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[eth-uh l] /ˈɛθ əl/
a female given name: from a Germanic word meaning “noble.”. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Ethel
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Historical Examples
  • Ethel Brown's had yellow flowers on it and Ethel Blue's had cornflowers.

    Ethel Morton at Chautauqua Mabell S. C. Smith
  • No one had imagined precisely this turn in Ethel's originality.

    Days Off Henry Van Dyke
  • Miss Graham did not seem to single out Ethel Blue for particular attention.

  • The fog was heavy on shore and sea that day, holding the Ethel and May in port.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • The hour was fixed and the notes sent out, and Ethel met Dr. Spencer at the garden gate.

    The Daisy Chain Charlotte Yonge
Word Origin and History for Ethel

fem. proper name, originally a shortening of Old English Etheldred, Ethelinda, etc., in which the first element means "nobility."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for Ethel



  1. A coward, esp a cautious prizefighter
  2. An effeminate man; percy, sissy (1920s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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