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Lena Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity and Nicknames

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

Lena Overview

  • Meaning: Lena means ray of light.
  • Gender: Lena is a girl’s name.
  • Origin: Lena’s exact origin is unknown, though it is from Eurasia.
  • Pronunciation: LEE-Nah.
  • Popularity: Popular.
  • Nicknames: Leelee, Na, Leen.
  • Variations: Leenah, Leighna, Lenah.
  • Namesakes: Lena Dunham, Lena Luthor.

What Does Lena Mean?

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

Lena is a name coming from many different regions, languages, and cultures, and so its meaning changes depending on which culture we focus on.

Overall, though, the name Lena is used to signify a ray of light or a torch (1).

What is the Origin of the Name Lena?

Most people commonly accept that the name Lena is a derivation of earlier names like Helena, Magdalena, and Yelena (2).

Each of the above names was common in different cultures, some of which are Arabic, British, German, Hebrew, Dutch, Persian, and Russian. Each of these uses a version of the name Lena.

The very first incident of the name Lena is unknown, and therefore, the origin is difficult to pin down. It is safe to say, however, that the name came from Eurasia as a derivation of longer, similar names.

How Popular is the Name Lena?

Lena has been slowly and steadily gaining popularity in the United States since the 1990s (3). In the year 2021, Lena was ranked the 293rd most popular name for a girl, making it popular but not overwhelmingly so.

How Do I Pronounce Lena?

The correct pronunciation of the name Lena is LEE-Nah.

Is Lena a Boy or Girl Name?

More often than not, Lena is a girl’s name. It has been used on overwhelmingly girls in the past and is not in the top 1000 most common boy names in the United States for any year besides 1903 (4).

According to How Many of Me, the name is given to females more than 99% of the time.

Variations of Lena

Lena can be spelled many different ways, and recently, there has been a growing subset of spellings of the name. To share just a few, we’ve made this list of various spellings of Lena:

  • Alina (Slavic, Greek)
  • Elena (Italian, Spanish, Greek)
  • Leana (Norman, Greek, English, French)
  • Leena (Arabic, Estonian)
  • Leighna (American)
  • Lenah (Norman, Greek)
  • Lene (German, Danish, Norman)
  • Lenna (German)
  • Liena (Chinese, English)
  • Lina (Arabic, Chinese, French)
  • Linah (Arabic, Norman, African)

Nicknames for Lena

Here are the best nicknames for baby Lena:

  • Lee
  • Leelee
  • Leela
  • Leelo
  • Leen
  • Leenie
  • Na
  • Nana
  • Neen
  • Nena

Similar Names to Lena

Sometimes you like a name, and then you find out that someone else has already used it! Or, maybe you like the name but don’t feel like it’s quite right for you.

In these instances, you can still look for names that feel similar to the name you’re leaning towards. That’s why we’ve put together a list of names that are similar to Lena for you to consider.

If you like the name Lena, you may like these similar names as well:

Middle Names for Lena

It can be hard to find a middle name to match the perfect first name you’ve picked out, and we know that’s frustrating.

Don’t worry, though, because we have compiled a great list of middle names that sound lovely when paired with Lena:

  • Lena Blaire
  • Lena Catherine
  • Lena Claire
  • Lena Desiree
  • Lena Emma
  • Lena Hannah
  • Lena Heather
  • Lena Ivy
  • Lena June
  • Lena Louise
  • Lena Margaret
  • Lena May
  • Lena Paige
  • Lena Parker
  • Lena Payton
  • Lena Ray
  • Lena Rose
  • Lena Quinn
  • Lena Willow
  • Lena Winter

Sibling Names for Lena

You also may want to find the perfect sibling name if you plan to have more than just baby Lena. It’s always nice to have the sibling names flow well together, so here are our favorites for Lena:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Lena

There are some very famous people named Lena, like:

  • Lena Berntsson: Swedish athlete.
  • Lena Dunham: American filmmaker and actress.
  • Lena Fiagbe: British soul singer-songwriter.
  • Lena Gercke: German model.
  • Lena Horne: American singer and actress.
  • Lena Waithe: American screenwriter, producer, and actress.
  • Lena Yada: Japanese-American model.

Lena in Popular Culture

You can also find many Lenas in popular culture. Here are some of the most widely known:

  • Lena: Character from the movie “Toi et Moi”.
  • Lena: Character from the movie “Annihilation”.
  • Lena: Character from the book “Fablehaven”.
  • Lena Adams Foster: Character from the tv show “The Fosters”.
  • Lena Luthor: Lex Luthor’s sister in the DC Comics.

Lena FAQs

There are lots of commonly asked questions when it comes to the name Lena, but the most frequently asked by far is:

What Is Lena Short For?

Lena is short for Yelena, Helena, and Magdalena. It is also short for other versions of the same name from varying cultures. Because Lena is a name that spans regions and cultures, it has many different meanings and origins.

Is Lena a Pretty Name?

Lena has overwhelming popularity among dozens of different cultures, so it is widely accepted as a lovely name for a baby girl. You can’t go wrong with sweet Lena!

How Do You Pronounce Lena?

In the United States, the correct pronunciation is LEE-Nah, but it is true that in other parts of the world, the name is pronounced more like: LAY-Nah.

The pronunciation depends on where you’re from, and it of course also depends on which one you prefer.

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