Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “descendant; heir.”
Eng (LEEF); Eng/Swe/Ice (LAFE); Nor (LIFE)
The name is derived from the Old Norse, Leifr meaning (heir, descendant). It is most famously borne by Norse Explorer, Leif Eriksson (970-1020), who is regarded as the first European to set foot on North America and is credited for discovering Greenland.
The name has always been prevalent throughout Scandinavia. However, its usage in Germany is relatively recent where it’s currently the 263rd most popular male name, (2011). The name has also had prevalent usage in North America, particularly within the Midwest where a large Scandinavian-American population resides, one notable American bearer being former teen pop idol, Leif Garrett (b.1961).
Other forms of the name include:
- Leif (Danish/English/Faroese/Finnish/German/Icelandic/Norwegian/Swedish)
- Leif(f) (Danish: obscure)
- Lejf (Danish: obscure)
- Leifur (Icelandic: more common form)
- Leiv (Norwegian)
- Leifr (Old Norse)