Originally an Old French form of Helen, but now generally regarded as an independent name. The Greek and Latin forms of the name had a long vowel in the second syllable, which produced this form (as opposed to Ellen) in Old French. In Arthurian legend, Elaine is the name of one of the women who fell in love with Lancelot. The name occurs in this form in the 15th-century English Morte d'Arthur of Thomas Malory. In the 19th century it was popularized in one of Tennyson's Idylls of the King (1859). Most of the characters in Arthurian legend have names that are Celtic in origin, although subjected to heavy French influence, and it has therefore been suggested that Elaine may actually be derived from a Welsh word meaning ‘hind’ or ‘fawn’.