The first known bearer of the name was Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was named after her mother, Aénor de Châtellerault, and called Aliénor, (from Alia-Aénor), which means other-Aénor in Occitan). It became “Eléanor” in the northern Langue d’oïl and in English. Therefore the meaning of the name is sometimes given as “The Other.” Aénor is a Provençal name whose meaning is not surely known, maybe coming from Latin lenire (“to heal”). In English the name is sometimes connected to Elena, Ellen or Elaine (Helen, Helene) as well. It could be connected to the Greek eleos (“compassion”) as well. There is however an earlier Eleanor on record. Eleanor of Normandy, William the Conqueror’s aunt, lived a century earlier than Eleanor of Aquitaine. The story of her might be apocryphal.
Cognates of the name in different languages include Leonor (Portuguese pronunciation: [le.o.ˈnoɾ])(Spanish and Portuguese), Eléonore (French), and Eleonora (Italian). The similar Hebrew name Elior means “God is light”. The similar-sounding Arabic Allahu Nuri also means “God is my light”; the modern version is Nurullah (Noorullah) (“light of God”).