How popular is the baby name Lalena in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Lalena.

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Popularity of the baby name Lalena

Posts that mention the name Lalena

Where did the baby name Lelaina come from in 1994?

The character Lelaina Pierce from the movie "Reality Bites" (1994)
Lelaina Pierce from “Reality Bites

The rare name Lelaina first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1990s:

  • 1996: 5 baby girls named Lelaina
  • 1995: 5 baby girls named Lelaina
  • 1994: 11 baby girls named Lelaina [debut]
  • 1993: unlisted
  • 1992: unlisted


Because of the Gen-X movie Reality Bites, which starred Winona Ryder as aspiring videographer Lelaina Pierce. The movie came out in February of 1994.

The name Lelaina is very similar to a name we talked about a couple of weeks ago, Lalena, and there’s a reason for that: Reality Bites screenwriter Helen Childress named the movie’s main character after her high school friend, Lalena Fisher, who was, in turn, named after the Donovan song.

Fisher, who’s now an artist, said during an interview:

My dad thought the song “Laléna” by Donovan was a beautiful song, so he wanted to give me that name. He didn’t listen to the words, though — it’s about a prostitute! But I don’t really mind.

(Fisher’s husband, music journalist Chuck Eddy, also mentioned this onomastic connection in one of his books.)

Which of the two names, Lelaina or Lalena, do you prefer?


What turned Juniper into a baby name in 1969?

Donovan's single "Jennifer Juniper" (1968)
The single “Jennifer Juniper”

The playful song “Jennifer Juniper” by Scottish musician Donovan was released as a single in early 1968. It peaked at #26 on the U.S. Hot 100 chart in April.

Jennifer Juniper lives upon the hill
Jennifer Juniper, sitting very still

The inspiration behind the song was Jenny Boyd — the younger sister of famous English model Pattie Boyd (who, at that time, was married to George Harrison of the Beatles).

What effect did the song have on the baby names Jennifer and Juniper?

With Jennifer it’s hard to tell, as the name was already extremely trendy. It was also being featured elsewhere in pop culture (e.g., the 1968 song “Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies).

  • 1971: 56,775 baby girls named Jennifer [rank: 1st]
  • 1970: 46,153 baby girls named Jennifer [rank: 1st]
  • 1969: 33,702 baby girls named Jennifer [rank: 3rd]
  • 1968: 26,850 baby girls named Jennifer [rank: 4th]
  • 1967: 18,238 baby girls named Jennifer [rank: 10th]

Incidentally, Jenny Boyd’s legal name was not Jennifer Boyd, but Helen Mary Boyd. Here’s the story, according to Pattie:

She wasn’t actually christened Jenny: my mother named her Helen Mary, to please a couple of aunts, but I had a favorite teddy at the time called Jenny and I insisted my new sister be called by the same name.

It’s much easier to see the effect of “Jennifer Juniper” on the name Juniper, which debuted in the U.S. baby name data the year after the song came out:

  • 1971: 12 baby girls named Juniper
  • 1970: 7 baby girls named Juniper
  • 1969: 5 baby girls named Juniper [debut]
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: unlisted

It’s interesting that Donovan’s song “Laléna” came out months after “Jennifer Juniper,” and yet the name Lalena debuted in the SSA data a year ahead of Juniper.

Despite sounding similar, the names Jennifer and Juniper have different etymologies. Juniper, which refers to a type of tree, comes from the Latin word iuniperus. Jennifer, on the other hand, can be traced back to the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar, which is based on a pair of Celtic words that may have meant “white” and “phantom.” (The Arthuruan name Guinevere has the same origin.)

Which name, Jennifer or Juniper, do you prefer? Why?


Where did the baby name Lalena come from in the late 1960s?

Donovan's single "Lalena" (1968)
Donovan single

The name Lalena debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1968. The following year, it saw a sizeable increase in usage.

  • 1971: 48 baby girls named Lalena
  • 1970: 49 baby girls named Lalena
  • 1969: 37 baby girls named Lalena
  • 1968: 5 baby girls named Lalena [debut]
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted


Because of music!

In October of 1968, Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan released the song “Laléna.” It was about a prostitute whose name was Laléna, pronounced lah-LAY-nya — as if the “n” had a tilde (as in señor).

The song peaked at #33 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in November of 1968.

Here’s what it sounds like:

Donovan said he was inspired to write the song after seeing the 1931 German film The Threepenny Opera, which featured actress/singer Lotte Lenya as a prostitute named Jenny. The character in his song — whose name was based on the actress’ surname — was “a composite character of women who are outcasts on the edge of society.”

The singer was born Donovan Philips Leitch in Glasgow in 1946. Thanks to his influence, usage of the name Donovan also increased in the late 1960s.

P.S. Two other songs with the names of prostitutes in the titles are “Roxanne” by The Police and “Fancy” by Bobbie Gentry (later covered by Reba McEntire).

Sources: Laleña – Donovan Unofficial, Donovan – Billboard, SSA

Where did the baby name Iyone come from in 1927?

The single "Iyone My Own Iyone" (1926)
“Iyone My Own Iyone” single

The baby name Ione saw strong usage in the U.S. during the early 20th century. The spelling variant Iyone, on the other hand, was a mere one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data during that time period:

  • 1929: unlisted
  • 1928: unlisted
  • 1927: 7 baby girls named Iyone
  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: unlisted

What gave this particular version of the name a boost during the 1920s?

A song called “Iyone My Own Iyone.” It was copyrighted in mid-1926, and later the same year was recorded and released by various acts/bandleaders (including the Brox Sisters, Arthur Lange, and Ted Lewis).

Though “Ione” is typically pronounced eye-oh-nee — with a “long E” sound at the end, just like many of the other personal names (e.g., Chloe, Zoe, Phoebe) that come from ancient Greek — in the song, the name “Iyone” is pronounced eye-own, to rhyme with “I own.”

What are your thoughts on the name Iyone?

Sources: Addy Britt (lyricist) – Discography of American Historical Recordings, SSA

P.S. Ione returned to the U.S. data in 1989 after a brief absence thanks to the iconic ’80s movie Say Anything, which co-starred actress Ione Skye (who happens to be the daughter of Donovan, who had an influence on the baby names Lalena, Juniper, and possibly Jennifer in the late ’60s).