Ilona


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hungarian/Finnish Илона
Hung (EE-loh-naw); Fin (EE-loh-nah); Germ/Pol (ee-LOH-nah)

The name was initially a Hungarian form of Helen, but its usage has spread throughout Eastern Europe and as even appeared north as Finland.

In Finland and Estonian, its etymology has often been traced to the Finnish ilona, the essive of the word, ilo, meaning, “joy.”

In Hungarian, it is a translation of Helen, via the Slavic, Jelena, in Old Hungarian it was Jelona. However, it has been suggested that it may be derived from an old Magyar source of uncertain etymology. The name appears quite often in Hungarian folklore.

Ilona is one of the few Hungarian names that has made a name for itself in other cultures, (no pun intended). It is a common female name in Albania, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, France, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Ukraine, the former Yugoslavian Republics and it is occasionally used in some Spanish-speaking countries.

As of 2011, Ilona was the 37th most popular female name in Finland. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 178 (France, 2009)
  • # 478 (the Netherlands, 2010)

A few notable bearers include Ilona Zrinyi (1643-1703), a national heroine in both Hungary and Croatia, a representative of national freedom for both nations. She is famous for opposing the advances of the Habsburg takeover.

A common Hungarian diminutive is Ilonka.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Ilona

  1. I never knew there was so much either. I have known a few Ilonas throughout my life, none of them were Hungarian, but I always assumed it was just the Hungarian form of Helen and nothing more 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s