"heir, descendant"

Leif Origin and Meaning

The name Leif is a boy's name of Scandinavian origin meaning "heir, descendant".

Leif is one of the most recognizable Scandinavian names, thanks to Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson, and is still one of the best, with a pleasant aural association with the word leaf.

Leif Erikson, son of explorer Eric the Red, was the first European to land in North America--some five hundred years before Columbus. Centuries later, the name became associated in the U.S. with 1970s teen idol Leif Garrett, the name peaking on the charts at Number 654 in 1970, dropping off completely in 1987. It climbed back onto the Top 1000 in 2014.

Pronounced LAYF in its Scandinavian milieu, Leif and Lief are sometimes pronounced as Leaf in English-speaking countries. Joaquin Phoenix was for a time known as Leaf, in keeping with the nature names of his siblings.

# 860 in the US

Leif Rank in US Top 1000

# 368 on Nameberry

Leif Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Leif Popularity

Famous People Named Leif

  • Leif EriksonIcelandic explorer; first European to arrive in the New World
  • Leif Erickson (born William Wycliffe Anderson)American actor
  • Leif Garrett (born Leif Per Nervik)American actor and singer
  • Leif EngerAmerican novelist
  • Leif MansonAmerican reality TV personality ("Survivor: One World")
  • Leif HosteBelgian cyclist
  • George Livingston "Leif" ShirasAmerican tennis player
  • Leif Ove AndsnesNorwegian pianist
  • Leif CoorlimAmerican journalist
  • Leif ReidAmerican lawyer; son of politician U.S. politician Harry Reid
  • Leif Albert Lotman (b. 2016)son of volleyball player Paul Lotman
  • Leif Ostrumson of actor Peter Ostrum

Leif in Pop Culture

  • Leif ( Reiji in JP ) the Slotha garden shop owner from the Animal Crossing games.
  • Leifcharacter in 'Arcadia' by Lauren Groff.
  • Leif Bornewell IIIa character from the Nickelodeon cartoon "Welcome To The Wayne"
  • Leifcharacter in NBC's "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist"