Leona vs. Leonora

Which do you like better, Leona or Leonora?

My husband's grandma was named Leona, and as much as I want to like it, I just don't know if I do. It is still very early in our pregnancy, so we don't know if it sill be a boy or girl yet, but I am really drawn to some version of this name. One of my grandfather's was named Leonard so it would be honoring both sides of the family. 

We would use Louann for the middle name (after my grandma) and I like the idea of using Lilou for a nickname. Plus my husband's other grandma's name is Lee so it also works as an honor to her as well. 

I also really like the name Leonie but I feel like there would be a lot of pronunciation confusion with it. 

Our daughter's name is Adelaide and goes by Ada most of the time (we're big nicknamers). I am defninitely drawn to longer names with shorter nicknames. But I kind of like the funkiness of Leona. 

Anyway, I wanted to get some other people's thoughts and opinions on these names. TIA!



June 8, 2018 11:57 AM

I had a great aunt Leona myself, and she was lovely, so I'm quite partial to the name. I also had a great aunt Leora (can you imagine what this forum would have said about a Leora/Leona sibset?!). Leora is a little more modern, I think, but still would honor all your "Lee" relatives. Leonora has always felt like a mouthful to me. 

Other names containing 'leo' (from the advanced search on this site):






June 8, 2018 12:11 PM

Oooohhh I think Leonore, it seems a little more refined...


June 8, 2018 2:36 PM

I am partial to Leona because it is my sister's middle name and the name she has chosen to go by for the last 4ish years. It must be reasonably well received or she would go by her first name which is nice and classic but not off-trend. She does sometimes go by the nickname Leo, which might be a turn-off for you. Probably because of her name I have a strong dislike of Leonie since it sounds like an infantilization of Leona to me but I am probably in the minority on that. 

Due to the family connections you mention though,  I think Leonora may be the best choice! I like the way it sounds, and as a nickname person myself I love the fact that it has multiple nickname options! I have heard it pronounced two different ways- would you plan on pronouncing it with 2 syllables (len-ora), or 4 (lee-ah-nor-ah)?

June 8, 2018 2:58 PM

Hmmm you know I had always pronounced it as lee-ah-nor-ah in my head, but I kind of like the simplified len-ora.

June 8, 2018 5:53 PM

I've always thought of it as lee-ah-nor-ah.   with the simiplifed pronounciation that would get confused with the name Lenora

June 8, 2018 7:42 PM

Thank you for explaining why I have struggled with this name!  I have heard both ways to pronouce it, but in my head, I've tried to meld them, and it's a mess!  Lenora and Leonora are easily confused by me.


For this reason, I like Leona.  But honestly, all are lovely, and I would adapt were this student in my classroom.


By EVie
June 8, 2018 3:06 PM

I'm interested in how you're pronouncing Leonie, that it sounds like an infantilization of Leona to you? I'm most familiar with the French version, Léonie, which is roughly lay-oh-NEE, and which I would Anglicize as LAY-oh-nee or maybe LEE-oh-nee. I don't really associate it with Leona at all (which I've always heard as lee-OH-na), though obviously they share a root.

OP, I prefer Leonora (or Leonie) to Leona, to answer your question--I find Leonora fresh in a vintage sort of way, and Leonie fresh in a youthful sort of way, while Leona is still rather Helmsley to me. But I've seen it discussed a lot here lately, so I may be in the minority. 

June 8, 2018 3:11 PM

I have never known anyone named Leonie, I have just seen it on name boards and lists, so I always just assumed it was pronounced lee-o-nee, like Leona but with an -ee ending. I am glad I was wrong- lay-o-nee is definitely a more pleasing sound. 

June 8, 2018 5:55 PM

The Leonie's I know pronounce it Lee-o-nee yes lie Leona with the -ee ending

June 8, 2018 2:42 PM

I like Leona best,  Leonora is nice enough but more of a mouthful, but it does go with Adelaide

Leonie is nice too, Leonore is nice too


June 8, 2018 3:00 PM

I agree that Leonora does go better with Adelaide. Not that it is a big deal, but it does give it an extra point. 

June 8, 2018 4:57 PM

I have a hard time choosing between the two, they are both lovely names and I like them about the same. I think that Leonora goes slightly better with Adelaide, and it would give her the option of Nora as a nickname too (although Lilou is a super sweet pick) so I'd maybe lean more towards that. 

I love Leonie but I can see how it would necessitate more spelling/pronunciation corrections.

June 8, 2018 5:57 PM

I think Leonie is quite straight forward with spelling and pronounciations Lee-o-nee

June 9, 2018 3:46 PM

Except it's Lay not Lee and has the stress on the last syllable Lay-oh-NEE or more like LE-AW-NE if you're going with the French pronunciation 

June 8, 2018 6:30 PM

They are both nice, but I particularly like Leonora.  I say it "len-or-ah"

June 9, 2018 3:58 PM

With that pronounciation - I'd say the name would be spelt Lenora


and Leonora - Lee - o - nor-a

June 10, 2018 9:24 AM

I really like both and don't have a strong preference (and also like Lenore and Leonie). Leonora is probably slightly more my style, and slightly more what I would expect with a sister called Adelaide, but then I also really like it when sibling names are not entirely what you would expect.

I met a three or four year old Leona at the park last summer, and thought it was pretty darling and stood out (there was a fair amount of diversity in that park, with girls called everything from Finley to Mattea, but it made me realize that Leona has really strong sounds and holds it's own without being fusty or unfashionable sounding.

June 11, 2018 12:53 PM

Yes, that is what I like about Leona. It has a strong sound and seems to hold it's own. But Leonora is more my style as well. How would you pronounce it, Lee-ah-nor-ah or Leh-nor-a?

June 11, 2018 5:27 PM

The first pronounciation,  the second would be Lenora

June 12, 2018 7:10 AM

I would say Leonora as the two names run together Leo+Nora, but that is almost indistinguishable from the first way you put it in actual conversation 'Lee-oh-NOR-ah/Lee-ah-NOR-ah'. Saying it Leh-nor-a would be confusing for me and I think I would struggle to remember because I'd expect that pronunciation to be spelt Lenora.

June 12, 2018 5:15 PM

I think even if I smudged the first two syllables together, it would come out much closer to LEE-nor-a than LEH-nor-a, since I put primary stress on the first syllable (with strong secondary stress on "nor") so the vowel that would drop out would be the O, not the E.

I do quite like Lenore or Lenora as alternatives, too.

June 12, 2018 4:02 PM

I would say Lee-ah-no-ra, and as Karyn below says, 1000% pronouncing all four syllables.

June 11, 2018 12:56 PM

Either Leonora or Leona Louann nicknamed Lilou is really sweet!

I think of Leona as being more of a grandma still-fusty name, with a little bit of simple-sweet country vibe to it, kind of like Lorna. It's a more frills free name... like a less-trending version of Hazel if that makes sense.  

I think of Leonora being more of a name whose time has come, as it's an elaborate antique of the sort which is already being revived.

I like both, frankly. Leonora is more expected, but I think if you're honoring a Leona and a Leonard, I think there's something to be said for using Leona as it is! 

I think Leonie is lovely (it's very popular in Germany) but I think the pronunciation may be a bit of a stretch if you really want the LAY-oh-nee versus LEE pronunciation.

As for how Leonora is pronounced, I think it's a three-and-a-half syllable name, as I think a fair percentage of the time the second "oh" syllable sort of gets swallowed, even by people who think they're pronouncing it. I think this happens far more often with names that have a squishy pronunciation than one gets a sense of when people are writing out their pronunciations on a webpage forum. I think it may be fun to test drive Leonora in coffee ordering settings to get a sense for the pronunciation range.

June 11, 2018 2:57 PM

Siblings named Leona and Hazel would be perfect! And it's amazing how one consonant changes the feeling because Leora doesn't have that fusty vibe at all. I also agree with your evaluation of expectedness. 

Despite living in a place with a LOT of French, the only Leonie I know -- my (anglophone) high school guidance cousellor -- pronounced it lee-OWE-nee, so that's the way I'd pronounce it first (if there were no accents to indicate otherwise).

I 1000% say Leonora as 4 syllables, but that's me. I'm sure many do not, despite thinking that they do.

Personally, I have a very soft spot for names containing -or- and for longer, more ornate names, so I obviously like Leonora better, but I'd be pleasantly surprised to meet a little Leona and I appreciate the more direct honour.

June 12, 2018 6:11 PM

I am LOLing at the 1000% four syllable pronunciations being avowed here. Guys! Percentages don't work that way!

I definitely think there are people who pronounce all syllables crisply at all times. There are also people like me who *think* they pronounce all syllables crisply at all times, but who sometimes sort of smoosh it together in the process of trying to say four children's names together in rapid succession. I think it's a victory when I leave the house for outings with all children and their stuff mostly accounted for, so I take no responsibility for occasional syllables going mysteriously missing. :)

I think for pronunciation certainty, Leona can't be beat!

June 12, 2018 8:40 PM

Percentages definitely work that way when you're trying to be silly. (I actually eliminated a zero to make it more plausible)  ;)

June 13, 2018 10:20 AM

Totally effective at the silliness. I'm envisioning you 1000%ers asking for the cornflakes in the morning and accidentally saying "lee-oh-NOR-ah" instead, to rack up your 1000%. ;)