Leo Origin and Meaning

The name Leo is both a boy's name and a girl's name of German, Latin origin meaning "lion".
Leo was derived from the Latin leo, meaning “lion.” Thirteen popes have carried the name, including St. Leo the Great. In Germanic languages, Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names including Leon and Leopold. In Latinate languages, Leonardo is considered a full form for Leo.

Leo is a strong-yet-friendly name that was common among the Romans, used for thirteen popes, and is now on the upswing partly thanks to Leonardo "Leo" DiCaprio. Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem called their son Leo, as did actress Kim Raver, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and Kristin Olson. It's on the rise and more popular than it's been at any point since FDR's first term in office.

Leo has a lot of elements going for it: its leonine associations suggest strength of character and physique, its zodiac reference appeals to New Agers, and its 'o' ending gives it added energy.

Famous Leos of the past include Pope Leo the Great and twelve other popes, a number of early saints, and Leo Tolstoy, as well as Dead End Kid Gorcey, colorful baseball manager Durocher, influential gallerist Castelli and the leonine MGM icon. There have been Leos seen on everything from The West Wing to Charmed to Grey's Anatomy to Seinfeld"

Leo is on an international roll—it is currently very popular in France (where it's pronounced LAY-o), in Finland, and in England and Wales, Scotland and Sweden.
# 31 in the US

Leo Rank in US Top 1000

Leo Popularity

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Lists containing Leo

Famous People Named Leo

  • Saint Leo of CataniaItalian bishop
  • Leo IXIII, popes
  • Leo IVI, Byzantine Emperors
  • Leo IV, Kings of Armenia
  • (Georg) Leo Graf von CapriviChancellor of Germany
  • Leonardo Wilhelm "Leo" DiCaprioAmerican actor and producer
  • Leo HowardAmerican actor
  • Leo Gordon LaporteAmerican broadcaster and author
  • Leo Joseph RyanU.S. Congressman from California
  • Lev "Leo" Nikolayevich TolstoyRussian novelist
  • Leo ArnaudFrench composer
  • Leo Bernard GorceyAmerican actor
  • Leo Gratten CarrollEnglish actor
  • (Clément Philibert) Léo DelibesFrench composer
  • Clarence Leonidas "Leo" FenderAmerican guitar maker
  • Leo de BerardinisItalian actor
  • Leo Freiherr von KönigGerman painter
  • Gerard Hugh "Leo" SayerBritish,Australian singer,songwriter
  • Leo Ku (KuiKei), Hong Kong pop singer
  • Leo MelamedAmerican attorney; chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
  • Leo SzilardHungarian,American physicist and inventor
  • Joseph Viateur "Léo" DandurandCanadian businessman and NHL team owner
  • Leostage name of Jung Taekwoon of Korean boy band VIXX
  • Lionel "Leo" MessiArgentine footballer
  • Leo Burkering name of Leonce Cormier, Canadian pro wrestler
  • Leo Kipling Boyer (b. 2007)son of actors Kim Raver and Manuel Boyer
  • Leo Benjamin Gordon (b. 2010)son of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon
  • Leonardo "Leo" Encinas Cruz (b. 2011)son of actor Javier Bardem and actress Penelope Cruz
  • Leo Grey McElhenney (b. 2012)son of actors Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney
  • Leo Ezra Egan (b. 2015)late son of TV chef Kelsey Nixon and Robby Egan
  • Leo Streitenfeld (b. 2009)son of actress Julie Delpy and composer Marc Streitenfeld
  • Leo Powell (b. 2011)son of actor Drew Powell
  • Leo James Routh (b. 2012)son of actors Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford
  • Leo Federer (b. 2014)son of tennis player Roger Federer
  • Leo Thames Newman (b. 2015)son of actress and model Jaime King
  • Leo Hijazi (b.2017)son Jaime Pressly and Hamzi Hijazi. Twin brother to Lenon Hijazi
  • Leo James Maguire (b. 2017)son of English actor Sean Maguire
  • Leo Hardyson of Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley.

Leo in Pop Culture

  • Leo Valdezfrom Rick Riordan's "Heroes of Olympus" book series
  • Uncle LeoJerry's Uncle on 'Seinfeld'
  • Leo WyattCharmed
  • Leoa Zodiac sign
  • Leo McGarryfictional character on the television serial drama The West Wing
  • Leo FoxeDonnell, character in the novel 'A Nest of Simple Folk'
  • Leo Plumbcharacter in novel "The Nest"
  • Leo Biedermanfrom movie "Deep Impact" played by Elijah Wood
  • Leopold "Leo" Fitza character on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Leo Koenigfrom the movie "Funny People"
  • Leo Francis Dooleya character on the Disney XD show Lab Rats
  • Leo Fitzgeraldcharacter in The Willow Falls series by Wendy Mass
  • Leo Borlockcharacter in Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl
  • Leocharacter portrayed by Tommy Chong on That '70s Show
  • Leo the Lion'Loke,' a celestial spirit in the manga/anime, 'Fairy Tail'
  • Leo Hendriecharacter from the TV series "Chasing Life", played by Scott Michael Foster
  • Leo Rothcharacter on the Red Band Society played by Charlie Rowe
  • Leo Spitzcharacter from the movie "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
  • Leo CastellanoThe Mindy Project (Mindy and Danny's son)
  • Leo CallistoFather in the Disney Jr cartoon series "Miles from Tomorrowland"
  • Leofrom the video game Fire Emblem: Fates.
  • Sergeant Leo Barnes from The Purge: Anarchy & The Purge: Election Year.
  • Leo de la IglesiaAmerican skater from the anime 'Yuri!!! on Ice'.
  • Leo Bylercharacter from the movie "Mute"
  • Leo Cruzcharacter from Netflix's "Greenhouse Academy"