwalk Empire - The sheriff of Atlantic County and brother to the series' main character, Nucky Thompson.
  • Eli Gemstone from The Righteous Gemstones - The patriarch of a wealthy televangelist family, Eli Gemstone is a powerful and influential figure.

Popularity of the Name Eli

According to Social Security Administration data, the name Eli has maintained a steady presence in the top 100 baby names in the U.S. for several years. As of 2023, Eli ranks as one of the most popular boys' name. The name Eli carries significant historical and cultural weight; it is of Hebrew origin meaning "ascended" or "uplifted."

Historically, Eli is a prominent figure in the Bible, serving as a priest and a judge of Israel and trained the prophet Samuel. In contemporary culture, notable individuals named Eli include actor Eli Wallach and American football quarterback Eli Manning. Fictional characters named Eli have appeared in media such as the films Eli and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, as well as the television series The Good Doctor.

Where Is the Name Eli Popular?

This name is most popular across certain states in the U.S., including those highlighted on the map below.

Nicknames for Eli

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • E
  • El

Eli Pairs Well With These Middle Names

Looking for a middle name that fits perfectly? Consider these!

Appears On

Browse these related baby name lists that feature this name and many, many more!

People Who Like the Name Eli Also Like

Check out these names that are similar, but still unique to your baby.

Join the Family

Your partner in parenting from baby name inspiration to college planning.