Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Adele

Adele is the English form of the French Adèle (whereby the accent mark is dropped). Adele is a name of Germanic origin from the element “adal” meaning “noble”. The name Adelaide comes from the same root and gave the English such names as Alice, Alison, Alicia, etc. Adèle became a favorite female name in France in honor of an 8th century Frankish princess, the daughter of King Dagobert II of Austrasia (the eastern Frankish Empire at the time). Dagobert II ascended the throne around the age of six, but was quickly deposed and exiled after some typical medieval power-jockeying. During his exile in Ireland Dagobert II married an Anglo-Saxon princess with whom he produced five children (Adela being one of them). After becoming widows, Adela and her sister Irmina found a holy calling and each founded a convent in present-day western Germany. The French brought Adela/Adèle to England by way of the French-Norman Conquest of 1066. In fact, William of Normandy (aka William the Conqueror) who, after his successful conquest, became King William I of England named one of his many daughters Adela. Adela, Countess of Blois, was the mother of King Stephen of England. The name Adela/Adele took hold in England during the 11th century but would eventually peter out in popularity by the later Middle Ages. Revival interest in Adele occurred in the 19th century thanks in part to a popular operetta composed by Johann Strauss called "Die Fledermaus" (1874) which featured a soprano character named Adele. Furthermore, the highly-esteemed 19th century French novelist Victor Hugo named his daughter Adèle (which was also his wife’s name). And lest we forget that Jane Eyre’s charming little French pupil at Thornfield Hall was named Adèle in Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel “Jane Eyre” (1847). Whether you choose to render Adèle with or without the accent mark over the first “e”, either way Adele is a supremely elegant name and very, very French.

All About the Baby Name – Adele



The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.



Yes, we know. Everyone is going to associate this name now with the ϋber-successful singer Adele. It would be akin to naming your daughter GaGa today (ok, well not exactly). It’s just that Adele’s super stardom runs the risk of overshadowing this name. In fact, the name’s recent return to the American female naming charts is owed entirely to the English singer-songwriter. After being named Best New Artist at the 2009 Grammy’s, the name Adele abruptly appeared on the female charts in 2010. Coincidence? We think not. And as the singing sensation that is Adele rises to meteoric levels of fame, her name is likewise seeing gigantic jumps in usage here in the States. REGARDLESS, we must say for the record, Adele is an absolutely gorgeous name despite its current strong associations to pop-culture influences. But just remember, long before there was Adele the singer; there was Adele the name. Adele the name dates way back to the late 19th century in America; as far back as we have available data (1880). In fact, in the 1800s, Adele was respectably popular and definitely familiar. The name hit its zenith during the 19-teens when Adele was often on the Top 200 list. From then on, however, Adele saw slow but consistently steady declines in usage. The 1960s rejected her completely and Adele fell off the Top 1000 list for the first time in over 100 years in 1970. Her hiatus in usage would last until Adele the singer came on to the scene very recently. So yes, it was Adele who reminded future parents of the understated beauty that is her name; but this in no way subtracts from the fact that Adele is a wonderful choice for any lucky baby girl. This is one of our most favorite French-inspired names (like Claudette, Gisѐle or Genevieve). The timing is tricky, we agree; especially if you don’t want to come across as a “celebrity-obsessed” fan.

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Cultural References to the Baby Name – Adele

Literary Characters


Adele Ratignolle is a main character in Kate Chopin’s controversial 1899 novel, The Awakening. The book concerns its heroine’s (Edna Pontellier) efforts to establish a sense of self in a restricted Southern society, and Adele is one of the role models to whom she looks. Adele is a cheery, warm and outgoing woman, who is the happily married mother of a family. In this, she is the foil to Edna, who is unhappily married, and who chafes against the family ties that bind. Even Adele’s personal interests, such as music, are fostered for the pleasure they give to her family. Ironically, it is Adele’s liberal Creole heart that ultimately helps Edna to break away from the velvet prison of her life; Adele has unwittingly contributed to a choice of lifestyle of which she thoroughly disapproves.

Adele Varens is Jane Eyre’s young charge at Thornfield in Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 classic, Jane Eyre. Adele was abandoned by her French mother, with whom Mr. Rochester once had an affair, to his care. He does not believe himself to be the child’s father, but he provides her with his careful, if rather distant, guardianship. Adele is ten years old, and her education until the arrival of Jane Eyre had consisted of songs and dances her mother (most inappropriately) taught her. She is rather spoiled and self-centered, but, under the circumstances, that is to be expected. After all…that French influence. The good Jane sets about putting young Adele’s shortcomings to rights; this includes tutelage by herself and later a proper boarding school. All this has a beneficial effect on Adele; she grows into a lovely and mature young lady, at least in Jane’s eyes. We rather think the winnowing out of “her French defects” turns her into someone more suitable to be, well, a proper English governess.

Childrens Books


We cannot find any childrens books with the first name Adele

Popular Songs


We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Adele

Famous People


Adele Adkins (British soul singer known simply as Adele)
Adele Astaire (dancer, sister of Fred Astaire)
Adèle of Champagne (12th century Queen Consort of France)
Adele Silva (English actress)
Adele Jergens (early American actress)
Adele Mara (actress and pinup girl)
Adèle (the name of several French noblewomen)

Children of Famous People


We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Adele

Historic Figures


We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Adele