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Isla Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Isla including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Isla Overview

  • Meaning: Isla’s meaning is a reference to the Scottish island of Islay.
  • Gender: Traditionally, Isla is a feminine name.
  • Origin: Isla is Scottish in origin.
  • Pronunciation: EYE-la.
  • Popularity: The name Isla has become increasingly popular as an old-fashioned, beautifully feminine option. It is currently the 44th most popular girl’s name in the U.S.
  • Nicknames: I, Lala, La.
  • Variations: Ile, Ila, Eila.
  • Namesakes: Isla Fisher, Isla Phillips, and Isla St. Clair.

What Does Isla Mean?

Though the name Isla is a word in Spanish that means island, this is not necessarily what the name’s meaning is.

Because the name is Scottish in origin, the meaning of the name having Spanish roots would not make sense.

Instead, it is thought that the name Isla means to refer to the Scottish island, Islay (1). This southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides islands most likely inspired the beautiful name Isla.

What is the Origin of the Name Isla?

Because of the island, Islay, and Isla’s popularity in Scotland in particular, we can guess that the name has Scottish origins.

However, the island’s name, Islay, does not have any known or traceable origin, leaving many wondering how this perfect baby girl’s name came to be.

How Popular is the Name Isla?

Isla is a traditional name, but recently, it has made a comeback on the name rankings. Each year, it climbs higher and higher.

According to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Name Database, Isla has been increasingly popular each year since 2008, when it first broke into the top 1000 girl names in the U.S. (2).

Currently, Isla ranks as the 44th most popular girl name of all the baby girls born in the U.S

There are only approximately 1600 Isla’s in the U.S. because it had not been a trendy moniker until recently. In the coming years, that number could increase drastically.

How Do I Pronounce Isla?

The ‘s’ in Isla is entirely silent, so people commonly mispronounce it. People often try to say IS-la. The proper pronunciation, however, is EYE-la.

Is Isla a Boy or Girl Name?

Isla is almost always a girl name with feminine origins. It is not common to name a boy Isla.

Variations of Isla

Isla has a few historical variations, but they are much less common in modern times. Far and away, the most prevalent variation is simply Isla. Here are a few of the others:

  • Ila (Scottish alternative spelling)
  • Ile (Scottish alternative spelling)
  • Aila (Finnish)

Nicknames for Isla

Because Isla is already a relatively short and sweet name, there are not a lot of nicknames for it.

Everyone loves to give cute babies some fun nicknames, though, so here are some of the best options:

  • I
  • Is (pronounced eyes)
  • Isy (pronounced eyes-y)
  • Iya
  • Iyi (pronounced eye-eye)
  • Izzy
  • La
  • Lala

Similar Names to Isla

If Isla sparks your interest but is not quite the right fit for you, maybe you’re looking for a name that looks, sounds or means something similar to Isla. Here are some:

Other options that also start with an I and are great names for a girl include:

  • Isabella
  • Ivory
  • India
  • Ivanna
  • Ivy
  • Iris
  • Ines
  • Irina
  • Ivonne
  • Indigo

Middle Names for Isla

Many middle names will work well with the name Isla, but some of our very favorites are:

  • Isla Marie
  • Isla Anne
  • Isla Drew
  • Isla Louise
  • Isla Abigail
  • Isla Beth
  • Isla Blaire
  • Isla Claire
  • Isla Dawn
  • Isla Fern
  • Isla Grace
  • Isla Hazel
  • Isla Isabel
  • Isla Joy
  • Isla Love
  • Isla Nicole
  • Isla Noelle
  • Isla River
  • Isla Sage

Sibling Names for Isla

If you already have a sweet little Isla, maybe you’re looking for the perfect name for your next baby that will sound nice when paired with Isla. In that case, we’ve compiled some of the best options for you here.

For Isla’s sister, some great options that go well with the name are:

For Isla’s brother, some great options that sound nice and also some that have Scottish origin as well are:

Famous People Named Isla

There are not too many famous people named Isla due to its rarity and uniqueness, but here are the most notable people:

  • Isla Blair: British actress known for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”.
  • Isla Cameron: Scottish actress and singer.
  • Isla Dewar: Scottish novelist and screenwriter.
  • Isla Fisher: Scottish-Australian actress known for “Confessions of a Shopaholic”.
  • Isla Phillips: granddaughter of Anne, Princess Royal, and great-granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Isla St Clair: Scottish actress and singer.
  • Isla Traquair: Scottish broadcast journalist.

Isla in Popular Culture

Because Isla is a somewhat rare name, there are very few instances of the name used in popular culture. Here are some of the more notable appearances of the name:

  • Isla: Character in TV series “Once Upon A Time.”
  • Isla: Character in TV series “South Park.”
  • Isla Black Hitchens: Character in “Harry Potter” books series.

Isla FAQs

Still wondering whether you should name your little one Isla? Here are a few FAQs that might help you decide!

Is Isla a Weird Name?

Isla may be uncommon and unique, but it is certainly not a weird name, especially to millions of Scots who frequently choose it for their own daughters.

Why Is Isla Such a Popular Name?

Lately, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of old, traditional names. Isla is no exception. The name has become increasingly popular over the last few years because of this renaissance.

Is Izzy a Nickname for Isla?

Though Izzy is more commonly a nickname for Isabella or Isabelle, it can certainly work as a nickname for Isla.

If you like how Izzy sounds as a nickname for your sweet little Isla, then use it! It will be special and unique.

Is Isla an Arabic Name?

Isla can sometimes be used as an Arabic girl name, but its origins are in Scotland, deriving from the island Islay.

Technically, to be Arabic, it would need to derive from an Arabic country, but since it does not, it is not considered an Arabic name.

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