The name is derived from the Slavonic element mil meaning “gracious; dear.”
The name is used in virtually every Slavic speaking country, and is currently the most popular female name in Armenia. It is also used in Brazil, Spanish-speaking countries, German-speaking countries, Italy and Hungary.
The name was introduced into Italy when King Emmanuel III of Italy married Milena Vukotić (1847-1923).
The name looks pleasant enough, but has somewhat of a harsh sound, possibly due to its similar sound to militia, a term used to describe a military force made up of ordinary citizens. Though the name has no relation at all to the word, it is actually just an old Slavic feminine name made up of the element mila meaning “gracious” along with the diminutive feminine ending of-ica attached.
The name was borne by Princess Milica of Serbia (1300-1405), she was the wife of Prince Lazar and mother of Stepan Lazaravic and of Princess Oliveria Despina. Milica is known for her achievements in her old age, when her husband died, she joined an Orthodox convent and became a nun where she composed several books of poems and prayers. She is canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church. The name is also used in Slovakia and Slovenia and the official name day is August 17.