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Laura Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Laura Overview

  • Meaning: Laura means “bay laurel,” symbolizing victory.
  • Gender: Laura is traditionally a girl’s name.
  • Origin: Laura originated in ancient Rome and came from a Latin word.
  • Pronunciation: Laura has several pronunciations but the most popular is “lor-ruh.”
  • Popularity: Laura is a popular name.
  • Nicknames: Lou, Lolo, Lau.
  • Variations: Lauren, Laurel, Lara, Lorna.
  • Namesakes: Laura Ingalls Wilder, pioneer wife and author of the Little House on the Prairie series.

What Does Laura Mean?

The name Laura is the female version of the Latin word laurel, from a bay laurel. This plant is symbolic of victory and was given to gladiators and chariot racers after a victory (1). While the technical meaning is “bay laurel,” Laura also means “victory.”

What is the Origin of the Name Laura?

Laura comes from the Latin word “Laurus,” a type of plant. After a victorious gladiator fight or chariot race in ancient Rome, the winner would don a crown of laurel leaves as a symbol of victory (2). Emperors and Roman senators also wore laurels.

Laura and variants Laurel and Lauren come from this tradition of laurels as a crown of victory. In this way, naming a child Laura symbolizes the crowning joy of being a parent.

How Popular is the Name Laura?

Laura has always been extremely popular. In fact, it is currently the least popular it’s ever been. The last two decades have seen a steady decline in popularity, however, it has still ranked in the top 400 since 2000 (3).

However, Laura was extremely popular in the mid-20th century. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Laura was almost always in the top 20 names. It has been used for centuries and was in common usage as early as 1100.

How Do I Pronounce Laura?

Laura has several different pronunciations, depending on the country and area of origin. Many people pronounce the name “lorr-uh.” The second most common pronunciation is “lah-ruh.” In Hispanic and Latin America, it is a popular name and pronounced “L-ow-ra.”

If you have a friend named Laura, ask them how they pronounce their name since there are several different pronunciations.

Is Laura a Boy or Girl Name?

Laura is traditionally a female name.

Variations of Laura

Because it comes from a Latin word, there are several variations of Laura. Here are some of the most common:

  • Lara (Turkish)
  • Lau (Chinese)
  • Laure (French)
  • Laurel (Latin)
  • Lauren (French)
  • Laurie (Latin)
  • Lavra (Slovene)
  • Lora (English, Bulgarian)
  • Lorna (English, Scottish)
  • Lowri (Welsh)

Nicknames for Laura

Laura is a short girl name, so it doesn’t automatically engender many nicknames. Most nicknames are unique to the child and invented by family members. However, there are a few that are common to girls named Laura.

  • L
  • Lala
  • Lau
  • Lo
  • Lolo
  • Lou
  • Lulu

Similar Names to Laura

If you like the name Laura but want something slightly different, don’t worry. There are many names with similar sounds or meanings. These names are classically feminine, unpretentious, and simple without being plain:

Middle Names for Laura

Every Laura needs a perfect middle name. Of course, this will depend largely on your last name and how it all flows together, but if you haven’t decided on a middle name yet, look at this list of middle names for inspiration. Each of these is lovely and flows well with the name Laura.

Sibling Names for Laura

If Laura is going to have siblings, it’s a good thing to think ahead and prepare some name ideas for them too. Here are some names that go well with Laura:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Laura

With a name that’s been popular since the 1100s, it’s impossible not to have several famous people named Laura throughout the years. Here are some of the most popular and famous people named Laura and their occupations.

  • Laura Benanti: American Broadway actress.
  • Laura Bush: Former First lady of the United States.
  • Laura Chinchilla: Former president of Costa Rica
  • Laura Dawn: American singer-songwriter and political activist.
  • Laura Dern: American actress.
  • Laura Hayes: American actress, director, and producer.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder: American pioneer and author.
  • Laura Ingraham: American television host.
  • Laura Linney: American actress.
  • Laura Prepon: American actress.
  • Laura Wade: English playwright.

Laura in Popular Culture

Pop culture is a huge part of our lives, and it’s important to know whether you’re naming your daughter after a fictional character as well. Here are some of the most famous Lauras from TV, movies, and books.

  • Laura: The subject of all of poet Petrarch’s love poems.
  • Laura: 1944 film and song.
  • Laura Carrot: Character from “Veggietales.”
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder: Character from “The Little House on the Prairie” series (based on her life experiences)
  • Laura Kinney: Character from the Marvel Comics universe.
  • Laura Palmer: Character from the tv series “Twin Peaks.”
  • Laura Petrie: Character from the tv show “Dick Van Dyke Show.”
  • Laura Spencer: Character from the tv series “General Hospital.”
  • Laura Winslow: Character from the tv show “Family Matters.”

Laura FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the name Laura. We hope they answer your questions and help you on your naming journey!

Is Laura a biblical name?

The name Laura is not in the Bible. However, the tradition of placing laurel leaves on one’s head as a sign of victory is ancient, and the original Latin word “Laurus” shows up in the Bible. Although Laura isn’t a name in the Bible, the original meaning of victory and crowning is a concept almost as old.

Are Laura and Lauren the same name?

Laura and Lauren are two different names. However, they both have the same meanings, based on the ancient Roman tradition of giving laurel leaves to champions. Laura and Lauren are technically variants of each other.

Is Laura Trending?

Laura is not trending now, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid the name. It has been popular for centuries and is a great choice for parents who want a solid, classic name for their daughter.

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