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.
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.
LEATRICE f English
Possibly a combination of LEAH
. This name was first brought to public attention by the American actress Leatrice Joy (1893-1985).
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.
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
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.
LENA f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, Portuguese
Scandinavian, German and Polish short form of HELENA
, and a Russian short form of YELENA
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).
LEOCADIA f Spanish, Late Roman
Late Latin name perhaps derived from Greek λευκος (leukos)
meaning "bright, clear, white". Saint Leocadia was a 3rd-century martyr from Spain.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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).
LILAC f English (Rare)
From the name of the shrub with purple or white flowers. It is derived via Arabic from Persian.
LILAVATI f Indian, Hindi (Rare)
Means "amusing, charming, graceful" in Sanskrit. The 12th-century mathematician Bhaskara named one of his systems of mathematics after his daughter Lilavati. This was also the name of a 13th-century queen of Sri Lanka.
LILITH f Near Eastern Mythology, Judeo-Christian Legend
Derived from Akkadian lilitu
meaning "of the night". This was the name of a demon in ancient Assyrian myths. In Jewish tradition she was Adam
's first wife, sent out of Eden and replaced by Eve
because she would not submit to him. The offspring of Adam (or Samael
) and Lilith were the evil spirits of the world.
LILLIAN f English
Probably originally a diminutive of ELIZABETH
. It may also be considered an elaborated form of LILY
, from the Latin word for "lily" lilium
. This name has been used in England since the 16th century.
LILOU f French
Either a diminutive of French names containing the sound lee
or a combination of LILI
LILY f English
From the name of the flower, a symbol of purity. The word is ultimately derived from Latin lilium
LIN m & f Chinese
From Chinese 林 (lín)
meaning "forest" or 琳 (lín)
meaning "fine jade, gem". Other characters can also form this name.
LINDA f English, Dutch, German, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, French, Latvian, Finnish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Ancient Germanic
Originally a medieval short form of Germanic names containing the element linde
meaning "soft, tender". It also coincides with the Spanish and Portuguese word linda
LINDSAY f & m English, Scottish
From an English and Scottish surname which was originally derived from the name of the region Lindsey
, which means "LINCOLN
island" in Old English. As a given name it was typically masculine until the 1960s (in Britain) and 1970s (in America) when it became popular for girls, probably due to its similarity to Linda
and because of American actress Lindsay Wagner (1949-).
LINDY m & f English
Originally this was a masculine name, coming into use in America in 1927 when the dance called the Lindy Hop became popular. The dance was probably named for aviator Charles Lindbergh. Later this name was used as a diminutive of LINDA
LING f & m Chinese
From Chinese 灵 (líng)
meaning "spirit, soul", 铃 (líng)
meaning "bell, chime", or other Chinese characters which are pronounced similarly.
LINNÉA f Swedish
From the name of a flower, also known as the twinflower. The Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus named it after himself, it being his favourite flower.
LIRON m & f Hebrew
Means "song for me" or "joy for me" in Hebrew.
LISA f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Italian
Short form of ELIZABETH
. This is the name of the subject of one of the world's most famous paintings, the 'Mona Lisa', the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo by Leonardo da Vinci.
LITA f English
Short form of names ending in lita
. This name was brought to the public eye in the 1920s due to Lita Grey (1908-1995), who was the second wife of Charlie Chaplin. Her birth name was Lillita Louise MacMurray.
LIV (1) f Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Derived from the Old Norse name Hlíf
meaning "protection". Its use has been influenced by the modern Scandinavian word liv
LIZ f English
Short form of ELIZABETH
. This is the familiar name of actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-).
LLINOS f Welsh
Means "greenfinch" in Welsh. The greenfinch is a small, green, European bird.
LOGAN m & f Scottish, English
From a surname which was originally derived from a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow" in Scottish Gaelic.
LOIS (1) f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωιων (loion)
meaning "more desirable" or "better". Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice
and the grandmother of Timothy
. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
LONDON f & m English (Modern)
From the name of the capital city of the United Kingdom, the meaning of which is uncertain. As a surname it was borne by the American author Jack London (1876-1916).
LOREDANA f Italian, Romanian
Created by the French author George Sand for a character in her novel 'Mattea' (1833) and later used by the Italian author Luciano Zuccoli in his novel 'L'amore de Loredana' (1908). It was possibly based on the Venetian surname Loredan
, which was derived from the place name Loreo
LORELEI f Germanic Mythology
From a Germanic name meaning "luring rock". This is the name of a rock headland on the Rhine River. Legends say that a maiden named the Lorelei lives on the rock and lures fishermen to their death with her song.
LORENA (2) f English
Latinized form of LAUREN
. This name was first brought to public attention in America by the song 'Lorena' (1856), written by Joseph Webster, who was said to have created the name as an anagram of LENORE
(from the character in Poe's poem 'The Raven').
LORETO f & m Italian, Spanish
From the name of a town in Italy, originally called Lauretum
in Latin, meaning "laurel grove". Supposedly in the 13th century the house of the Virgin Mary
was miraculously carried by angels from Nazareth to the town.