Leo Origin and Meaning

The name Leo is a boy's name of German, Latin origin meaning "lion".

Leo is a strong-yet-friendly name that was common among the Romans, used for thirteen popes, and is now at its highest point ever in the US thanks in part to Leonardo "Leo" DiCaprio.

Derived from the Latin meaning "lion", Leo is one of those names, like Luke and Finn, that many people assume must be short for something but that is authentically a complete name in its own right. That said, Leo can but short for any number of names, from Leonardo in Latinate languages to Leon and Leopold in Germanic languages. We've even heard of little girl Leonoras and Leonies called Leo: How cute is that?

Leo's simplicity makes it an international star, ranking in the Top 100 in countries as diverse as Ireland and Israel, Spain and Sweden, Austria and Australia. Leo is a truly diverse name, a perfect choice for any family crossing countries or blending cultures.

Leo's only real downside is its universal popularity and familiarity. If you call your child Leo, you and they will almost certainly encounter many other Leos over the years of all types and ages. Plus or minus? Or both?

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem called their son Leo, as did actress Kim Raver, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and Kristin Olson.

Famous Leos of the past include Pope Leo the Great, a number of early saints, and Leo Tolstoy, as well as Dead End Kid Gorcey, colorful baseball manager Durocher, influential gallerist Castelli and the leonine MGM icon. There have been Leos seen on everything from The West Wing to Charmed to Grey's Anatomy to Seinfeld's Uncle Leo.

# 18 in the US

Leo Rank in US Top 1000

# 32 on Nameberry

Leo Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Leo Popularity

Famous People Named Leo

  • Saint Leo of CataniaItalian bishop
  • Leo IXIII, popes
  • Leo IVI, Byzantine Emperors
  • Leo IV, Kings of Armenia
  • (Georg) Leo Graf von CapriviChancellor of Germany
  • Leonardo Wilhelm "Leo" DiCaprioAmerican actor and producer
  • Leo HowardAmerican actor
  • Leo Gordon LaporteAmerican broadcaster and author
  • Leo Joseph RyanU.S. Congressman from California
  • Lev "Leo" Nikolayevich TolstoyRussian novelist
  • Leo ArnaudFrench composer
  • Leo Bernard GorceyAmerican actor
  • Leo Gratten CarrollEnglish actor
  • (Clément Philibert) Léo DelibesFrench composer
  • Clarence Leonidas "Leo" FenderAmerican guitar maker
  • Leo de BerardinisItalian actor
  • Leo Freiherr von KönigGerman painter
  • Gerard Hugh "Leo" SayerBritish,Australian singer,songwriter
  • Leo Ku (KuiKei), Hong Kong pop singer
  • Leo MelamedAmerican attorney; chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
  • Leo SzilardHungarian,American physicist and inventor
  • Joseph Viateur "Léo" DandurandCanadian businessman and NHL team owner
  • Leostage name of Jung Taekwoon of Korean boy band VIXX
  • Lionel "Leo" MessiArgentine footballer
  • Leo Burkering name of Leonce Cormier, Canadian pro wrestler
  • Leo Kipling Boyer (b. 2007)son of actors Kim Raver and Manuel Boyer
  • Leo Benjamin Gordon (b. 2010)son of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon
  • Leonardo "Leo" Encinas Cruz (b. 2011)son of actor Javier Bardem and actress Penelope Cruz
  • Leo Grey McElhenney (b. 2012)son of actors Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney
  • Leo Ezra Egan (b. 2015)late son of TV chef Kelsey Nixon and Robby Egan
  • Leo Streitenfeld (b. 2009)son of actress Julie Delpy and composer Marc Streitenfeld
  • Leo Powell (b. 2011)son of actor Drew Powell
  • Leo James Routh (b. 2012)son of actors Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford
  • Leo Federer (b. 2014)son of tennis player Roger Federer
  • Leo Thames Newman (b. 2015)son of actress and model Jaime King
  • Leo Hijazi (b.2017)son Jaime Pressly and Hamzi Hijazi. Twin brother to Lenon Hijazi
  • Leo James Maguire (b. 2017)son of English actor Sean Maguire
  • Leo Hardyson of Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley.

Leo in Pop Culture

  • Leo Valdezfrom Rick Riordan's "Heroes of Olympus" book series
  • Uncle LeoJerry's Uncle on 'Seinfeld'
  • Leo WyattCharmed
  • Leoa Zodiac sign
  • Leo McGarryfictional character on the television serial drama The West Wing
  • Leo FoxeDonnell, character in the novel 'A Nest of Simple Folk'
  • Leo Plumbcharacter in novel "The Nest"
  • Leo Biedermanfrom movie "Deep Impact" played by Elijah Wood
  • Leopold "Leo" Fitza character on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Leo Koenigfrom the movie "Funny People"
  • Leo Francis Dooleya character on the Disney XD show Lab Rats
  • Leo Fitzgeraldcharacter in The Willow Falls series by Wendy Mass
  • Leo Borlockcharacter in Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl
  • Leocharacter portrayed by Tommy Chong on That '70s Show
  • Leo the Lion'Loke,' a celestial spirit in the manga/anime, 'Fairy Tail'
  • Leo Hendriecharacter from the TV series "Chasing Life", played by Scott Michael Foster
  • Leo Rothcharacter on the Red Band Society played by Charlie Rowe
  • Leo Spitzcharacter from the movie "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
  • Leo CastellanoThe Mindy Project (Mindy and Danny's son)
  • Leo CallistoFather in the Disney Jr cartoon series "Miles from Tomorrowland"
  • Leofrom the video game Fire Emblem: Fates.
  • Sergeant Leo Barnes from The Purge: Anarchy & The Purge: Election Year.
  • Leo de la IglesiaAmerican skater from the anime 'Yuri!!! on Ice'.
  • Leo Bylercharacter from the movie "Mute"
  • Leo Cruzcharacter from Netflix's "Greenhouse Academy"

Leo in Nameberry Blog Posts