The name has several illusive origins and meanings.
In Hittite mythology, Inara is the name of the Hittite goddess of wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the storm-god Teshub/Tarhant. In this case, the etymology of the name is unknown.
In Latvia, the name is first recorded in 1922 as Ināra. It is believed to be an elaborated form of Ina, –āra is a popular feminine diminutive suffix in Latvian names. Its masculine form of Inārs came later. It is borne by Ināra Mūrniece (b.1970) speaker of the 12th Latvian Saeima. In Latvia, Ināra’s designated name-day is May 12th.
The inara melon, known locally as nara, is the name of a type of melon only found in Namibia.
In popular culture, the name is borne by a character on the American TV series Firefly (2002-2003).