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Gender: F Meaning of Lorelei: "alluring, temptress" Origin of Lorelei: German Lorelei's Popularity in 2013: #501

Popularity: this week.

Its double role as the mother and daughter --and even grandmother--on TV's The Gilmore Girls modernized, humanized, and popularized a name previously associated with the mythic seductive siren and the gold digger portrayed by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

In old German legend, Lorelei was the name of the beautiful Rhine River seductress whose haunting voice led sailors to hazardous rocks that would cause them to be shipwrecked. And this siren image clung to the name for ages.

The popularity of the name has zigzagged in tandem with the more modern cultural references. There was something of an upswing following the Marilyn incarnation of 1953, and again starting in 2004 via The Gilmore Girls - who, by the way, used an alternate spelling, Lorelai.

That show also demonstrated that the dated Lori wasn't the only short form of the name: daughter Lorelai was known as Rory, Grandma's seemingly unrelated nickname was Trix.

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Famous People Named Lorelei

Luisana Loreley Lopilato de la Torre (b. 1987), Argentine actress and model; the wife of Canadian singer Michael Buble

Pop Culture References for the Name Lorelei

"Die Lorelei," Heine's famous German-language poem (beginning "I know not what it means, that I am so sad...")
Lorelei Lee, good-looking moron who does well ("A girl can't keep on laughing all the time") in Anita Loos' "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1925); played by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film adaptation
Lorelai Victoria Gilmore is the mother in the American TV series "Gilmore Girls;" Lorelai Leigh "Rory" Gilmore is the daughter
Lorelei, Marvel Comics character
Lorelei, Styx song

Laurelei, Laurelie, Loralee, Loralei, Loralie, Loralyn, Lorelai, Lorelie, Lorilee, Lorilyn, Lura, Lurette, Lurleen, Lurlene, Lurline