Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Elena

The name Elena is the Italian and Spanish version of the name Helen which originated from the Greek Hēlēnē, the name of the famous beauty of the Trojan War story in Greek mythology. There are two possible etymologies for this name. One, it’s a form of “hēlios” which is the Greek word for ‘sun’ so Helen is thought to mean ‘ray or sunbeam.’ Secondly, it could be the Greek word for “Greek” (Hellēn) but this is not widely held. Given the legendary beauty of Helen of Troy (the face that could launch a thousand ships), a sunbeam or ray of light seems much more fitting. (For more information, see the name Helen.) In any case, this ancient name of Greek origin produced many variations throughout Europe such as Helen, Hélѐne, Ellen, Elaine, Eleanor, Ella and even Nell. Elena just so happens to be the Italian and Spanish form of Helen.

All About the Baby Name – Elena

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME ELENA

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME ELENA

The name Elena has been in use in America for well over 100 years; however, its popularity has been moderate at best. The name starts off the 20th century at relatively low usage, but has been climbing quietly up the charts ever since. As the Spanish version of the name Helen, Elena’s usage is more than likely influenced by the growing Latino and Hispanic population in the United States, but the name is also widely adopted by those of English-speaking descent. Evidence of this can be found at a state level. Elena is a Top 100 favorite in New Mexico, which has the highest concentration per capita of Latinos in the country (46% of the population is Hispanic and Latino). However, Elena is also on the Top 100 list of most-favored girls’ names in the states of Rhode Island (12% Hispanic/Latino) and New Hampshire (only 3% Hispanic/Latino). Elena is a soft and lyrical three-syllable name that’s easy to say and quick to spell. Having originated from the romance languages, Elena sounds so much more poetic than the harsher Helen. In fact, the name Elena is beautiful enough to launch a thousand ships herself!

Quick Facts

ON ELENA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Italian

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

132

PRONUNCIATION:

eh-LAY-na

SIMPLE MEANING:

Ray, sunbeam

Characteristics

OF ELENA

Independent

Individualistic

Ambitious

Strong-willed

Inventive

Successful

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Elena

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME ELENA

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Elena

Popular Songs

ON ELENA

Maria Elena
a song by Ry Cooder

Famous People

NAMED ELENA

Elena Anaya (Spanish actress)
Elena Baltacha (tennis player)
Elena Berezhnaya (figure skater)
Elena Grushina (figure skater)
Elena Liashenko (figure skater)
Elena Nikolaidi (opera singer)
Elena Souliotis (opera singer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED ELENA

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Elena

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME ELENA

Frances Farmer was an American stage and screen actress, but she is best known for the various accounts of her often horrific life story, including a 1982 movie, Frances, starring Jessica Lange. Hailing from a solid middle class background in Seattle, Frances made an early sensation in Hollywood in the 1930s in such films as Rhythm on the Range and Come and Get It, but she never cottoned to the way of life in the movie industry. She went to New York and starred in Clifford Odets’ play, Golden Boy, for The Group Theater in 1937. She conducted a love affair with the married Odets, which ended disastrously for her. Returning to Hollywood, she intended to carve out time for stage work as well as film, but her increasing alcoholism and erratic behavior stymied her career in all directions. She embarked on a downward spiral of arrests, breakdowns, psychiatric hospitalizations (some involuntary) and received diagnoses of schizophrenia and resultant electroshock therapy (that much-vaunted lobotomy never happened). After being released to her mother’s care in 1950, Frances went on to petition for and was granted her civil independence in 1953. She went on to relative success in television and summer stock and wrote her autobiography, but soon re-experienced some of her earlier mental problems. Frances died of cancer in 1970, leaving no children after three marriages, and only sparse evidence on film of the truly luminescent being she once was.