Of Germanic origin, introduced to Britain by the Normans. It was originally a short form of any of various compound names containing ali ‘other, foreign’ (compare Eleanor). It is now often taken to be a variant or pet form of Ellen. It was famously borne by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996), and has become increasingly popular in Britain since the 1990s.
English and French: occupational name for a farm bailiff, responsible for overseeing the collection of rent in kind into the barns and storehouses of the lord of the manor. This official had the Anglo-Norman French title grainger, Old French grangier, from Late Latin granicarius, a derivative of granica ‘granary’ (see Grange).