LANCE m English
From the Germanic name Lanzo
, originally a short form of names that began with the element land
meaning "land". During the Middle Ages it became associated with Old French lance
"spear, lance". A famous bearer is American cyclist Lance Armstrong (1971-).
LARA (1) f Russian, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian
Russian short form of LARISA
. It was introduced to the English-speaking world by a character from Boris Pasternak's novel 'Doctor Zhivago' (1957) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1965).
LARISA f Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Latvian, Greek Mythology
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient city of Larisa in Thessaly, which meant "citadel". In Greek legends, the nymph Larisa was either a daughter or mother of Pelasgus, the ancestor of the mythical Pelasgians. This name was later borne by a 4th-century Greek martyr who is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Church. The name (of the city, nymph and saint) is commonly Latinized as Larissa
, with a double s
LÁSZLÓ m Hungarian
Hungarian form of VLADISLAV
. Saint László was an 11th-century king of Hungary, looked upon as the embodiment of Christian virtue and bravery.
LAUMA f Latvian, Baltic Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Latvian mythology this is the name of a forest spirit sometimes associated with childbirth and weaving.
LAURA f English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Late Roman
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Laurus
, which meant "laurel". This meaning was favourable, since in ancient Rome the leaves of laurel trees were used to create victors' garlands. The name was borne by the 9th-century Spanish martyr Saint Laura, who was a nun thrown into a vat of molten lead by the Moors. It was also the name of the subject of poems by the 14th-century Italian poet Petrarch.... [more]
LAURENCE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Laurentius
, which meant "from Laurentum". Laurentum was a city in ancient Italy, its name probably deriving from Latin laurus
"laurel". Saint Laurence was a 3rd-century deacon and martyr from Rome. According to tradition he was roasted alive on a gridiron because, when ordered to hand over the church's treasures, he presented the sick and poor. Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in the Christian world (in various spellings).... [more]
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.
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.
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.
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-).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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'.
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.
LINAS m Lithuanian
Lithuanian form of LINUS
. This is also the Lithuanian word for "flax" (a cognate of the name's root).
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
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
LLEU m Welsh Mythology
Probably a Welsh form of LUGUS
. In the Mabinogion, Lleu Llaw Gyffes is the son of Arianrhod
. He was raised by his uncle Gwydion
, who helped him overcome the curses that his mother placed upon him.
LLYWELYN m Welsh
Possibly a Welsh form of the old Celtic name Lugubelenus
, a combination of the names of the gods LUGUS
. Alternatively it may be derived from Welsh llyw
"leader". This was the name of several Welsh rulers, notably the 13th-century Llywelyn the Great who fought against England.
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.
LON m English
Short form of ALONZO
and other names containing the same sound. Famous bearers were American actors Lon Chaney Sr. (1883-1930) and Lon Chaney Jr. (1906-1973). The elder's birth name was Leonidas.
LOREDANA f Italian, Romanian
Used by the French author George Sand for a character in her novel 'Mattea' (1833) and later 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
LORENZO m Italian, Spanish
Italian and Spanish form of Laurentius
(see LAURENCE (1)
). Lorenzo de' Medici (1449-1492), known as the Magnificent, was a ruler of Florence during the Renaissance. He was also a great patron of the arts who employed Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli and other famous artists.
LOT (1) m Biblical, Biblical Hebrew
Means "covering, veil" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a nephew of Abraham
. Before Sodom was destroyed by God, he was directed to flee the city without looking back. However, his wife looked back on the destruction and was turned into a pillar of salt.
LOTHAR m German, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Chlodochar
meaning "famous army", derived from the elements hlud
"famous" and hari
"army". This was the name of a 9th-century Frankish king, the son of Louis I, who ruled the region called Lorraine
. It was also borne by medieval kings of France, Italy and the Holy Roman Empire.
LOUIS m French, English, Dutch
French form of Ludovicus
, the Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne
. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig
), Hungary (as Lajos
), and other places.... [more]
LOUISA f English, German, Dutch
Latinate feminine form of LOUIS
. A famous bearer was the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of 'Little Women'.
LOUP m French
French form of the Late Latin name Lupus
which meant "wolf". Lupus was the name of several early saints, including a 5th-century bishop of Troyes who apparently convinced Attila
to spare the city.
LUANA f English, Italian, Portuguese
From the movie 'Bird of Paradise' (1932), in which it was borne by the main character, a Polynesian girl. The movie was based on a 1912 play of the same name set in Hawaii.
LUCIA f Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Slovak, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of LUCIUS
. Saint Lucia was a 4th-century martyr from Syracuse. She was said to have had her eyes gouged out, and thus she is the patron saint of the blind. She was widely revered in the Middle Ages, and her name has been used throughout Christian Europe (in various spellings). It has been used in the England since the 12th century, usually in the spellings Lucy
LUCINDA f English, Portuguese, Literature
An elaboration of LUCIA
created by Cervantes for his novel 'Don Quixote' (1605). It was subsequently used by Molière in his play 'The Doctor in Spite of Himself' (1666).
LUCIUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical, English
Roman praenomen, or given name, which was derived from Latin lux
"light". This was the most popular of the praenomina. Two Etruscan kings of early Rome had this name as well as several prominent later Romans, including Lucius Annaeus Seneca (known simply as Seneca), a statesman, philosopher, orator and tragedian. The name is mentioned briefly in the New Testament belonging to a Christian in Antioch. It was also borne by three popes, including the 3rd-century Saint Lucius. Despite this, the name was not regularly used in the Christian world until after the Renaissance.
LUCRETIA f Ancient Roman, Roman Mythology
Feminine form of the Roman family name Lucretius
, possibly from Latin lucrum
"profit, wealth". In Roman legend Lucretia was a maiden who was raped by the son of the king of Rome. This caused a great uproar among the Roman citizens, and the monarchy was overthrown. This name was also borne by a saint and martyr from Spain.
LUDGER m German, Dutch
From the Germanic name Leudagar
which was derived from the elements leud
"people" and ger
"spear". Saint Ludger was an 8th-century Frisian Benedictine bishop who founded a monastery at Munster.
LUDIVINE f French
Possibly from a feminine form of LEUTWIN
. It was popularized in the 1970s by a character from the television miniseries 'Les Gens de Mogador'.
LUDMILA f Czech, Russian
Means "favour of the people" from the Slavic elements lyudu
"people" and milu
"gracious, dear". Saint Ludmila was a 10th-century duchess of Bohemia, the grandmother of Saint Václav. She was murdered on the orders of her daughter-in-law Drahomíra.... [more]
LUDOVIC m French
Medieval Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of an 1833 opera by the French composer Fromental Halévy.
LUDOVIKO m Esperanto
Esperanto form of LUDWIG
. This is the Esperanto name of the philologist Ludwig Zamenhof (1859-1917), the creator of the Esperanto language.
LUDWIG m German
From the Germanic name Chlodovech
, which was composed of the elements hlud
"famous" and wig
"war, battle". This was the name of three Merovingian kings of the Franks (though their names are usually spelled in the Latinized form Clovis
) as well as several Carolingian kings and Holy Roman Emperors (names often spelled in the French form Louis
). Other famous bearers include the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), who contributed to logic and the philosophy of language.
LUITGARD f German, Ancient Germanic
From the Germanic name Leutgard
which was derived from the elements leud
"people" and gard
"enclosure". This was the name of a 13th-century Flemish nun, the patron saint of easy deliveries.
LUKE m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Λουκας (Loukas)
which meant "from Lucania", Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul
. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]