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)