Gender: Female Meaning of Helena: "bright, shining light" Origin of Helena: Latinate form of Helen, Greek Helena's Popularity in 2019: #478

Helena Origin and Meaning

The name Helena is a girl's name of Greek origin meaning "bright, shining light".

Helena is a more delicate and dainty version of Helen, a favorite of Shakespeare, who used it in both All's Well That Ends Well and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Historically, Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great (and, supposedly, the daughter of Old King Cole), who became a fourth century saint--Evelyn Waugh wrote his only historical novel, Helena, based on her story.

British star Helena Bonham Carter and Danish model Helena Christensen have done much to keep the name alive, and it is also remembered via beauty mogul Helena Rubinstein. Helena is also the title of a song by the group My Chemical Romance.

Helena is a recommended girls' name for those who find the classic version a bit bland.

HELL-ehn-a is the best modern pronunciation for Helena, but hell-AYN-a or even hell-EEN-a work too.

16 names similar to Helena

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

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


Rank in US: #478

- this week

Famous People Named Helena

Pop Culture References for the name Helena


Tandy Says:


This is how my mother in-law pronounces her middle name.

bordercollie Says:


All pronunciations of Helena are very pretty, but I must say I'm fondest of HEL-uh-nuh. Helena is always an elegant, dainty, almost fairy-like name, but that pronunciation is, in my opinion, the prettiest.

Magdalena23 Says:


We're naming our daughter Helena. Pronounced Hell-LEE-na, like Selena but with an H. Hopefully people don't miss pronounce too much. Though I've met a couple Helena with the same pronunciation. I like the classic spelling so I don't want to have to add an E in there so people know how to correctly say it.

Rosie2525 Says:


I've never heard it pronounced Huh-Lean-uh, before. That's very pretty! 😊

ceruleanstardust Says:


I love both Nell and Ellie. Would Lennie work?

KJGlitter Says:


I like Nell! Lena could also work. A couple years ago I overheard a mom calling out to her little Helena (with the Hel-uh-nuh pronunciation). It's very possible I misheard, but I think a few times she cut out the 'L' sound altogether and called her Henna.

ElenaJulia2004 Says:


What are some good nicknames for Helena? I thought of Ellie or even Nell, what do you think?

FantasyandPrayer Says:


Honestly if it wasn't for the fact that people would pronounce this Hel-ay-nah rather than Hel-en-ah this would be on my list. I like Hel-en-ah but Hel-at-nah really rubs me up the wrong way. I'd get annoyed more than anything. Still has middle name potential though, I currently like Beatrice Helena or Natalia Helena.

paulapuddephatt Says:


I adore Helena, but I pronounce it helen-a, not hel-ay-na. I'm currently loving Helen slightly more than Helena, partly because of its comparative simplicity, in terms of how the name is said. Helen and Helena are both beautiful, of course - and I will always be a fan of both.

LenaBena Says:


I always get my name pronounced as He-lay-nuh or Hell-en-ah and my name is actually pronounced Huh-Lean-uh. i always have to tell people that they are saying my name wrong.
i don't really have any nicknames but I do sometimes get called Lena or Leany (Lean-e)

It took me awhile to actually start liking my name but now i'm happy with it.

Tillie_Jay Says:


I love it pronounced Hell-ay-nah much better than Hellen-ah. Such a pretty name though!

yourlocaldumpster Says:


I love this name because of My Chemical Romance. It's a really pretty name.

EW314 Says:


In the UK, this is always pronounced "HELL-uh-nuh", as far as I know. I adore this name, and will be using it if I get the chance! My little Helena would go by the lovely nickname Nell.

Beth Says:


LOVE this name. So classy and beautiful while also being strong and timeless. The major drawback is the pronunciations, because everyone says it differently. I've known two Helenas in my life and both pronounced it huh-LAYN-a, but a lot of people pronounce it Helen-uh.

snowsbeloved Says:


I do too. The Helen-nuh pronunciation sounds clumsy to me, I'd rather do just Helen or better, Hel-AY-nuh.

snowsbeloved Says:


I usually pronounce it Hel-AY-na, to be honest

AriellaBar Says:


Beautiful, classy name any way you pronounce it. Helena Bonham Carter is a pretty awesome lady, too.

Helena Says:


I'm from Barcelona and my name is Helena. Here, we pronounce it Al-en-a (Uh-len-uh maybe? I don't know how to explain it, I hope you understand), without the h, but outside of Catalonia (in the rest of Spain) people pronounces it El-en-a, like Helen-a but also without the h. It feels kind of weird when I'm talking to someone who's not from Spain, France or Italy, basically, and pronounce it like you are saying, I like it, though, it's cool and maybe "exotic" for us, in school many people call me Helen as a nickname, or Lena. However, I thought Helen was the modern version of Helena, isn't Helena the "classic" name?

kitchi1 Says:


Well, MY associations.

kitchi1 Says:


Every Helena I know of is a badass and is pronounced my favorite way - helen-uh. Love this name and the associations.

Sunny Says:


I have a cousin with this name, she pronounces it "huh-LAYN-uh".

scblovesnames Says:


Ooh, I've rediscovered a name I truly loved when I first heard it. Helena is so pretty. Definitely going on the list.

TheHumanCanvas Says:


Great alternative to Helen. I LOVE Helen, but I've always been worried about using it because it seems so old-ladyish. Helena gives it a more sophisticated edge, and it just sounds... ladylike. Which is something of a craze for me right now. Don't have a CLUE how I'd pronounce it though - I like all three.

Daiseymae Says:


Actress Kelly Rutherford's daughter is named "Hell-lay-na", and my cousin pronounces it this way too. I have never seen it pronounced it your way though. Unfortunately, too many people will end up saying 3 different ways.

Daiseymae Says:


I have only come across it pronounced as "Hel-lay-na" and "Helen-a".

Daiseymae Says:


I like both names. Hell-lay-na is quite pretty.

Andrew Says:


Named our daughter Helena and pronounce it Helen-a (feels like a more down to earth pronunciation). Surprised how often she is called Hell-lay-na though.

mommyofquinn Says:


Thanks my sister in law let me name Helena it was awsome:)

HarderToBreathe Says:


Same here! I'm an Eleni named after an aunt and a great grandmother. I haven't met any Helenas but I've met plenty of Helens. I have met a Heleena though (pronounced Hel-EE-na).

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Such great names! :)

mommyofquinn Says:


Helena (he-lee-na) and Hattie are my twin neices names!

Eleni_A Says:


I love Helena soo much it gives a more modern but not too full on feelto it. I have met 2 Helena's (both pronounced Hel-EE-na). My name is Eleni it is the Greek translation of Helen/a passed down from my grandmother as alot of greek families do because of culture.

Caroline Says:


Sounds pretty!

Zoey_Artemisia Says:


I like this name, it's a fresher version of Helen but still Classic. I say it as He-len-Nuh.

Ruanne Says:


I think the popularity of the name Alayna (and all its spelling variations), as well as increasing exposure to international languages, may shift pronunciation back around to He-LAY-nuh. I like this pronunciation better, personally.

Guest Says:


I know people would normally say helen-a but I like helEEna better. (I knew a girl named Elena and Helena was one of her middle names which I thought was a bit redundant but it helped make her whole name full name rhyme so it was cool.)

helenabstyle Says:



I constantly get my name pronounced as He-lee-na or He-le-nuh and it's actually He-lay-nuh for me although I'm not too bothered about the second option but it is a pain having to constantly explain how you want your name pronounced.
As for nicknames I get called Helen, Helly, Heli or H (aiche).

My second name is Barbara after my grandmother and I have to say I think both names together are a bit too much but I've got used to it and I kind of like them now.

rainierloner Says:


Helena has a vintage feel to it, but fits perfectly with names today. There's so many ways to honor relatives named Ellen, Lena, and so many more variations of Helen. Love this name. :)