Leah

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: debated
Eng (LEE-uh); Heb (LAY-ah)

The name is found in the Old Testament as the name of the sister of Rachel and the first wife of Jacob.

In Jewish tradition, Leah is considered a matriarch and among Christians, she is believed to be the direct ancestor of Jesus.

Its exact meaning and origins are debated. Many scholars believe that it is from the Hebrew לְאָה (le’ah), meaning, “weary.” Other sources have suggested that it is from an Akkadian source meaning, “lady; mistress.”

In the English speaking world and on the continent, it was not common outside the Jewish community until after the Protestant Reformation.

Currently, Leah ranks in as the 24th most popular female name, (2010) and this is the highest the name has ranked in U.S. naming history. She is quite popular in other countries, her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Lea, Faroe Islands, 2010)
  • # 1 (Léa, Monaco, 2009)
  • # 1 (Lea, Romansch-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 2 (Léa, French-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 2 (Lea, Liechtenstein, 2010)
  • # 3 (Léa, France, 2009)
  • # 3 (Lea, Luxembourg, 2009)
  • # 5 (Lea, Austria, 2010)
  • # 5 (Lea, German-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 5 (Léa, Belgium, 2010)
  • # 5 (Lea/Leah, Germany, 2011)
  • # 9 (Lea, Malta, 2010)
  • # 14 (Leah, Norway, 2010)
  • # 15 (Leah, Ireland, 2010)
  • # 17 (Lea, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 20 (Leah, Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 25 (Leah, Scotland, 2010)
  • # 39 (Lea, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 46 (Lea, Denmark, 2010)
  • # 49 (Lea, Sweden, 2010)
  • # 50 (Leah, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 55 (Leia, Sweden, 2010)
  • # 56 (Leah, Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 59 (Lia, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 63 (Leah, New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 89 (Lea, Norway, 2010)
  • # 95 (Lia, Hungary, 2010)
  • # 96 (Leah, Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 299 (Lia, France, 2009)
  • # 320 (Leia, France, 2009)
  • # 356 (Lia, Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 386 (Leah, Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 418 (Lea, Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 566 (Lea, United States, 2010)
  • # 830 (Leia, United States, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Lia (Catalan/Czech/Hungarian/Italian/Portuguese/Biblical Latin/Slovene)
  • Lea (Czech/Dutch/Estonian/Finnish/German/Hungarian/Icelandic/Norwegian/Polish/Romansch/Scandinavian/Slovak/Slovene/Spanish/Turkish)
  • Leah (English/Ethiopian/German/Scandinavian)
  • Leea (Finnish)
  • Leija (Finnish)
  • Leja (Finnish)
  • Lessu (Finnish)
  • Léa (French)
  • Leaette/Liette (French: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name, especially among French Huguenots).
  • Lía (Galician/Spanish)
  • Leia Λεια (Greek: Biblical)
  • Léá (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Lija/Liya Лия (Russian)
  • Lejá (Sami)

Common Czech diminutives include:

  • Leana
  • Leí
  • Leonka
  • Leoša
  • Leuška
  • Leúšik
  • Lienka
  • Liuška

The designated name-days are: January 5 (Estonia/Finland), March 22 (France), April 29 (Slovak), June 26 (Sweden).

Lia

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Italian/Galician/German
(LEE-ah)

The name could either be from the Italian and Galician form of Leah or it could be a German contraction of Rosalia or Julia or any name that ends in -lia.

Currently, it is the 34th most popular female name in Germany, (2011). Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • #18 (German-speaking Switzerland, 2010)
  • #59 (Slovenia, 2010)
  • #299 (France, 2009)
  • # 356 (United States, 2010)

The name is borne by German Opera Soprano, Lia Hanus.