Layla Name Meaning

Baby girl laughing with some missing teeth

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What Does Layla Mean? 

Layla is an ancient Arabic name that has many meanings. The most common meaning for the name in Arabic is “night,” or “dark.” This typically feminine name is also thought to have Hebrew origins and also means “night” or “dark.”

The name, Layla, is often given to baby girls who are born at night to signify the time in which they were born. In some interpretations, the name also could mean “dark beauty.” One of the earliest uses of the name was in the Arabian legend of Qays and Layla.

The story of Qays and Layla is a story of unrequited love that led to the death of Qays. The story was told again by Nezami Ganjavi, a Persian poet in the 12th century, in his poem “Layla and Majnun.” The story was immensely popular during medieval times in Arabia and Persia, which most likely contributed to its popularity in those regions. 

  • Origin: Layla has Arabic and Hebrew origins.
  • Gender: Layla is historically a feminine name but can be given to any gender. 
  • Pronunciation: lay-la

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular is the Name Layla? 

When Derek and the Dominos released a song in the 1970s named “Layla,” this is thought to have contributed to the popularity of the name in the United States. Around this time, the first recorded use of the name was noted in the U.S., and it has grown in popularity since then.

Layla's popularity has experienced a steady rise since 2001. In that year, 947 babies were given the name. Just 18 years later in 2019, a whopping 6,491 babies were named Layla in the United States, which was the peak of its popularity.

According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration, Layla is the 24th most popular name for girls in the United States. American singer and songwriter, Tanya Tucker, named her baby Layla. Plus, it is believed that the popularity of the name Kayla also contributed to the popularity of Layla. Parents who were looking for a similar name or a twist on the name Kayla tended to opt for Layla. 

Name Variations 

Layla has several spelling variations. Some of the most common are: 

  • Laela 
  • Laila (Arabic, Urdu)
  • Laylah
  • Leila (Persian, Georgian, Arabic)
  • Leilah (English)
  • Lela (English)
  • Leyla (Arabic, Kurdish, Azerbaijani, Persian)
  • Lyla (English)
  • Lylah (English)

Similar Names

Some similar names that you could consider include: 

  • Aila
  • Amelia
  • Avery
  • Ella
  • Keyla 
  • Lilly
  • Nailah

Common Nicknames

Layla is a short and sweet name made up of only two syllables. As a result, most people find no need to form nicknames out of it. However, two common nicknames for Layla include Lala and Lulu. 

Suggested Sibling Names 

Looking for a sibling name for Layla? Here are some popular options:

  • Amelia
  • Ava
  • Caleb
  • Dominic
  • Ella
  • Elijah 
  • Emma
  • Isabella
  • Jayden
  • Levi
  • Olivia
  • Sophia
  • Wyatt

Famous People Named Layla

If you are considering the name Layla for your baby, here are some famous people who would share the name with her: 

  • Layla Ali, professional boxer and daughter of Muhammad Ali 
  • Layla El, British model, dancer, wrestler, and real-estate agent
  • Layla Hanbury, Australian hip-hop artist and songwriter 
  • Layla Kaylif, British Emirati singer and songwriter 
  • Layla McCarter, American professional boxer 

Leila is one of the most common variants of the name Layla. In some regions, it’s even more popular than Layla. If you are considering this variant for your baby, here are some inspiring women who are also named Leila: 

  • Leila Ben-Gacem, Tunisian social entrepreneur 
  • Leila Goldkuhl, American model 
  • Leila Hyams, American film actress and model
  • Leila Lopes, Angolan actress and model crowned Miss Universe in 2011
  • Leila Mourad, Egyptian singer and actress 
  • Leila Pahlavi, Princess of Iran 

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options: 

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. University of Michigan. The Story of Layla and Majnun: the idealization of love.

  2. Social Security Administration. Popular baby names.

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.