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Gender: Female Pronunciation: ee-LAY-na Meaning of Elena: "bright, shining light" Origin of Elena: Spanish variation of Helen Elena's Popularity in 2017: #67

The name Elena is a girl's name of Spanish, Italian, Greek origin meaning "bright, shining light". Elena is ranked #67 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Names That Mean Hope and discussed in our forums with posts like "Baby a Day".

From the experts:

Elena, the pan-European version of Helen has never been as popular in the U.S. as it is now due to the overall popularity of E-names, and to Elena's accessibility as what we might call 'exotic lite.' It is also ranking other countries as well--it is highly popular in Spain.

A worthy namesake is Elena Kagan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the fourth female to hold that position. 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

Elena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro, Queen consort of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Albania
Elena Jane "Ellie" Goulding, English singer
Elena Sergeevna "Lena" Katina, Russian singer of group t.A.T.u
Elena Kagan, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Elena Alexandrovna Likhovtseva, Russian tennis player
Elena Băsescu, Romanian MEP
Elena Ferrante, penname of an unknown Italian novelist
Elena Gant, reality TV personality from "Little Women: LA"
Elena Goode, American actress
Elena María Isabel Dominica de Silos de Borbón y de Grecia, Infanta of Spain; Duchess of Lugo; daughter of Juan Carlos I
Elena, Princess of Romania; daughter of Michael I
Elena Delle Donne, American basketball player
Elena Bibescu, Romanian princess and pianist
Elena Olegovna Bovina, Russian tennis player
Elena Radionova, Russian figure skater
Elena Sergeevna Baltacha, Ukrainian-British tennis player
Elena Slivnyak, fashion designer and former "Project Runway" contestant
Elena Vesnina, Russian tennis player
Elena Viatcheslavovna Dementieva, Russian tennis player
Eleni "Elena" Paparizou, Greek-Swedish singer
Elena Eremina, Russian gymnast
Elena Arenas, American gymnast
Elena Neill (b. 1991), daughter of actor Sam Neill
Elena Kitic (b. 1998), daughter of Serbian stars Mile Kitic & Marta Savic
Elena Bineva, Bulgarian rhythmic gymnast
Elena Kong, Hong-Kong actress

Pop Culture References for the name Elena

Elena Gilbert, character in The Vampire Diaries series
Elena "Helene" Vasilyevna Kuragina, character from Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace
Elena Castillo Flores of Avalor, Disney Princess on animated series "Elena of Avalor"
Elena Tyler, character on TV's "Felicity"
Elena Ramos, character on TV's "Dallas"
Elena Fisher, character in the video game 'Uncharted'
Elena Lincoln, character in the Fifty Shades of Grey series
Godmother Elena, main character in "The Fairy Godmother"
Elena, Daemon Spade's lover in the series, 'Katekyo Hitman Reborn!'
Elena, character in the game 'Final Fantasy VII'
Elena Derevko, character on TV's Alias
Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez, character on TV's "Agents of SHIELD"
Elena, character in the Street Fighter video games
Elena Greco, heroine and narrator of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels
Elena Galathynius Havilliard, half-fae Queen from the Throne of Glass novels
Elena Antonov Michaels Danvers, main character in Kelley Armstrong "Women of the Otherworld"
Elena Alvarez, character in Netflix's "One Day At A Time"

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


Malenkiy Says:


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

espiritu-libre Says:


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

aelis Says:


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:


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:


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

sunshinehearts Says:


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:


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:


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

lindseylou89 Says:


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:


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:


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:


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

Irene Fitchell Says:


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:


In Italy, this would be pronounced ellen-uh.

Daiseymae Says:


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:


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:


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

kxlly0614 Says:


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:


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:


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:


I hope to have a girl this will be her name

caetano Says:


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

oliviamcdonald Says:


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

Elena D. Says:


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:


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

indiefendi2 Says:


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

Amanda Says:


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:


How does that have anything to do with race?

bootsie Says:


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

dystopian_nightmare Says:


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:


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:


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:


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:


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:


I <3 my middle name!

Minzie Says:


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:


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

Chicmommy Says:


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

apriljewels Says:


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

pocahontas Says:


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