Gender: Masculine
Origin: French
Meaning: “lion”
Eng (LIE-e-NEL); Fre (LEE-oh-NEL)

Perhaps originally an old French diminutive form of Léon, the name is found in Arthurian legend as the name of one of the Knights of the Round Table.  Lionel is the son of King Bors and the brother of Evaine. When king Claudas kills Bors, Lionel and his brother are rescued by the Lady of the Lake and raised in her underwater kingdom.

Currently, Lionel is the 899th most popular male name in the United States, (2010).

Another form of the name is the Croatian and Spanish, Leonel. As of 2009 Leonel was the 55th most popular male name in Argentina.

The name is borne by Lionel Richie (b.1949)


Leonie, Léonie, Leona, Leon

Origin: Greek
Meaning: “lion.”
(Eng: lee-OWE-nee; lee-OWE-nuh); Germ (LE-o-nee); Fre (lay-o-NEE)
(Eng: lee-ON; Germ LE-own; Fre (lay-OWn)

Leonie is currently a very popular name in the German-speaking countries, she ranked in at # 1 Austria (2008), she was the 3rd most popular in Germany (2009), the 4th most popular in Liechtenstein (2009) and the 4th most popular female name in all of Switzerland (2008).

In France, she ranked in at # 67 (2006) and at # 251 in the Netherlands (2008) and has yet to hit the U.S. top 1000.

The name Leonie is from the French feminine name, Léonie, which is a French form of the Latinate, Leona, a feminine form of the Greek male name Leon, which comes directly from the Greek word for “lion.”

The name was borne by several saints, which sparked the popularity for both the male and female forms.

In the United States, Leon ranked in as the 501st most popular male name, the highest he peaked in the United States was in 1921, coming in as the 74th most popular male name. In other countries, his rankings are as follows:

  • # 62 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 75 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 184 (the Netherlands, 2008)
  • # 39 (Norway, 2007)
  • # 62 (Scotland, 2008)
  • # 35 (Slovenia, 2005)
  • # 56 (Sweden, 2007)
  • # 2 (Switzerland, 2008)

Lionel is an old French diminutive form that is now exclusively used as an independent given name.

The Latin for of Leo is a cognate, a name which I shall dedicate a separate entry to in another installment.

Other forms of the male form include:

  • Levon (Armenian)
  • Léon (French)
  • Leonius (Late Latin)
  • Leonas (Lithuanian)
  • Leone (Italian)
  • Liun (Romansch)
  • León (Spanish)

Feminine forms include:

  • Leona (English/Italian/Polish/Spanish)
  • Léonie (French)
  • Léonne (French)
  • Leonie (German)
  • Leonia (Late Latin)

Designated name-day for Leonie is January 10 (Germany).