- Meaning: Layla means “night” or “dark.”
- Gender: Layla is a feminine name.
- Origin: Layla originates from a Proto-Semitic language related to the word “layl” meaning “night.”
- Pronunciation: Layla is pronounced, “LAY-lah” or “LAY-luh.”
- Popularity: Layla is a popular name in the United States, ranking #25 for girls in 2021.
- Nicknames: Ayla, Lala, Lay, Lay Lay, Layla Bug, Lays, Lila, Lulu, Ly.
- Variations: Laela, Laelah, Laila, Laylah, Leila, Leilah, Lejla, Leyla, Lylah.
- Namesakes: Layla al-Akhayliyya, Layla al-Attar, Layla Ali, Layla El, Layla Hanbury, Layla Palmer.
What Does Layla Mean?
The name Layla means “night” and “dark.” It is often interpreted as “daughter of the night.” Traditionally, the name Layla was only given to girls born at night.
Layla is an Arabic girl’s name and the title of a song by Eric Clapton. In the 7th century, the story “Layla and Majnun” expanded the name also to be a symbol of love.
What is the Origin of the Name Layla?
Layla is a name with Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and Latin roots. It’s believed to derive from the proto-Semitic language responsible for Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, and Syriac. Variations of the word “layl,” meaning “night,” are found in those languages.
In Judaism, the Sanhedrin mentions an angel named “Lailah” in an interpretation of Genesis. Lailah assisted Abraham in smiting his servants at night and was said to have “distinctly feminine characteristics”. The angel named Lailah doesn’t appear in the Hebrew Bible or anywhere else in Abrahamic religions.
The name Layla became particularly popular in the 7th century, largely because of the old Arabic love story of “Layla and Majnun.” Qays ibn al-Mulawwah, nicknamed “Majnoon Layla, wrote a series of deep and mad love poems dedicated to a girl named Layla.
The poems and folklore about the two lovers spread across Arabia and surrounding countries, and so did the name Layla. “Layla and Majnun” was also the inspiration for Eric Clapton’s “Layla.”
How Popular is the Name Layla?
Layla is a popular name in the United States. According to the Social Security Administration, Layla was the 25th most popular name for girls in 2021 (1). At present, Layla has been in the top 50 girls in the United States names since 2009.
Layla was not a very popular name before the 21st century, particularly in the United States. The release of Eric Clapton’s 1970 song “Layla” contributed to its popularity, as the name was virtually absent in North America before the ‘70s. In 50 years in the United States, Layla changed from one of the least common names to the 25th most popular name.
How Do I Pronounce Layla?
The name Layla is pronounced “LAY-lah” or “LAY-luh.” Some people mispronounce this name as “LIE-lah” like “Delilah.” Instead, “Lay” is pronounced exactly like the word “lay.”
Is Layla a Boy or Girl Name?
Layla is a feminine name primarily given to girls. Layla’s interpretation as “daughter of the night” and the feminine angel named Layla in the Sanhedrin reinforces the name’s gender-specificity.
Variations of Layla
Dating back to a language we don’t even understand, Layla is a name with nearly endless variations. “Layla” itself is a variation of the name Leila. Below are some of the most common variations:
- Laela (Arabic)
- Laelah (Arabic)
- Laila (Urdu)
- Laylah (Arabic)
- Leighla (Arabic)
- Leila (Persian)
- Leilah (English)
- Lejla (Bosnian)
- Lela (English)
- Leyla (Kurdish)
- Lyla (English)
- Lylah (English)
Nicknames for Layla
Nicknames are a great way to tell your newborn how much you love them. Check out these adorable nicknames Layla is sure to love:
- Lay Lay
- Layla Bug
Similar Names to Layla
In meaning, origin, and pronunciation, these are some of the most similar names to Layla:
Middle Names for Layla
You may already have a middle name in mind for Layla. In case you don’t, here are a few middle names we think work particularly well with Layla:
Sibling Names for Layla
Check out these sibling names that go great with Layla.
For a brother:
For a sister:
Famous People Named Layla
Below are just a few of the most notable people named Layla in history:
- Layla al-Akhayliyya: Arabic 8th century poet; best known for her poems “On Grouse” and “At Tauba’s Death I Swore.”
- Layla al-Attar: Iraqi painter and artist who specialized in feminist artwork; former Director of the Iraqi National Art Museum.
- Laila Ali: American professional boxer and television icon; daughter of Muhammad Ali.
- Layla El: British dancer, model, real estate agent, and retired professional wrestler.
- Layla Hanbury/MC Layla: Australian hip-hop singer and songwriter; best known for her songs “It’s Only Me,” “Multiple Choice,” and “Maverick.”
- Layla Palmer: American singer and keyboardist; member of the band Amity Lane.
Layla in Popular Culture
From music to the big screen, here are the most notable uses of the name Layla in popular culture:
- Layla Abdallah El-Faouly/Scarlet Scarab: Archaeologist, superhero, and estranged wife of the protagonist in the Marvel/Disney+ series “Moon Knight.”
- Layla Hassan: Assassin and “Heir of Memories” in the video game series “Assassin’s Creed.”
- Layla Miller/Butterfly/Acolyte: Marvel comic book character; mutant with horns and the ability to breathe fire.
- Leela: Savage human descendant and companion to the Fourth Doctor in the BBC series “Doctor Who,” named after Leila Khaled.
- Leila: Pirate captain and playable character in the Squaresoft video game “Final Fantasy II.”
Check out these commonly asked questions about the name Layla.