Bos/Eng/Sp (MY-dah) or Eng (MAY-dah)

The name could be of a few different origins. It could be from the Arabic, سورة المائدة al-ma’idah (the table), the name name of a sura and 5th Chapter of the Qu’ran.

It could also be taken from the name of a place in Italy, which was popularized after a Battle took place there in 1807, a huge victory for Britain. Sir Walter Scott named his dog in honour of the victory.

It was also occassionally used as a short form of Magdalena or Madeleine in the 18th-century, eventually spinning off into an independent given name.

It was also the name of the eponymous heroine in the early 20th-century children series, by Inez Haynes Irwin (1873-1970), Maida.

It has also been connected with the Arabic word ma’id which means “angry; disgusted.”

As of 2010, Maida was the 72nd most popular female name in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Another Bosnian form is Majida.

A Bosnian masculine form is Maid.



Gender: Feminine
Origin: German

The name is derived from a German diminutive form of Magdalena and Helene.

It has been used as an independent given name since at least the early part of the 20th-century.

Its recent popularity in Germany may be due to Heidi Klum, who named her daughter Leni in 2004.

Leni is currently the 23rd most popular female name in Germany, (2011).

The name is also occasionally used in Norway and Sweden.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Czech/German

The name has several possible derivations, the most popular being that it is a Czech contracted form of Magdalena or Helena. Other sources contend that it is derived from an archaic Russian diminutive form of Olga or Alexandra. It has even been suggested to be an earlier Czech feminine form of Alan

It is possible that it is derived from the Norman female name, Alenn, again, a form of Magdalena.

In Belarus, the name used as a form of Helen.

Currently, it is 226th most popular female name in Germany, (2011).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Alena (Belarusian/Croatian/Czech/German/Russian/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Aléna (Hungarian)
  • Alenka (Slovene)

In Czech and Slovak, Alenka is the diminutive form.

The name is borne by Czech supermodel Alena Šeredová Buffon (b.1978).



The name could be of several different sources and etymologies depending on the bearer of the name.

It could be from the name of a Greenlandic solar diety and according to legend, she is constantly fleeing from her brother Annigan (the moon god) due to an old disagreement. The reason behind their fight varies from legend to legend.

It could also be Scottish, a feminine form of Malcolm.

In Polish, it is from the word for raspberry and is occasionally used as a given name. It received a negative opinion from the Polish Language Council, but this has not banned the name from usage. It was the pseudonym of a few famous Polish women, one being Malina Michalska (b.1916 née Maria Michalska) a famous dancer and Polish-German actress, Malina Ebert (b.1976) née Monika. It is the word for raspberry in several other Slavic languages, such as Czech, Slovak and Bulgarian.

Mălina is Romanian name derived from the Romanian word mălin meaning bird cherry tree. The name was borne by Romanian singer, Mălina Olinescu (1974-2011).

In addition, the name could also be Scandinavian, an elaborated form of Malin.

Currently, Malina is the 272nd most popular female name in Germany, (2011).


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Croatian/Bosnian/Czech/Italian/Serbian/Spanish/Swedish

The name is an abstract form of Maria Magdalena, Mahulena and Magdalena.

As of 2009, Malena was the 19th most popular female name in Argentina. Its popularity in Argentina may be due to a famous tango song, Malena, by Homero Manzi and Lucio Demarre.

In the former Yugoslavia, it is the name of a title song by Videosex and Idoli.

Recently the name was brought to the public attention by the 2000 academy award winning Italian film starring Monica Belucci.

The name is borne by Swedish pop star, Malena Ernman (b.1970).

Another form is the Danish and Norwegian, Malene.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Provençal
Meaning: Mary Magdalene

The name is specific to Provence and was originally used in honour of St. Mary Magdala as it was traditionally believed that after the death of Christ she settled in what is now Provence living as a hermit.

The name is said to be a contraction of Maria and Magdalina, the Provençal forms of Mary and Magdalene.

Magali is currently the 48th most popular female name in Argentina, (2009)

Its popularity in Latin America may have been popularized by the Brazilian comic books Turma da Mônica (Monica’s Gang) in which a character is named Magali.


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Estonian
Meaning: debated

The name is possibly derived from the Estonian, lein, meaning “mourning” or perhaps it is an abbreviation of the French, Madeleine.

The designated name-day is June 15.

Other forms include: Leina and Leini.



Magdalena, Madeleine, Madeline

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “of Magdala.”

We have the exotic and sophisticated Magdalena, the French classic Madeleine and the English trend setter Madeline.  The origins of these names go all the way back to the Bible, the New Testament to be exact. It is derived from a title given to the famous Catholic saint, Mary Magdalen, also known as Mary of Magdala. Magdala, being the town that the former prostitute turned follower of Christ, hailed from, a town on the sea, near Galilee, its meaning being “tower.”

In the Middle Ages, St. Mary Magdalen was a beloved saint, making the name popular in virtually every European country, evolving into myriad different forms. The cult of St. Mary Magdalen was especially popular in France, where she was known as La Madeleine (lah mah-deh-LEN). In fact, tradition holds that, after the death of Christ, Mary Magdalen travelled to France, where she converted many of the early inhabitants to the new faith. She is considered one of France’s patron saints and it is believed that her bones were buried in France. La Madeleine gave her name to several communes in France as well as a river. It is even the name of a famous French pastry.

While you are out rushing to work, standing in line, getting your daily fix of Starbucks, you may notice that at the front counter there are packages of a soft little sponge-like cookie. These are madeleines or petit madeleines. They are a popular snack in France, made from lemon and butter, and are known for their distinctive shell shape. Legend has it that they acquired their name from the lady who invented them, Madeleine Paulmier. They are a delightful little treat, and I recommend that the next time you are at Starbucks, you should try them yourself.

Likewise, Madeleine has been a very popular choice in Great Britain and currently ranks in as the 80th most popular feminine name in Britain and Wales for 2007, while in its home country of France, it comes in rather low. It was the 454th most popular feminine name in France for 2006.

Let us not forget the fun and sweet version of Madeline (MAD-eh-LINE), Madeline seems to be specifically a North American version of the French form. Originally pronounced (MAD-eh-LIN), its preferred pronunciation has switched over to the former in the last decade, no doubt due to the popular children’s series of books of the same name.

Madeline has been quite popular the last few years, she ranked in at a whopping 61 in the 2007 most popular feminine names in the United States. She has also made her mark in other non-British English speaking countries, such as Canada and Australia. In Canada she came in at 85, while in Australia 93.

There is also the trendified corrupted form of Madelyn, which currently comes in at # 104, however, it is advisable to use the French spelling if you prefer the (Mad-eh-lin) pronunciation, which seems to be the goal of the parents of the Madelyns.

Nicknames include Maddie, Leine and Lynn. The name is borne by Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Madeleine Albright, and author Madeleine L’Engle.

Let us now move on to its Eastern European alternative of Magdalena (MAHG-dah-LAY-nah). This form is used in Spain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Poland. It is especially popular in both Poland and the Czech Republic where it is often shortened to Magda, and occasionally Lenka. There are the Czech spin offs of Alenka and Madlenka, used as an independent name.

Magdalena might be appealing to English speaking parents who love the nickname Maggie but really dislike Margaret. On top of that, it can be shortened to appealing and trendy Laney or even Lena.

Other forms of the trio include:
  • Magdalawit (Amharic/Eritrean)
  • Maialen (Basque: MY-ah-LEN)
  • Madenn (Breton)
  • Miglena (Bulgarian)
  • Alena (Czech-Slovak and occasionally used in Germany. Diminutive form is Alenka)
  • Magdaléna (Czech)
  • Mahulena (Czech: a form created by Czech author, Julius Zeyer, for his his Ráduz and Mahulena-1898)
  • Magdalene (Danish)
  • Magdalone/Malene/Lone (Danish)
  • Malle/Madli (Estonian pronounced MAHL-leh and MAHD-lee) other forms include Mall, Leen (LANE), Leena and Made (MAH-deh)
  • Matleena (Finnish pronounced maht-LAY-nah) diminutive forms now commonly used as independent names include: Leen, Leena and Lenita)
  • Magdeleine (French: archaic form)
  • Leni (German: originally a diminutive form, it has recently become trendy in German speaking countries as an independent name)
  • Madelene (German: mah-deh-LEH-neh: other forms include, Madlene and Madlen)
  • Magdalini (Greek Modern-pronounced mahg-dah-LEE-nee)
  • Magdolna (Hungarian, pronounced mog-DOH-noh) diminutive forms now popularly used as independent name in Hungary are Lenke (LEHN-keh) and Duci (DOOT-see).
  • Madalein (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Mailin (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Maddalena (Italian pronounced mahd-dah-LAY-nah. Other forms include Maida, Madina and Magdala)
  • Madala (Latvian) another form is Magone
  • Talena (Latvian/Scottish)
  • Maguelone (Occitanian)
  • Madalena (Portuguese pronounced mah-dah-LAY-nah)
  • Maclaina (Romansch pronounced mugg-LIE-nah) other Romansch forms include Madina, Madlaina (mudd-LIE-nah) and Madlena (mudd-LEH-nah).
  • Madalina (Romanian pronounced mah-dah-LEE-nah)
  • Magdalina Магдалина (Russian)
  • Manda (Serbo-Croatian/Macedonian/Slovene)
  • Madlena (Sorbian)
  • Malin/Målin (Swedish/Norwegian pronounced MAW-lin, other forms include Malena and Madicken (MAH-dee-KEN)
  • Mädi (Swiss-German: dialectical form from Bern MAD-dee)
  • Magdalyna (Ukrainian)
  • Madałena (Venetian)

Other popular offshoots include the English corrupted form of Madelaine (MAD-eh-LANE): given to the daughter of David Duchovny and Téa Leoni. The dated German forms of Marlene (Eng mar-LEEN; Germ mahr-LEH-neh) & Marla and the Polish Marlena.The designated name day for all of these names is July 22.

French diminutives are Mado and Madelon. Polish diminutive forms are: Madzia, Magda, Magdunia, Magdusia and Magdeczka. Hungarian diminutives are, Duci

There are a few Italian masculine forms and that includes, Maddaleno, Magdalo and Maido.