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Lillian Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Lillian Overview

  • Meaning: Lillian means lily, as in the flower.
  • Gender: Lillian is usually considered a girl’s name, but it is occasionally used as a boy’s name.
  • Origin: Lillian was derived from Latin.
  • Pronunciation: Lillian is pronounced LIL-ee-an.
  • Popularity: Lillian is very popular in the United States. It has been popular throughout most of the 20 and 21 centuries, but it is currently decreasing in popularity.
  • Nicknames: Ann, Leona, Lil, Lils, Lily bug, and Tiger Lily.
  • Variations: Liliana, Lilias, Lilija, Lillie, and Lilyann.
  • Namesakes: Lillian Armstrong, Lillian Hellman, Lillian Wald.

What Does Lillian Mean?

Lillian means lily. Lilies are flowers known for their elegance and beauty.

What is the Origin of the Name Lillian?

Lillian has English origins. It is derived from the Latin word that means lily, a flower.

How Popular is the Name Lillian?

In the 1900s, the name Lillian was very popular. From 1900 to 1924, it fell within the top 25 female names.

Its popularity decreased for years and finally climbed back to the top 100 names in 2002. The name’s popularity has begun to drop once again. However, it is still very popular at present. Lillian ranks at number 51 of the most popular female names (1).

How Do I Pronounce Lillian?

You should pronounce Lillian as “LIL-ee-an.”

Is Lillian a Boy or Girl Name?

Lillian is mainly used for girls. Although it has been a popular girl’s name in the United States for most of the past century, it only fell within the top 500 boys’ names one time.

In French, the slight variation, Lilian, is used as a boy’s name.

Variations of Lillian

Perhaps you like Lillian, but you want to use a name that highlights your ethnicity or a name that is just slightly different There are several variations, such as:

  • Lilia (Latin)
  • Liliana (Spanish, Italian)
  • Liliane (French)
  • Lilias (Scottish)
  • Lillie (Danish, German, and Finnish)
  • Lilija (Latvian)
  • Lilyann (Latin)
  • Lilyanne (Latin)

Nicknames for Lillian

Everyone seems to have a nickname these days. If you name your daughter Lillian, she may decide to call herself:

  • Ann
  • Ella
  • Lainey
  • Leanne
  • Lenny
  • Leona
  • Lina
  • Lil
  • Liliana
  • Lils
  • Lily
  • Lily bug
  • Lizzie
  • Tiger Lily

Similar Names to Lillian

Does something about the name Lillian not quite fit right? Try these names that are similar to the meaning, origin, or sound of Lillian:

Middle Names for Lillian

Choosing a middle name is not an easy task. Some that sound beautiful when paired with Lillian are:

  • Adelia
  • Amber
  • Dorothea
  • Giovanna
  • Isadora
  • Kylie
  • Mahogany
  • Michelle
  • Rosalinda

Sibling Names for Lillian

Do you plan to have another child in the future? Luckily, many sibling names pair beautifully with Lillian, like:

Famous People Named Lillian

It is always comforting to know that your daughter can look up to role models who share her name. Here are some famous people named Lillian:

  • Lillian Armstrong: American jazz musician.
  • Lillian Davies: Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Halland
  • Lillian Gilbreth: American psychologist, educator, and industrial engineer.
  • Lillian Gish: American silent film actress.
  • Lillian Hellman: American playwright.
  • Lillian Roth: American singer and actress.
  • Lillian Roxon: Australian journalist and author.
  • Lillian Russell: American actress and singer.
  • Lillian Wald: American author, humanitarian, and nurse.

Lillians in Pop Culture

If you name your daughter Lillian, she will share her name with these characters in pop culture.

  • Lillian: Character in the movie Shrek
  • Lillian Aldrin (Lily): Character in the “How I Met Your Mother” TV series.
  • Lillian DeVille (Lil): Character in the “Rugrats” TV series.
  • Lillian Luthor: Character in DC Comics.
  • Lillian Salvatore (Lily): Character in “The Vampire Diaries” TV series.
  • Lillian Truscott (Lily): Character in the “Hannah Montana” TV series.


Do you want to learn a few bonus facts about Lillian? Below are some common uses related to the name.

What are Lilies?

Lilies are flowering plants typically found in the Northern Hemisphere. You can identify these perennial plants by their leafy stems, narrow leaves, scaly bulbs, and flowers. Their flowers form a trumpet-like shape; they are narrow near the stem and wider at the ends of the petals.

Around 1000 BCE, people in Asia Minor grew lilies to use as medicine. Lilies have also been grown for food and as decorations. The Madonna lily is famous as a symbol of purity that often accompanies the Virgin Mary in artwork (2).

Who is Saint Lillian?

Saint Lillian of Cordoba lived during the ninth century in Spain. She was a laywoman who married Saint Felix of Cordoba.

At the time, the Moors controlled the couple’s homeland. Because Moorish people were Muslim, Saint Lillian was forced to hide her Christain faith. However, she died in the Persecution of the Caliph Abderraham II as a martyr.

Catholics celebrate Saint Lillian on her Feast Day, July 27.

Where Is Lillian?

Lillian is a part of Baldwin County in Alabama. It is an unincorporated area, which means that the people are not subject to the laws of the local municipal corporation.

The King of Spain sent colonists to Alabama. While the land surrounding Lillian was designed as a resort location, more practical establishments were placed in Lillian. For example, a school, hotel, and post office were established there.

Lillian, Alabama, was named after Lillian Kee, the daughter of a postmaster (3).

Who Was Lillian Evelyn Gilbreth?

Lillian Evelyn Gilbreth lived in the United States from 1878 to 1972. Despite the obstacles faced by women at the time, Lillian graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in literature.

She dedicated years to combining social sciences and industrial management. Her husband, Frank Gilbreth, fueled her passion for efficiency at work. Their unique viewpoint was that tending to the worker would benefit production more than focusing solely on equipment.

Later, Lillian became president of a consulting firm and taught at colleges and universities (4).

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