Nejra

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Bosnian
Meaning: “bright; radiant.”
(NAY-rah)

The name is derived from the Arabic word, nayr, meaning, “bright; radiant.”

As of 2010, Nejra was the 14th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Other forms of the name include: Neira and Nejira.

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Saira

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic
Meaning: “traveler.”
(SYE-rah)

The name comes from the Arabic meaning, “traveler.”

This was the Muslim name of Scottish-Afghan writer, Saira Shah, (neé Elizabeth Louise Mackenzie 1900-1960), sometimes writing under the pseudonym of Morag Murray Abdullah. It is also borne by her grand-daughter, the author, reporter and documentary film-maker, Saira Shah (b.1964). It is also borne by Canadian fashion model, Saira Mohan (b.1978)

Its Bosnian form of Sajra is currently the 14th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina, (2010).

A Turkish and Azeri form is Saire.

Ena

Gender: Feminine
Origin: South Slavic
(EN-ah)

The name could be a Croatian contraction of Irena or Bosnian contracted form of Enesa, however, it could also be an anglicized form of the Gaelic female name, Eithne.

As of 2010, Ena was the 15th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the 27th most popular in Croatia.

Leila, Layla

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic לילה‎ ليلى
Meaning: “night.”
(LAY-la)

The name is derived from the Arabic and has a variety of different meanings depending on its spelling, the most popular etymology is that it is from a Semitic root, l-y-l, meaning, “night” and shares the same etymology as the name Lilith.

The name has always been popular in the Middle East and is found in the 7th-century romantic poem, Qays & Layla also known as Layla & Majnun (written by Persian poet, Nizami Ganjavi). The legend trickled down to throughout the Middle East, Near East, Central Asia and South Eastern Europe, making the name a long time classic in all those regions.

It was introduced into the English-speaking world via Lord Byron in which the name appears in two of his works, The Gaiour (1813) and Don Juan (1819). It was further popularized in the 1970s when the name was the subject of two songs, one being the famous Eric Clapton song and the other being “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos.

Her Bosnian form of Lejla is the 7th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina, (2010). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 3 (Leyla, Azerbaijan, 2010)
  • # 36 (Layla, Australia, 2010)
  • # 37 (Layla, United States, 2010)
  • # 44 (Layla, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 50 (Layla, Ireland, 2010)
  • # 50 (Layla, Scotland, 2010)
  • # 71 (Leila, Hungary, 2010)
  • # 76 (Layla, Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 95 (Laila, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 138 (Laila, United States, 2010)
  • # 143 (Leila, France, 2009)
  • # 204 (Leila, United States, 2010)
  • # 304 (Layla, Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 478 (Laila, Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 747 (Leyla, United States, 2010)

The name is also common in Iran, Israel, the Balkans and in the Turkic world.

In the Middle East, the name was popularized by a 7th-century poet by the name of Qays, whose lady love was named Layla. His story became a popular Medieval Arabic romance.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Lejla Лейла (Albanian/Bosnian/Dagestani/Kazakh/Maltese/Tatar)
  • Laïla (Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Leïla (Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Leyli Լեյլի (Armenian)
  • Leyla (Azeri/English/Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Lajla Лайла (Chechen)
  • Leila ლეილა (Circassian/English/Ethiopian/French/Georgian/Hungarian)
  • Laila (Dutch/English/Estonian/Finnish/Hindi/German/Latvian/Scandinavian/Urdu)
  • Layla (English/Italian/Uzbek)
  • Lejli Лейли (Kazakh)
  • Ljajlim Ляйлим (Kazakh)
Laila can also be a Sami form of Helga.

Azra

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic
Meaning: “virgin.”
(AHZ-rah)

The name is derived from the Arabic, ‘adra, meaning, “virgin; maiden.”

As of 2010, Azra was the 22nd most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Amna

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic  أمنة
Meaning: “safety.”
(AHM-nah)

The name is derived from the Arabic أمان (amn) meaning, “safety.”

As of 2010, Amna was the 16th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Elma

The name could either be a feminine form of Elmo, or a Germanic short form of AmaliaIt could also be an Italian form of Helma, a German short form of Wilhelmina.

As of 2010, Elma was the 17th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The name was borne by Yugoslavian actress, Elma Karlowa.

Ayla

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Turkish
Meaning: “halo; moonlight.”
(I-lah)

The name is derived from the Turkish word, ay (moon), denoting halo or moonlight.

Ayla makes an appearance in Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear as the name of the Cro-Magnum heroine.

Currently, its Bosnian form of Ajla is the 5th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina, (2010). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 83 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 217 (Germany, 2011)
  • #351 (United States, 2010)
  • # 444 (the Netherlands, 2010)
Other forms of the name include:
  • Ajla (Albanian/Bosnian/Tatar)
  • Ajly Айлы (Tartar)
  • Ajta Аыта (Tatar)

The name could also be a variant transcription of the Hebrew, Elah אֵלָה , meaning “oak” or “terebinth tree.”

Asma

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic أسمى
Meaning: “supreme.”
(AHS-mah)

The name comes directly from the Arabic, أشد (asma), meaning, “supreme.”

The name is of pre-Islamic origins and was borne by a legendary 7th-century female poetess, Asma bint Marwan. According to legend, she tried to incite the populous of Medina to rebel against the Prophet Mohammed in which she was summarily killed by the Prophet. Her existence and story has been questioned and debated by scholars.

Another notable bearers include Asma al-Assad, First Lady of Syria (b.1975). Its Turkish form of Esma was borne by two Turkish sultanas.

As of 2010, Esma was the 18th most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Other Bosnian forms include: Esmana, Esmina and Esminka.