Quick Facts on Leila
- Arabic, English
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
LAY-lə, LEE-lə, or LIE-lə
Night, dark beauty
Etymology & Historical Origin - Leila
The name Leila is a spelling variant of the name Layla, both of which have Arabic origins. In Arabic, “leila” means “night.” Arabs would use this name for their daughters in the convention of describing the quality or character of the baby; as such it has come to mean “dark beauty” or “one who was born at night.” The name has been in use since medieval times inspired by the true Arabian legend of “Qays and Layla” – a story of unrequited love. These young virgin lovers fall so deeply in love that they are barely able to contain their devotion. Causing quite the scandal in their community, Quys is denied her hand in marriage and kept from seeing her. He flees the tribe, wanders in the wilderness chanting love poems about his darling Layla, eventually descends into madness and finally dies. Originally an Arab/Muslim name, Leila (and its variants such as Layla and Laila) has acquired currency in both the English-speaking world and the Nordic nations in particular. It is more commonly thought of as an internationally adopted name at this point as evidenced by the growing number of spelling variations: Layla, Laila, Laylah and Lailah for instance. The variant of Leila is perhaps the oldest in the English-speaking world, introduced by Lord Byron in the early 19th century as a character in his poems “The Giaour” (1813) and “Don Juan” (1819).
Popularity of the Name Leila
Leila has been in continual use in the United States since the U.S. government began tracking naming trends as far back as 1880. The name was most popular in the 19th century, probably inspired by Lord Byron’s poetry. In any case, as we entered the 20th century, the name began to wane in popularity. By the 1970s, 80s and 90s, the usage of Leila was so scarce that the name came very close to falling off the charts altogether. The future began to look brighter for Leila by the late 1990s and in the past 15 years, the name has regained close to 800 positions on the charts. Leila is now very close to making the Top 200 list. Not quite as popular as her sister-names Layla, Laila, Lila, or Lyla, Leila is still holding her own on the charts. It’s a beautiful name and (we think) classical spelling. In Arab naming conventions, the laqab is the portion of a person’s name intended as a description of the person. In this tradition, the name Leila would be used for a little baby girl born at night or one with a dark-complexion. Is Leila going to be your little dark beauty?
Popularity of the Girl Name Leila
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Leila
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Leila
Leila (Don Juan) Leila is a character in Lord Byron’s classic poem, Don Juan, begun in 1819. During his many adventurous voyages, Don Juan rescues this ten year old Muslim orphan girl from the Cossacks, and sees to her well-being as if she were his own. Although she is young and female at a time that does not make many allowances for either, Leila is formidable in her own sense of self. She resolutely refuses to convert to Christianity and maintains her dignified individuality against all odds.
Leila (The Giaour) Leila is the main character in yet another of Byron’s narrative poems, The Giaour, first published in 1813. Leila, a member of Hassan’s harem, falls in love with the giaour (infidel/foreigner), and is subjected to the traditional punishment for same, i.e., Hassan has her sewn into a sack and throws her to her death in the sea. For this, the giaour murders Hassan, and then, in grief and repentance, spends the rest of his own life in a monastery. The story is told in a Rashomon-style narrative, from several points of view – that of a poet-traveler, a Moslem fisherman, a monk, and the giaour himself. No one, it appears, asks the lady herself her thoughts on the matter.
Popular Songs on Leila
Leila - a song by ZZ Top
Like Leila Khaled Said - a song by The Teardrop Explodes
Children's Books on the Baby Name Leila
Leila's Magical Monster Party (Ann Jungman) - Leila invites all the fairytale baddies to her party. The result? Chaos! Recommended for ages 7-10.
Leila's Nowruz Adventure: Activity and Coloring Book (Solmaz Parveen) - Jump over bonfires, decorate eggs, visit relatives and play outdoors. The Persian New Year is a time to freshen your home, plant new seeds, cook a feast, give gifts to friends, and welcome the brand-new year! You are invited to learn about and celebrate the Persian New Year with Leila and her family this year. This educational activity book explores the traditions surrounding Nowruz (also Nowrooz, Norooz, Noruz, Norouz) while encouraging creativity and learning. Inside you will find over 100 pages of word and number games, drawing and doodling activities, mazes, coloring pages, and more. Recommended for ages 7-10.
Famous People Named Leila
Famous People Named Leila - Leila Pahlavi (Iranian princess); Leila Hyams (actress); Leila Josefowicz (classical violinist); Leila Hatami (Iranian actress); Leila Alice Denmark, M.D. (physician and supercentenarian)
Children of Famous People Named Leila
Famous People who Named their Daughter Leila - Judy Reyes (actress); Vincent D'Onofrio (actor)
Leila - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures
Leila - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Leila.
Personality of the Girl Name Leila
The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.
Variations of the Baby Name - Leila