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User comments for Jelena
I'm a half Croatian, half Montenegrean living in Croatia and I could tell you as a fact that name JELENA does not have much to do with HELENA simply because JELEN in Serbo-Croatian means DEER and JELENA would directly mean 'from the deer' or even the female deer.
My name is Jelena (pronounced Yelena). I am from Serbia and know for sure that the meaning of this name is the same as for Helena. It's the same name, only a Slavic version.
Jelen - does mean deer in Serbocroatian, but the name is not related to this.
As well as I know, Jelena or Helena has old Greek origin and means something like Sunshine.
I was told that the name is derived from the male version of Julias. From my Italian side. My second son is named Julian after my mother's father meaning fair-haired one. Not knowing he ended up with blonde hair, blue eyes. So far as origin, I have never heard of Serbian meaning "deer". If you are from certain areas in Italy, you would pronounce "Jelena" as "J" sound or as an "H" sound. I think that is where Helen came from.
It also means 'deer' in Serbian.
Jelena is a Slavic name. It's a very common mistake that people connect it to Helen/Helena. Very similar but not even close in etymology. Slavic people in pre-Christian times had very strong bond with nature and many names derive from flowers and trees as well as animals. The name comes from the word "jela" meaning "fir tree" with a VERY common ending "-ena" or "-ena" (although the "-en"/"-an" are from the stem word in adjective form). Alternatively the name could be from the word for "deer" as animal names are used in personal names as well. The name was equated to Helen due to its similar spelling and pronunciation. The name is found amongst Slavic peoples even before Slavic-Greek interaction. Amongst Slavs the Greek name is usually found as Elena both an equivalent to Greek Helena/Elena. Russians have Elena, as do Macedonians and Bulgarians but also Jelena.
― Anonymous User
Male: Jelen, Jelenko, Jelibor, Jelimil, Jelimir, Jelinko.
Female: Jela, Jelena, Jelenka, Jelibora, Jeliborka, Jelika, Jelina, Jelinka, Jelica, Jelka, Jelkica, Jeluša.
All of these names are found in old Slavic records, placenames etc. When Slavs practically haven't heard of Greek Helen/Helena. The male names and other variations prove without a doubt that the name is either from "deer" or "fir tree" or both.
Jelka, Jelkica clearly show that the name means fir tree because the former name is also a noun for the Christmas tree and the latter a diminutive of the former. Jela is a synonym for "jelka".
The proper Latvian spelling is Jeļena, not Jelena. It's probably best to create a separate entry for the Latvian form. [noted -ed]
It's more likely that it derives from the word for the fir tree. There is even a Serbian idiom "vita kao jela" (slender as a fir tree) when referring to a girl or a female in general. It is of course a positive thing. And I think it should be added to the information given for the name, that it is associated with "jela" (fir tree) as well as "jelen" although the former is more probable. [noted -ed]
Another small note: while "jelen" does mean deer in general, it also denotes the male (of red deer in particular), i.e. a stag/hart/buck. [noted -ed]
― Anonymous User
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