Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Layla

Layla is a variant of Leila, a name of Arabic origin. In Arabic, “leila” means “night.” In bestowing Leila as a given name in the convention of its root etymology, it has come to mean “dark beauty” or “one who was born at night.” The name has been in circulation since medieval times as evidenced by the true Arabian legend of “Qays and Layla” – a famous tale of unrequited love. Qays and Layla are two young virgins who fall deeply in love, so much so they can hardly contain their passionate devotion. Apparently their improper “PDA” caused quite the scandal in their conservative community that Qays was eventually denied her hand in marriage and kept from seeing her. Distraught, Qays fled the tribe into the wilderness all the while chanting love poems about his darling Layla until he ultimately descended into madness followed by death. The name became popularized in the English-speaking world after the 1972 release of “Layla”, a hit single by Eric Clapton, the title of which was inspired by this very same medieval Arabian love story.

All About the Baby Name – Layla

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME LAYLA

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME LAYLA

The popularity of the girl’s name Layla is practically a study on the influence of pop-culture in American society. As mentioned above, Eric Clapton released the song “Layla” on a compilation album in 1972 and charted to #10 in the U.S., thus introducing Americans to this lovely female name. Clapton modeled the song after the Arabian love-story having been told about it by a friend who was in the process of converting to Islam. The legend struck a chord with the great guitarist because he himself was madly in love with Pattie Boyd (the wife of his friend and ex-Beatle, George Harrison) – obviously a woman out of his reach. So he wrote a song for her, just as Quys wrote poetry for Layla. In 1972 (surprise, surprise), the girl’s name Layla achieved a position on the American popularity charts for the first time ever. By the 1980s, however, the name fell out of favor and quietly disappeared from the charts before suddenly popping back onto the charts in 1993. What happened? Clapton released an acoustic version of “Layla” in 1992 which brought the song back to the forefront and won him a Grammy for Best Rock Song. American parents were once again reminded of Layla. And this time, Layla has got us on our knees – she continues to show growth right up to the tops of the charts.

Quick Facts

ON LAYLA

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Arabic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

30

PRONUNCIATION:

LAY-la

SIMPLE MEANING:

Night, dark-complexion, dark-beauty

Characteristics

OF LAYLA

Humanitarian

Community-minded

Family-oriented

Loving

Affectionate

Compassionate

Sensitive

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Layla

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME LAYLA

While the story of Layla and Quys is true, and one of the most popular in the Islamic world, its endurance was bolstered by the many legends spun from it in poems, epics and song over the centuries. The most famously rendered story comes to us from the 12th century Persian poet Nizami Ganiavi during the Seljuq Empire and was called “The Story of Layla and Majnun” (Majnun meaning The Madman). Quys and Layla meet as young schoolmates and fatefully fall in love. In the poem, he declares "Does not 'Layl' mean 'night' in Arabic? And dark as the night was the color of her hair." So strong (yet innocent) is this attraction that it eventually brings scandal within their community. Layla’s tribe seeks to protect her honor and keep Quys away. This sends the boy into a melancholy state, thus becoming Majnun: “A madman he became – but at the same time, a poet – the harp of his love and of his pain.” He eventually flees into the wilderness despite his father’s attempt at a pilgrimage to Mecca in hopes that God will free his poor son. Majnun cries: “none of my days shall I ever be free of this pain. Let me love, oh my God, for love’s sake, and make my love a hundred times as great as it was and is!” He continues to wander and chant his love poems to Layla, and people come to listen. These lovely words find their way back to Layla who was still living “between the water of her tears and the fire of her love.” Soon, after rejecting many suitors, Layla’s father forces her to marry another but she continues to carry a torch for Majnun. An old man helps the two fateful lovers exchange letters and finally meet, but they must go their separate ways at dawn. The poet asks: “How long then do you want to deceive yourself? You yourself are your own prisoner. Break your cage, break free from yourself, free from humanity; learn what you thought was real is not so in reality…Burn but your own treasure, like a candle – then the world…will become your slave.” Upon the death of Layla’s husband, she openly mourns her love for Majnun before dying herself. Grief-stricken, Majnun repeatedly visits Layla’s tomb and finally succumbs to death, too. He is buried beside his only true love. Quite the love story, indeed!

Popular Songs

ON LAYLA

Layla
a song by Eric Clapton

Famous People

NAMED LAYLA

Layla Baalbaki (writer)
Leyla Gencer (opera singer)
Leyla Milani (model/TV host)

Children of Famous People

NAMED LAYLA

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME LAYLA

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Layla