The name is a Russian diminutive form of Larisa and is now exclusively used as an independent given name outside of Russia.
It was first introduced into the English-speaking world via Boris Pasternak’s 1957 novel, Dr. Zhivago, which was later adapted into a movie, (1965) and its theme song “Lara’s Theme” became a popular romantic ballad. This no doubt set off the popularity of the name in the 20th-century.
The name is also used as an independent given name in German-Speaking countries, Spanish-speaking countries and in Slovenia.
Currently, Lara is the 27th most popular female name in Australia. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:
- # 22 (Belgium, 2006)
- # 12 (Germany, 2009)
- # 45 (Hungary, 2008)
- # 54 (the Netherlands, 2009)
- # 4 (Slovenia, 2005)
- # 71 (Spain, 2008)