Orlane, Orlean(n)a

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French/Cajun/Creole
Meaning: unknown
Fre (ore-LAHN); Eng (ore-lay-AH-nah; ore-lee-AN-nuh)

The name is of uncertain meaning, but has deep roots in the American South. In the form of Orleana, she appears in the U.S. Census records as early as the 18th-century and seems to have been particularly common in North Carolina, and she has even been found in the French colonies of the Caribbean.

There are a few theories as to her origins, but none are exactly conclusive. She was most likely introduced by French Huguenots of the Carolinas, and was even used by Cajun and Creole Catholics of Louisiana. I personally believe the most likely origin is that she is a feminization of the name of the city in France, Orléans, possibly originally used by French-American ex-patriots to honour the city of their birth.

Another theory is that she is a corruption of Rolande, or a franconization of the Italian, Orlan(d)a.

Orleanna is the name of a major character in the contemporary American classic, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

As of 2010, Orlane appeared in the French top 500, coming in as the 251st most popular female name. Her recent appearance may have to due with the fame of West Indian singer, known simply as Orlane.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Orlean(n)a (Anglo-French/Cajun/Creole)
  • Orlena (Anglo-French/Cajun/Creole: ore-LAY-nuh)
  • Orlina/Orline (Anglo-French/Cajun/Creole)
  • Orlane (Cajun/Creole/French)
  • Orlana (Italian)

Orlando

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Italian/Spanish

The name is an Italian form of the Germanic, Roland, meaning “famous land.” Orlando has been in usage in the English-speaking world since at least the 16th-century, most likely due to the character in Shakespeares As You Like It (1599). It also the name of the eponymous character of the Italian epic Orlando Furioso (circ. 1520).

The name has been borne by English composer, Orlando Gibbons (1582-1625), American general, Orlando Ward (1891-1972) and British actor, Orlando Bloom (b.1977).

It is also the name of a city in Florida, which, according to legend may have been named for the Shakespeare character or it could have been named for an American sentinel Orlando Reeves who was killed during the Seminole warrior.

Actor Orlando Bloom was named for Orlando Gibbons.

Currently, Orlando is the 425th most popular male name in Germany, (2011) and the 435th most popular in the United States, (2010).

A feminine form is Orlanda.