fem. proper name, a form of Elizabeth that seems to have developed in Provence. A popular English name in the Middle Ages; pet forms included Ibb, Libbe, Nibb, Tibb, Bibby, and Ellice. The Spanish form was Isabella, which is attested as a color name ("greyish-yellow") in English from c. 1600; the Isabella who gave her name to it has not been identified, and the usual stories are too late for the date. Related: Isabelline (adj.).
updated on October 10, 2017