LAVERNE f & m English
From a surname which was derived from a French place name, ultimately derived from the Gaulish word vern
meaning "alder". It is sometimes associated with the Roman goddess Laverna
or the Latin word vernus
LAVINIA f Roman Mythology, Romanian
Meaning unknown, probably of Etruscan origin. In Roman legend Lavinia was the daughter of King Latinus, the wife of Aeneas
, and the ancestor of the Roman people. According to the legend Aeneas named the town of Lavinium in honour of his wife.
LAWAN f Thai
Possibly means "beautiful" in Thai.
LAWRENCE m English
Variant of LAURENCE (1)
. This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence
in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence
is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LAYLA f Arabic, English
Means "night" in Arabic. This was the name of the object of romantic poems written by the 7th-century poet known as Qays. The story of Qays and Layla became a popular romance in medieval Arabia and Persia. The name became used in the English-speaking world after the 1970 release of the song 'Layla' by Derek and the Dominos, the title of which was inspired by the medieval story.
LAYTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "settlement with a leek garden" in Old English.
LEAH f English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
From the Hebrew name לֵאָה (Le'ah)
which was probably derived from the Hebrew word לְאָה (le'ah)
meaning "weary". Alternatively it might derive from a Chaldean name meaning "mistress" or "ruler" in Akkadian. In the Old Testament Leah is the first wife of Jacob
and the mother of seven of his children. Jacob's other wife was Leah's sister Rachel
. Although this name was used by Jews in the Middle Ages, it was not typical as an English Christian name until after the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans.
LEANDER m Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of the Greek name Λεανδρος (Leandros)
, derived from λεων (leon)
meaning "lion" and ανηρ (aner)
meaning "man" (genitive ανδρος
). In Greek legend Leander was the lover of Hero. Every night he swam across the Hellespont to meet her, but on one occasion he was drowned when a storm arose. When Hero saw his dead body she threw herself into the waters and perished.
LEATRICE f English
Possibly a combination of LEAH
. This name was first brought to public attention by the American actress Leatrice Joy (1893-1985).
LEBERECHT m German (Rare)
Means "live rightly" from German lebe
"live" and recht
"right". This name was created in the 17th century.
LECH m Polish, Slavic Mythology
From the name of the Slavic tribe the Lendians, called the Lędzianie
in Polish. According to Slavic legend this was the name of the founder of the Polish people. A famous bearer was the Polish president Lech Wałęsa (1943-).
LEE m & f English
From a surname which was derived from Old English leah
meaning "clearing". The surname belonged to Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. In his honour, it has been commonly used as a given name in the American South.
LEGOLAS m Literature
Means "green leaves" in Sindarin, from laeg
"green" combined with go-lass
"collection of leaves". In 'The Lord of the Rings' (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Legolas is the son of the elf lord Thranduil and a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
LEHI m Biblical, Mormon
From an Old Testament place name meaning "jawbone" in Hebrew. It is also used in the Book of Mormon as the name of a prophet.
LEI (2) m & f Chinese
From Chinese 磊 (lěi)
meaning "pile of stones" (which is typically masculine) or 蕾 (lěi)
meaning "bud" (typically feminine). Other characters can also form this name.
LEIA f Biblical Greek, Popular Culture
Form of LEAH
used in the Greek Old Testament. This is the name of a princess in the 'Star Wars' movies by George Lucas, who probably based it on Leah
LEIF m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Old Norse name Leifr
meaning "descendant, heir". Leif Eriksson was a Norse explorer who reached North America in the early 11th century. He was the son of Erik the Red.
LEILA f Arabic, Persian, English, Georgian
Variant of LAYLA
. This spelling was used by Lord Byron for characters in 'The Giaour' (1813) and 'Don Juan' (1819), and it is through him that the name was introduced to the English-speaking world.
LEILANI f & m Hawaiian
Means "heavenly flowers" or "royal child" from Hawaiian lei
"flowers, lei, child" and lani
"heaven, sky, royal, majesty".
LEIMOMI f Hawaiian
Means "pearl lei" or "pearl child" from Hawaiian lei
"flowers, lei, child" and momi
LEITH m & f English (Rare)
From a surname, originally from the name of a Scottish town (now a district of Edinburgh), which is derived from Gaelic lìte
"wet, damp". It is also the name of the river that flows though Edinburgh.
LELAND m English
From a surname, originally from an English place name, which meant "fallow land" in Old English. A famous bearer was the politician, businessman and Stanford University founder Leland Stanford (1824-1893).
LEMMINKÄINEN m Finnish Mythology
Meaning unknown, possibly related to Finnish lempi
"love". In the Finnish epic the 'Kalevala' this is the name of an arrogant hero. After he was killed his mother fetched his body from the River of Death and restored him to life. He is sometimes identified with the god Ahti
LEMUEL m Biblical, Mormon, Biblical Hebrew
Means "belonging to God" in Hebrew. This was the name of a king briefly mentioned in Proverbs in the Old Testament. In the Book of Mormon it is the name of a son of Lehi and Sariah. It is also borne by the hero of Jonathan Swift's novel 'Gulliver's Travels' (1726).
LENA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, Portuguese, Greek
Short form of names ending in lena
, such as HELENA
LENNON m Scottish, English (Rare)
Anglicized form of the Irish surname Ó Leannáin
, which means "descendant of Leannán". The name Leannán
means "lover" in Gaelic. This surname was borne by musician John Lennon (1940-1980), a member of the Beatles.
LENNOX m Scottish, English (Rare)
From a Scottish surname which was derived from the name of a district in Scotland. The district, called Leamhnachd
in Gaelic, possibly means "place of elms".
LENORE f English
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was the name of the departed love of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe's poem 'The Raven' (1845).
LENZ m German
Short form of LORENZ
. This is also a German poetic word referring to the springtime.
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
meaning "lion", a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
LEOCADIA f Spanish, Late Roman
Late Latin name which might be derived from the name of the Greek island of Leucadia
or from Greek λευκος (leukos)
meaning "bright, clear, white" (which is also the root of the island's name). Saint Leocadia was a 3rd-century martyr from Spain.
LEOFWINE m Anglo-Saxon
Means "dear friend", derived from the Old English elements leof
"dear, agreeable, beloved" and wine
"friend". This was the name of an 8th-century English saint, also known as Lebuin, who did missionary work in Frisia.
LEÓN m Spanish
Spanish form of LEON
is also the name of a province in Spain, though the etymology is unrelated.
LEON m English, German, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Dutch, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". During the Christian era this Greek name was merged with the Latin cognate Leo
, with the result that the two forms are used somewhat interchangeably across European languages. In England during the Middle Ages this was a common name among Jews. A famous bearer was Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), a Russian Communist revolutionary.
LEONARD m English, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave lion", derived from the Germanic elements levon
"lion" and hard
"brave, hardy". This was the name of a 5th-century Frankish saint from Noblac who is the patron of prisoners and horses. The Normans brought this name to England, though it did not become common there until the 19th century.
LEONARDO m Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, History
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of LEONARD
. A notable bearer was Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), an Italian artist and scientist of the Renaissance. He is also known as the inventor of several contraptions, including flying machines, as well as the painter of the 'Mona Lisa'. Another famous bearer was Leonardo Fibonacci, a 13th-century Italian mathematician. A more recent bearer is American actor Leonardo DiCaprio (1974-).
LEONHARD m German
German form of LEONARD
. Leonhard Euler was a Swiss mathematician who made many important contributions to calculus, number theory, geometry and theoretical physics.
LEONIDAS m Greek, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion" combined with the patronymic suffix ιδης (ides)
. Leonidas was a Spartan king of the 5th century BC who sacrificed his life and his army defending the pass of Thermopylae from the Persians. This was also the name of a 3rd-century saint and martyr, the father of Origen, from Alexandria.
LEONOR f Spanish, Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese form of ELEANOR
. It was brought to Spain in the 12th-century by Eleanor of England, who married king Alfonso VIII of Castile.
LEONTIOS m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λεων (leon)
meaning "lion". This was the name of various early saints and martyrs. It was also borne by a 7th-century Byzantine emperor.
LEOPOLD m German, Dutch, English, Slovene, Polish
Derived from the Germanic elements leud
"people" and bald
"bold". The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo
"lion". This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria's uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920).
LEROY m English
From the French nickname le roi
meaning "the king". It has been common as an English given name since the 19th century.
LESLIE f & m English
From a Scottish surname which was derived from a Scottish place name, probably derived from Gaelic leas celyn
meaning "garden of holly". It has been used as a given name since the 19th century. In America it was more common as a feminine name after the 1940s.
LESTAT m Literature
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her 'Vampire Chronicles' series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l'estat
"state, status", though apparently her husband's name Stan
LESTER m English
From a surname which was derived from the name of the city of Leicester, originally denoting a person who was from that place. The city's name is derived from the river name Ligore
combined with Latin castra
LETA f English
Possibly derived from Latin laetus
meaning "glad". Otherwise, it could be a short form of names ending in leta
LETITIA f English
From the Late Latin name Laetitia
which meant "joy, happiness". This was the name of an obscure saint, who is revered mainly in Spain. It was in use in England during the Middle Ages, usually in the spelling Lettice
, and it was revived in the 18th century.
LEV (1) m Russian
Means "lion" in Russian, functioning as a vernacular form of Leo
. This was the real Russian name of both author Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1879-1940).
LEVENT m Turkish
From the Ottoman Turkish term levend
, referring to a member of the navy, which is possibly ultimately derived from Italian levante
"person from the eastern Mediterranean". The Turkish word has now come to mean "tall, handsome, roguish".
LEVENTE m Hungarian
Old Hungarian name, possibly of Slavic origin, or possibly from Hungarian lesz
"will be". This name was used by the Árpád royal family since at least the 10th century.
LEVI m Hebrew, English, Dutch, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Possibly means "joined, attached" in Hebrew. As told in the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Jacob
, and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of the Israelites, known as the Levites. This was the tribe that formed the priestly class of the Israelites. The brothers Moses
were members. In the New Testament this is another name for the apostle Matthew
. As an English Christian name, Levi
came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
LEVON m Armenian
Armenian form of LEON
. This was the name of several kings of Cilician Armenia, including the first king Levon I the Magnificent.
LEWIS m English
Medieval English form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), the author of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. This was also the surname of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the 'Chronicles of Narnia'.
LEXUS f English
Short form of ALEXUS
. Its use has been influenced by the Lexus brand name (a line of luxury automobiles made by Toyota).
LI (1) f & m Chinese
From Chinese 理 (lǐ)
meaning "reason, logic", 立 (lì)
meaning "stand, establish", 黎 (lí)
meaning "black, dawn", 力 (lì)
meaning "power, capability, influence" (which is usually only masculine) or 丽 (lì)
meaning "beautiful" (usually only feminine). Other Chinese characters are also possible.
LÍADAN f Irish
Means "grey lady" in Irish Gaelic. In Irish legend she was a poetess who became a nun, but then missed her lover Cuirithir so much that she died of grief.
LIBENA f Czech
Derived from the Czech element lib
LIBERIUS m Late Roman
Late Latin name which was derived from Latin liber
"free". This name was borne by a 2nd-century saint and a 4th-century pope.
LIBERTY f English
Simply from the English word liberty
, derived from Latin libertas
, a derivative of liber
"free". Interestingly, since 1880 this name has charted on the American popularity lists in three different periods: in 1918 (at the end of World War I), in 1976 (the American bicentennial), and after 2001 (during the War on Terrorism).
LIBORIUS m Late Roman
Possibly a variant of LIBERIUS
, or possibly a Latinized form of a Gaulish name. Saint Liborius was a 4th-century bishop of Le Mans.
LIBUŠE f Czech
Derived from the Czech element lib
meaning "love". In Czech legend Lubuše was the founder of Prague.
LIGEIA f Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek λιγυς (ligys)
meaning "clear-voiced, shrill, whistling". This was the name of one of the Sirens in Greek legend. It was also used by Edgar Allan Poe in his story 'Ligeia' (1838).