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Lila Name Meaning (Origin, Popularity & Nicknames)

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

Lila Overview

  • Meaning: Lila means “night,” “dark,” and “play” in Arabic, Hindi, and Persian. It can also mean “purple,” pointing to the lilac trees, and is a nickname for Delilah.
  • Gender: Lila is traditionally a girl’s name.
  • Origin: Lila’s roots are in Arabic, Hindi, and Persian dialects and are connected to “layl.” Lila is also a European title, finding roots in Germany, where it’s connected to lilacs.
  • Pronunciation: Lila is pronounced “LYE-luh” and “LAY-luh” worldwide.
  • Popularity: Lila landed on American name charts in 1900, ranking #191. Lila peaked in 2010, ranking among the top 151 girl names in the U.S.
  • Nicknames: La La, Lil, Lilac, Lily, Lulu, Lye.
  • Variations: Layla, Laylah, Leelah, Leighla, Leila, Lilah, Lilla, Lyelah, Lylah.
  • Namesakes: Lila Brown, Mexican singer. Lila Diane Sawyer, American news anchor.

What Does Lila Mean?

Lila means “night” and “play” in Arabic, Hindi, and Persian. It’s a variation of Layla, a derivative of “layl” that means “dark.” In German, Lila can mean “purple,” pointing to lilac blooms. Lila was initially given to girls born at night or with beautiful, dark skin. Others associate Lila with mysterious, dark personalities. Many parents will choose Lila for their girls as an edgy alternative to floral titles like Lily.

What Is the Origin of the Name Lila?

Lila’s roots are in Arabic, Hindi, and Persian dialects and are connected to “layl.” Lila can describe a Middle Eastern girl, but it also has spiritual roots in Hinduism. Hindus connect Lila to the concept that the world is the god’s playground, where they make mischief and find joy. Lila is also loosely German, pointing to the fragrant lilac tree.

How Popular Is the Name Lila?

Lila has been popular in the Middle East for centuries before migrating to Europe and America. Lila’s exact records are unknown, but etymologists deduce that Lila was on record as the 191st most popular American girl name in 1900. Lila peaked in 2010, ranking among the top 151 girl names in the U.S. With a combination of class and history, Lila will likely remain relevant for some time.

How Do I Pronounce Lila?

Lila is pronounced “LYE-luh” and “LAY-luh” worldwide.

Is Lila a Boy or Girl Name?

Lila is traditionally a girl’s name.

Variations of Lila

Check out these cute variations of Lila:

  • Layla
  • Laylah
  • Leelah
  • Leighla
  • Leila
  • Lilah
  • Lilla
  • Lyelah
  • Lylah

Nicknames for Lila

Try one of these darling Lila nicknames:

  • La La
  • Lil
  • Lilac
  • Lily
  • Lulu
  • Lye

Similar Names to Lila

These titles are similar to Lila in meaning, origin, and pronunciation:

  • Keila
  • Kyla
  • Laela
  • Leah
  • Lily
  • Liya
  • Mila
  • Myla
  • Nila
  • Shyla
  • Skyla

Middle Names for Lila

Try one of these precious middle names for Lila:

Sibling Names for Lila

These sibling names for Lila make the perfect pair:

Famous People Named Lila

Learn more about famous people named Lila:

  • Lila Brown: Mexican singer.
  • Lila Diane Sawyer: American news anchor.
  • Lila Karp: American writer and activist.
  • Lila Lee: American actress.
  • Lila McCann: American country music singer.

Lila in Popular Culture

Keep an eye out for these references to Lila in pop culture:

  • Lila: Main character in television’s “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
  • Lila Bard: Mentioned in V.E. Schwab’s book “Darker Shade of Magic.”
  • Lila Crane: Mentioned in Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Psycho.”
  • Lila Fowler: Minor character in the “Sweet Valley High” franchise.
  • Lila Sawyer: Featured in television’s “Hey Arnold.”
  • Lila Test: Character in TV’s “Johnny Test.”
  • Lila West: Mentioned in television’s “Dexter.”

Lila FAQs

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about Lila:

What Does Lila Mean Biblically?

Lila isn’t directly mentioned in the Bible, but many will associate the meaning of “dark” with biblical figures. There are multiple references to dark-skinned women in the Old Testament, particularly in Song of Solomon. Lila can also be a nickname for Delilah, Samson’s biblical lover. Delilah’s story of trickery can be found in the Old Testament book of Judges.

What Religion Is the Name Lila?

Lila isn’t claimed by a particular religion, though many associate the title with Islam and Hinduism. Lila was a popular title in the Middle East, referring to women of that locale. Though Lila isn’t in the Quran, its positive meaning makes it acceptable for Muslims. Lila is also popular in the Hindu religion, where it refers to the concept of the god’s using the world as their playground.

Is Lila a Rare Name?

Lila is well-known worldwide, taking it out of the running for the rarest girl name. Lila is prevalent in Europe and America, consistently ranking among the top 200 names for girls. Lila had a brief hiatus from 1975-1980, reemerging with the appearance of beautiful fictional namesakes. Lila is mentioned in many television shows, books, and films, including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”

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About the Author

Cate Hoepner

Cate Hoepner is a professional blogger and freelance writer of seven years. Before transitioning into a writing role, she worked in finance and customer service. Cate enjoys DIY projects, old movies, music, and a good cup of coffee. In her free time, you'll find her homeschooling her three kids, crafting her dream homestead, and reading anything she can get her hands on.