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Gender: M Pronunciation: LAYF or LEEF Meaning of Leif: "heir, descendant" Origin of Leif: Scandinavian

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, but just barely, 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.

Famous People Named Leif

Leif Erikson, Icelandic 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 Enger, American novelist
Leif Manson, American reality TV personality ("Survivor: One World")
Leif Hoste, Belgian cyclist
George Livingston "Leif" Shiras, American tennis player
Leif Ove Andsnes, Norwegian pianist
Leif Coorlim, award-winning journalist and executive editor of The CNN Freedom Project
Leif Reid, son of politician U.S. politician Harry Reid

Pop Culture References for the name Leif

Leif, character in 'Arcadia' by Lauren Groff.

Laif, Lief, Leife