In This Article

Origin, Meaning, And History of Zelma

Zelma, a feminine name, is popularly used in English cultures. It is a known variant of the English name Selma, which etymologists believe could be a short form of the German name Anselma. Interestingly, Anselma is the feminine version of the German name Anselm, which is derived from the Old German elements ansi, meaning ‘god,’ and ‘helm,’ meaning ‘protection, helmet.’

Zelma could also be a diminutive of the Hungarian name Szalóme, implying ‘peace.’ Generally, historians associate white doves as symbols of peace, which could be suitable for your princess.

Anselm was heavily influential in the 11th century in England, thanks to Saint Anselm of Northern Italy, the Doctor of the Church, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Because of its cultural significance in Christianity, parents wanted to name their little girls with this variation. Therefore, Anselma was a popular feminine name in the region.

The popularity of Anselma inspired James Macpherson in the 18th century to write poems including the name Selma. Many literary works by him have Selma as the name of a castle owned by Ossian, a legendary hero in Scottish folklore.

Although Zelma as a name doesn’t first appear in any scriptures, a town in the MacKay Region of Queensland, Australia, is named Zelma. Furthermore, a small hamlet in Saskatchewan, Canada, is also named Zelma.

English-speaking individuals primarily prefer to pronounce it as ZEHL-mə. Several spelling alternatives of Zelma have been adopted by people, such as Zhelma, Zalma, and Zolma. Some popular nicknames for Zelma are Zel, Elm, Zela, Elma, Ellie, Ella and Zeli.

Marvel comic books have a character named Zelma Stanton who approaches Dr. Strange due to the manifestation of mind maggots on her head. He is able to treat her with his supernatural powers by providing her with some mystical antibodies, thus making him her close apprentice. Interestingly, the doll line ‘Groovy Girls’ features a doll in its collection named Zelma.


heart image
Zelma is the diminutive of Anselma and means protected by God.
German, Romanian
 Z..  Zu..  Zul..  Zal..  Zak..  Zel..  Zha..  Zle..  Zol.. 

How To Pronounce Zelma?


Famous People With The Name Zelma

  • Zelma DavisAmerican songwriter-singer who won four American Music Awards and five Billboard Music Awards
  • Zelma Hedin Swedish stage actress who is regarded as an elite actress of the Royal Dramatic Theatre
  • Zelma Henderson American plaintiff, known for the 1954 landmark federal school desegregation case that paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Rosa Zelma Huppatz South Australian matron and nurse who served during World War II in Australia and the Middle East
  • Zelma R. Long American vintner and enologist and is one of the female pioneers in California wine
  • Zelma Watson GeorgeAfrican-American philanthropist who won the Dahlberg Peace Award in 1963

Zelma On The Popularity Chart

Zelma, because of its uniqueness, has been popular as a baby name. Look at the graphs below to understand its trend better.

Popularity Over Time

Zelma hasn’t been popular with parents in the US, with the number of babies per million not going beyond 16 in any given year since the 1980s.

Source: Social Security Administration

Rank Over Time

Zelma’s ranking over the years has been constantly fluctuating for the last four decades, starting with the 1980s. Glance through the graph for detailed insight.

Source: Social Security Administration

Names With Similar Sound As Zelma

Here are some names for you if you like how quirky Zelma sounds for your baby.

Names With Similar Meaning As Zelma

Have you fallen in love with the meaning of Zelma for your little one but want to look into other names with the same meaning? Here are some of them.

Name Numerology For Zelma

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.