Leif Name Meaning & Origin
Origin of the name Leif:
From the Old Norse Leifr, which is directly derived from leifr (what is remaining, relic), from the verb lev (to leave). Over time leif or laf became confused with the Germanic leib or lip (love) and is now often thought to mean "beloved." The name was borne by Leif Ericsson, a Norwegian explorer and adventurer who discovered North America around A.D. 1000. He was the son of Eric the Red.
From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.
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Pronunciation of this name from the perspective of authenticity as it relates to places of origin:
LIYF: All of Denmark, most of Norway, part of the Faroe Islands, and possibly sometimes in the extreme southwest part of Sweden.
LAYF: Sweden, Iceland, amonst the Swedish speaking population of Finland, and parts of Norway.
There is a third and much more obscure option, but it isn’t “LEEF.” In part of the Faroe Islands the name is pronounced “LOYF”
LEEF as a pronunciation for this name is strictly an American phenomenon, that probably started with Scandinavian Americans who wanted to connect with their roots, and either recalled incorrectly/misheard the name from their forbears, or just plain didn’t know any better. This pronunciation is never used anywhere in the Scandinavian or Nordic countries, and if heard, would most likely be (mis)interpreted as the entirely unrelated feminine name, Liv. Now it is my belief that once a parent has voiced a pronunciation of a name for their child, whether authentic or not, that this is, from that point on, the “correct” pronunciation for that person, and nobody should tell them that they are wrong. If someone says their name is “LEEF,” then that is their name. If you use this pronunciation for yourself or a family member - great! You are in good company. Many Scandinavian (and other) Americans have done this before you. But, that being said, if you are considering the name Leif for your child, and your child is not yet born, and you therefor have not yet voiced a pronunciation, then maybe for authenticity’s sake you could/should leave “LEEF” out of the running and instead choose one of the more historically, culturally, and linguistically accurate versions. And maybe, just maybe, this website should (for the same reasons) either leave off “LEEF” as one of the accepted pronunciations, or make the amendment that this is a purely Americanized/Anglicized version of the name.
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- Famous real-life people named Leif: | Edit
Leifur Eiríksson, Viking explorer nicknamed "Leifur heppni" (meaning Leifur the Lucky), son of Eiríkur rauði (Eiríkur the Red).
Leif Garrett, 1970s teen idol.
Leif Hoste, Belgian cyclist.
Leif Segerstam, Finnish conductor and composer.
Leif Ryvarden, Norwegian mycologist.
Leif Ove Andsnes, Norwegian concert pianist.
- Leif in song, story & screen: | Edit
Leif if the main character in the Deltora quest by Emily Rodda
Leif is the main character in Wisemans Blood by J.P.Davies