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Gender: Female Pronunciation: LAY-la Meaning of Leila: "night" Origin of Leila: Arabic Leila's Popularity in 2017: #221

The name Leila is a girl's name of Arabic, Persian origin meaning "night". Leila is ranked #221 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Vintage Girl Names and discussed in our forums with posts like "Girls Makeover - Two Middles".

From the experts:

Leila was popularized in the West by the poet Byron, who used it in his poem Don Juan for a ten-year-old Turkish girl. Leila also appears as a fairy in the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera Iolanthe.

The haunting Leila been chosen by such celebs as Al Roker and Greta Scacchi and Vincent D'Onofrio. While Leila has managed to appear on the Top 1000 list in the U.S. since its inception in 1880, phonetic form Layla is now much higher on the list in America. And parents attracted to girls’ names with the double l sound will find that most examples -- from Leila to Lila to Lily and Lillian and Lilith-- are zooming up the charts and, while classics, are bordering on trendiness.

Yet another alternative is Lelia, a Latin name used in Roman times.

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

Famous People Named Leila

Leila Aboulela, Sudanese writer
Leila Ahmed, Egyptian-American professor
Leila Diniz, Brazilian actress and feminist
Leila Barros, Brazilian volleyball player
Leila Bela, American musician, actress and writer
Leila Denmark, American pediatrician
Leila Forouhar, Iranian singer and actress
Leila Hatami, Iranian actress
Leila Hayes, Australian actress
Leila Hyams, American film actress
Leila Josefowicz, American violinist
Leila K, Swedish rapper
Leila Khaled, Palestinian Militant
Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011 winner
Leila McKinnon, Kiwi-Australian journalist
Leila Mourad, Egyptian singer and movie star
Leila Pahlavi, Iranian princess
Leila Sobral, Brazilian basketball player
Leila Tong, Hong Kong actress and singer
Leila Vaziri, American swimmer, world record holder
Leila Boyer (b. 2009), daughter of novelist Edwidge Danticat
Leila Emmanuelle Mathison (b. 2006), daughter of Cameron Mathison
Leila Rey Valencia (b. 2009), daughter of Judy Reyes

Pop Culture References for the name Leila

Leila, character in Sharon Creech's "Bloomability"
Leila, a fairy in Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera Iolanthe (1882)
Leila Hunter, character from "When in Rome"
Leila Okulgen, character in novel "Does My Head Look Big in This?"
Leila Smith, an infant "number" in TV Drama "Person of Interest"
Leila Williams, character in the fifthy shades of darker
Leila Hope, little girl character in film "Southpaw"
Leila Mae Potter, main character of the story 'Lost Along the Way' by JanuaryLily

Leyla, Leilia, Lelia, Lila, Leelah, Laila, Leela, Lela, Lilah, Layla, Lelah, Leland, Leilah


Daiseymae Says:


Lee-lah is one of my favorite names, but it is also spelled as "Lela" which is the one that I like the most.

BabyHall Says:


I find that extemly confusing

BabyHall Says:


Same, that definition seems more fitting.

Leila Says:


My name is Leila and spelt this way too. Im Australian and it is pronounced Lee-la

SMH-DraggingMyHeels Says:


Yes, my mother is called Leila /lee-luh/
I also know a 40 something Leila /Leeluh/ and a few toddlers named Leila /Leeluh/
(I am in Ohio -- met one Leila -- pronounced layla - baby in Louisiana, so maybe different locales or regions change things up a bit.

I quite agree with your logic, about American pronunciation ...and it having little to do with
I also remember in the 80s and 90s, all of the arguing over Leigh --- and all of the names that derived from that trend. I know a few Leighs /lee/ yet SEVERAL KayLeighs, Ashleigh one Juleigh,
but now there are a few Leighton babies -- /lay-ton/
I guess it is no wonder people find it all a bit confusing.

SMH-DraggingMyHeels Says:


Sheila is same vowel spelling and is /shee-luh/
I know a few Leilas, and they all are /lee-luh/

pam Says:


I didn't realize there was so much disagreement over the pronunciation of this name! Leila is usually lay-la while Lila is lye (rhyming with eye or my) la and Leela is lee-la. No matter how "correct" the pronunciation you use, you can bet you'll hear plenty of "wrong" ones!

Bellscarlet Says:


Incorrect. I know two separate Leilas, not including my daughter; they both spell their names Leila with the Lee-lah sound. We're all in America, so Arabic or Irish roots has little to do with the rules of American grammar. "Ei" can make the long E sound in English (as in Leigh).

bordercollie Says:


Such a beautiful name. I far prefer it to flimsier double L names like Lily.

roseofjune Says:


Sheila is pronounced that way because it is Irish. Leila is pronounced Layla because it is Arabic.

Leila Cardinal Kjærbo Says:


My name is Leila and it is pronounced Lila :)

Scarlet Silva Says:


It's pronounced Lee-lah. Think Sheila. "Ei" can make the "ee" sound, and that is the case with this name. This was my grandmother's name and also an acquaintance's name. It's also going to be my daughter's name when she is born this October. Leela makes me think leel-a. If you want the Lay-lah sound, then you should spell the name Layla. I love this name!

Lena_Aline Says:


I think the meaning is more along the lines of "beautiful darkness".

Catastroffy Says:


Usually "lay-luh". Lila or Leela would be "lee-luh".

Leah3456 Says:


I love the double "l" sound in this name.

lainerector1 Says:


Is this pronounced like Lee- Luh or Lay -Luh

Guest Says:


I like this spelling better than Layla.