Noel, which is the French term for "Christmas", as well as a poetic English term for the same, is also used as a given name in English speaking countries, for both men and women.

In the United States, it is rare, but not incredibly so. According to census documentation, it is the 383rd most common name in the United States, with about 1 out of 3000 men holding the name. For women, "Noel" and its variants is slightly less common, which would be somewhat to my experience, although perhaps I have been misled by the ages of the people I have met. It seems to be a more common name in The United Kingdom, being one of those names, like Simon that appeals to the English but not to Americans. At least, the most famous Noel's I can think of off the top of my head are Noel Redding and Noel Coward, both English.

Noel is also one of my given names, although it is my middle name, where it is the American custom to stick the name that is distinctive, but might stick out too much if given as a first name. And indeed, I do like it as a middle name, but can imagine my life would be quite annoying with it as a first name, especially if I had to constantly explain that it was pronounced in the masculine fashion, with the second syllable as a schwa, instead of as the feminine "no-EL". I can only imagine the difficulties it would have created throughout my childhood.

No"el (?), n. [F. noel, L. natalis birthday, fr. natalis natal. See Natal.]

Same as Nowel.

 

© Webster 1913.

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