Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew name Elisheva meaning 'God is my oath' or possibly 'God is my abundance', through the Greek version Elisabet. It has long been a popular name in Christian culture, as the biblical Elizabeth is cousin to the Virgin Mary and mother of John the Baptist.
In the English-speaking world it is primarily identified with two of Britain's most universally known queens: Tudor monarch Elizabeth I, known to her subjects as Queen Bess, and our current Queen Elizabeth II.
Famous people called Elizabeth:
Elizabeth I and II, British queens
Elizabeth Fry, 19th century prison reformer
Elizabeth Taylor, British-born actress
Elizabeth Gaskell, author of Cranford and North and South
Elizabeth McGovern, American actress and star of Downton Abbey
Betty Ford, former First Lady and political activist
Tina Fey, American comedy writer and actress, born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey
Beth Tweddle, British Olympic gymnast
Can be shortened to:
Liz, Liza, Beth, Bess, Eliza, Lisa, Betty, Lily
Surnames to avoid Elizabeth with:
Surnames beginning with a 'Th' sound, like Thorpe, might cause problems as when said aloud the two words end up sounding like one, resulting in a lisping sound.
Forms of Elizabeth are popular around the world, and foreign variants include Isabella (Spanish), Isabelle (French), Elspeth (Scots) and Elisa (Turkish).
There is no direct male equivalent to Elizabeth, but other Hebrew names with a similar sound and meaning include Eli, Elias, Elisha and Elijah.
Celebrities who named their baby Amelia: