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Selena Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Selena Overview

  • Meaning: Selena means the moon goddess, or simply “the moon,” “light,” and “brightness.”
  • Gender: Selena is usually a feminine name.
  • Origin: Selena has a Greek and Latin origin. It comes from the Greek word “selas” for light and also has its roots in the Ancient Greek moon goddess Selene.
  • Pronunciation: Selena is pronounced “Suh-LEE-nuh.”
  • Popularity: Selena is a popular name and is regularly in the top 200 US girl names.
  • Nicknames: Eenie, Lean, Leenie, Lena, Lina, Sel, Selie
  • Variations: Celene, Selene, Selinda, Seline, Sylena.
  • Namesakes: Selena Forrest, Selena Gomez, Selena Li, Selena Millares, Selena Quintanilla Pérez.

What Does Selena Mean?

Selena is a Latin variation of the Greek name Selene. She was the moon goddess, and the name Selena still has a meaning associated with this mythology.

It can also directly mean “lightness” or just “the moon.”

What is the Origin of the Name Selena?

The name Selena originated from the Greek girl’s name Selene, the Grecian goddess of the moon. She was known for being the personification of the moon and for being a great beauty.

Surprisingly, Selene is a Greek goddess that wasn’t as popular as some other goddesses. Depictions of her are rare but often include a crescent moon on her head.

Selene likely came from the Greek word “selas,” which means brightness. This is why Selena has dual meanings as both a moon goddess and as a general meaning for light.

How Popular is the Name Selena?

The name Selena is somewhat popular and is certainly not rare. According to the Social Security Administration, Selena peaked in popularity in 1995 when it broke into the top 100 at number 95 (1). That rise was likely influenced by the tragic death of the pop sensation Selena, who died that year.

Afterward, Selena remained in the top 200 until dropping out in 2001. It took a brief hit during the mid-2000s and dropped into the 300s, but, in 2021, Selena held the 203rd spot.

For boys, the data is nonexistent as the name never became one of the top 1000 popular names. Selena is a rare choice for boys and only popular among girls.

How Do I Pronounce Selena?

Selena only has one specific way to pronounce it. Its Greek and Latin origins give it a simple pronunciation.

Selena is pronounced “Suh-LEE-nuh,” with the most emphasis on the middle syllable.

Is Selena a Boy or Girl Name?

Selena is a name typically for girls only, as it is so strongly associated with Greek goddesses and female pop stars.

Although not impossible, the name is such a rare choice for boys that there is no data on boys having it.

Variations of Selena

Enjoying the name Selena but not quite sure it’s the right fit for you? Here are a few common variations of the name:

  • Celene (Latin, Greek)
  • Selene (Greek)
  • Selinda (Greek)
  • Seline (Greek)
  • Sylena (Latin)

Nicknames for Selena

Selena is an option with a few cute nicknames that are great options to give it even more of a personal twist, including:

  • Eenie
  • Lean
  • Leenie
  • Lena
  • Lina
  • Sel
  • Selie

Similar Names to Selena

Maybe you like the sound of Selena but aren’t a big fan of the meaning or vice versa. Here are a few names that sound similar, have mythological roots, or have comparable definitions as Selena:

Middle Names for Selena

Selena is a great choice for a first name, but pairing it with a middle name might seem difficult. Here are a few options that sound good paired with Selena or have complementary meanings:

Sibling Names for Selena

If you already have a child named Selena or you’re planning ahead, here are a few names that sound nice for siblings:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Selena

Despite not being the most popular name, Selena has been the name of plenty of famous people. Here is a few notable Selenas to know about:

  • Selena Forrest: American fashion model.
  • Selena Gomez: American pop singer and actress.
  • Selena Li: Hong Kong beauty contestant and actress.
  • Selena Millares: Spanish writer and professor.
  • Selena Quintanilla Pérez: Known simply as Selena, she was a prominent Mexican-American singer.
  • Selena Roberts: American sportswriter.
  • Selena Royle: American actress.
  • Selena Sloan Butler: American founder of parent-teacher organizations.
  • Selena Tan: Singaporean actress.

Selena in Popular Culture

Selena is a name that isn’t often in popular culture references, but it’s still fun to see the name as some favorite characters from media like:

  • Selena Alvarez: A character in the “Left to Die” book series by Lisa Jackson.
  • Selena Cross: A protagonist of the novel “Peyton Place” by Grace Metalious.
  • Selena: A character in the apocalyptic film “28 Days Later.”
  • Selena: A character in the video game “Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.”
  • Selena: An antagonist from the TV series “Supergirl.”

Selena FAQs

Now that you’re familiar with some of the basics about the name Selena, you might still have a few questions. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Selena.

What Are Selena’s Symbols?

This question references the Greek goddess Selene, who had a few symbols commonly associated with her. As a modern variant, these can be applied to Selena too. The symbols are a crescent, a chariot, torches, and bulls.

Does the Name Selena Have Personality Traits?

Yes, there are plenty of traits associated with the name Selena. These include being compassionate, empathetic, kind, loving, and considerate. Of course, every person named Selena is an individual, but these positive characteristics are frequently connected to the name.

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