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Elena

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Gender: Female Pronunciation: ee-LAY-na or EH-leh-na Meaning of Elena: "bright, shining light" Origin of Elena: Spanish, Italian, German, Greek variation of Helen Elena's Popularity in 2018: #66

The name Elena is a girl's name of Spanish, Italian, Greek origin meaning "bright, shining light". Elena is ranked #66 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Names That Mean Light and discussed in our forums with posts like "Build a sibling set together!".

From the experts:

Elena, a pan-European version of Helen, has never been as popular in the U.S. as it is now thanks to the overall popularity of El-names. It's more exotic than Ellen or Eleanor, but still accessible. It is also ranking other countries as well--it is highly popular in Spain, where it is pronounced ee-LAY-na.

It may be because of the large Spanish-heritage community in the US that the ee-LAY-na pronunciation has traditionally been more common here. But in fact EH-leh-na -- basically Ellen with an a at the end -- is equally appropriate and the usual pronunciation in such countries as Italy and Germany. So English speakers can choose whichever pronunciation they prefer, but know that it will frequently be pronounced -- or in your eyes, mispronounced -- the other way.

A worthy namesake is Elena Kagan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the fourth female to hold that position. Pseudonymous Italian writer Elena Ferrante, author of the Neapolitan Novels, is another famous Elena. A fictional bearer is Elena Gilbert, protagonist of The Vampire Diaries. and Elena Lincoln is a character in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Find other names based on Elena using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Elena

Pop Culture References for the name Elena

Elaina, Lena, Elina, Eleen, Elene, Elen, Eleena, Elenitsa, Elenola, Elenoa, Elenka, Ellena, Eleana, Elana, Elenna

16 names similar to Elena

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Elena. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Elena, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

Comments

Malenkiy Says:

2018-07-09T03:22:45

It's also a variant transcription of Yelena, a Russian name.

espiritu-libre Says:

2018-02-01T01:57:11

I love this name, but I'm not a fan of it if it's not pronounced the Spanish way :/

aelis Says:

2018-01-06T20:38:49

In Italy the exotic-line of the name is unusual. I'm one who bring this
pronunciation because of my mother, who didn't want to call me Maddalena
(you know the tradition to carry the the grandma/pa's name), so she "cut" the name (we are all italians, imo
we haven't foreign ancestors). Obviously I felt different because the
other kids have italian names, while myself, even the name seems
italian, the pronunciation's not. Recently I discovered that the
pronunciation is very popular outside, and now I feel better about it.
Hearing my name in TV sounds really strange because it's like the
characters call me and not the girl who has my same name.

aelis Says:

2017-09-13T07:15:17

I thought I was the only one who has the spanish pronunciation (to make it so, there is an accent on the second "e", so people should call me Elèna). And I used to hate it because it was too unique.
I'm Italian.

xoxoAshleygirl Says:

2017-07-23T06:01:50

This is my middle name. I love it! I usually say uh-lay-na; I don't care for ee-lay-na.

sunshinehearts Says:

2017-05-10T13:47:21

HUGE fan of TVD here - and I want to name my future daughter "Alayna" but have been going back and forth with the "Elena" spelling. Absolute favorite name. As for Katherine - I LOVE that name too!! But, would hate to have my daughter nicknamed Kathy (but hey, it'll be her choice) also, my sister-In-law is named Katherine but she goes by Katie and lets just say that name is off the table because I despise my SIL. LOL Caroline is another favorite :)

kpearl8 Says:

2017-03-26T00:35:16

Actually, if we want to be really annoyingly technical, the Spanish vowel does not have a perfect match in English and is somewhere in between eh (in IPA lowercase epsilon, as in "bet") and ay (in IPA [eI] as in "bait"), represented simply by [e] in IPA. I would say that eh-LAY-nah is a closer approximation than eh-LEH-nah, but neither is entirely correct. What's more, it's silly to argue about such things because any name English speakers use from a different language will naturally be changed to fit English phonology, so it will never be "correct" anyway. This is not a bad thing, it's just how interaction between different languages works.

Elena Gonzales Says:

2017-03-25T23:52:10

My name is NOT pronounced ee-LAY-nay it's pronounced E-len-ah

lindseylou89 Says:

2017-02-08T01:32:57

A couple years ago I got Netflix and started watching The Vampire Diaries, and I was always fascinated/still am, in trying to find the perfect name I would love to give my daughter, and once I heard Bonnie call out Elena to get her attention I completely fell in love with the name. I still look for names that would one day catch my heart like this one for my future kid(s) but I always go back to this one. I am so sad though that the episodes are almost over and it won't be on anymore, I have fallen in love with that whole cast, Who still remembers Katherine? :)She was nuts but I loved her!! Haha

LittleMiss79 Says:

2016-12-30T18:27:36

In Romanian I've heard it pronounced both 'El-eh-nuh' and 'Eh-lay-na' (I think 'El-eh-nuh' is more popular). Lovely name but I couldn't use it here in the UK as I prefer the 'El-eh-nuh' pronunciation and I'm sure people here wouldn't say it this way (it's not a very well-known name here at all).

Irene Fitchell Says:

2016-11-30T18:46:50

Just like I don't get the "a" sound at the beginning according to how you like it said. There's only one way to pronounce the name, be it Spanish or Italian (almost identical). So just like you have your own take on its pronunciation and don't like sticking to the original one, be prepared for others to do the same.

Irene Fitchell Says:

2016-11-30T18:35:09

I'm sorry to correct you, but no. Spanish "e" is never pronounced "ay" but simply "eh".

Irene Fitchell Says:

2016-11-30T18:29:40

Its actual Spanish pronunciation is EH-LEH-NAH. "EE-Lay-Na" would be more like how foreigners mispronounce it. We have the Helena spelling as well (h is silent), though not as widespread.

Toronto87 Says:

2016-11-28T00:42:10

In Italy, this would be pronounced ellen-uh.

Daiseymae Says:

2016-10-09T17:34:47

My husband's family is from Colombia, and they all say A-lay-nuh. My daughter watches "Elena from Avilor" on Disney Jr., and it is also pronounced A-lay-nuh too. Elena Kagan also pronounces it that way too. To each their own.

ElenaCroatia Says:

2016-09-03T09:07:42

Love my name, but also don't like the way it's pronounced. I see that many Berries pronounce it like Ee-lay-na, and it just doesn't seem right to me. The only pronouncination I like is the way my family pronounces it and it is el-len-uh, and it annoys me when people call me ellen-a, which is the Italian way, I guess

forwritingreference Says:

2016-08-28T15:32:55

This is my name and I love it, even though it is often mispronounced. Personally I prefer the ee-Lay-na pronunciation

kxlly0614 Says:

2016-08-25T04:06:16

I have twin friends, and one of them is called Ellena (yes, two L's) Since she pronounced her name as Elehna, that pronunciation was very natural to me. After reading the comments, I am surprised that lots of people pronounce the name as Elayna.

forwritingreference Says:

2016-07-14T03:50:27

Elena is my name and I always have it mispronounced like that, so I'm sure people would be able to pronounce it that way

Elr5000 Says:

2016-06-24T18:21:17

Because in Spanish, "e" is pronounced as "ay" so the second part becomes "layna". You can say it however you want, but maybe try to understand a little instead of playing dumb?

Eli Says:

2016-05-16T19:34:19

I hope to have a girl this will be her name

caetano Says:

2016-02-02T02:30:49

its eh-lay-nuh to me. Love it!

oliviamcdonald Says:

2016-01-29T06:14:12

I would pronounce it ellen- uh. That's how it looks to me. I think it's very pretty.

Elena D. Says:

2015-09-19T21:52:53

Hey my name is Elena too! "el-len-uh", my grandma was Spanish, my grandfather Italian, her name was the spanish way, but my grandfather called her "ellenuh"When my mom married an Italian man I took on the
'ellena' pronunciation. Sure I have to correct every new person I meet but I like that it is unique!

chi1127 Says:

2015-07-27T15:53:54

Where are they getting the "ee" in the pronunciation? It's not an English name.

indiefendi2 Says:

2015-06-24T04:11:25

I'd like this if it could also be pronounced Ellen-a

Amanda Says:

2015-06-05T00:05:48

This will be my daughter's name. We pronounce it like Helena, without the H. I don't get how folks get a hard "A" sound out of the second "e." I always see that hard "A" in Elaina. So, it does not make sense why these two spellings would be pronounced the same. That said, I love the name pronounced the way we do it. :-)

breanna1995 Says:

2015-04-14T15:54:10

How does that have anything to do with race?

bootsie Says:

2015-04-11T11:37:14

It's the spanish variation, therefore the name is pronounced differently.

dystopian_nightmare Says:

2015-02-10T05:33:40

The Vampire Diaries was a book written by L.J Smith. CW didn't come up with the name on their own

Elena Castrignano Says:

2015-01-05T16:49:28

I pronounce it a-len-a. I don't understand the a-lay-na pronunciation. It's an e, not an a. I've always hated my name, no one ever says it the way I want it said.

Guest Says:

2014-12-17T04:48:14

I don't mean to sound racist but I feel like people just use this name to sound pretty but it doesn't work on a lot of people. Same with Isabella.

Guest Says:

2014-10-26T17:34:14

I went to school with 2 girls named Elena and everyone said their name right. But the only difference is one was called "Pretty Elena" and the other was "Ugly Elena" behind their backs. I guess it's a regional thing whether people mispronounce it or not hahaha

servals_ Says:

2014-10-26T15:55:10

the elena at my school gets so frustrated when all of the teachers call her eleanor and eleena and elana so be prepared for the mispronunciations :)

madmaddie Says:

2014-10-25T17:15:25

I <3 my middle name!

Minzie Says:

2014-10-22T12:43:14

Elena is a great name, it has a beautiful, melodic sound and is a bit less common than Helen. It fits a young girl as well as a grown up woman. Ellie or Lena could both be used as nicknames. I also like its meaning a lot.

If you give your daughter this name, you probably will be asked if you got it from the Vampire Diaries TV series though so be prepared for that.

Analia Says:

2014-09-27T04:52:37

very pretty yet strong, perfect combo :) too bad it is on the rise though :(

Chicmommy Says:

2014-07-31T00:53:25

I adore this name, I do wish the CW would stop using it for their heroines though. The vampire diaries and Bitten.

apriljewels Says:

2014-06-27T17:53:34

A beautiful, timeless choice! I can imagine this name on any age. Also, has a lovely meaning: bright, shining one!

pocahontas Says:

2014-02-08T20:45:18

Beautiful name! I definitely hope to use it on my future daughter (if I ever have kids).