Laurel Name Meaning & Origin


Pronunciation: LAW-rəl (key)

Origin of the name Laurel:

Taken from laurel (an evergreen shrub or tree). The name came into use in the 19th century.

From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.

Related Names:

Laurie, Laura

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US Popularity of Laurel Over Time

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Comments and insights on the name Laurel

Part of the Botanical Names trend for girls, along with Lily, Rose, Violet, and Ivy.

A variation on this name is Kalmia, which is the Latin name for laurel.

Allure and Laurel are anagrams of each other; they contain the same letters.

Personal experiences with the name Laurel

My birth name is Laurel, until we moved when I was 9rs old (1961) my life was made miserable with let's make "laurel" cry, like the tv show Laurel & Hardy. Then I went by my middle name Jean. In 7th grade after a fight over my name with my parents, we compromised and I got to use Laurie. In college I didn't want any nicknames, people are more mature, so I applied with Laurel at a business college. They promptly signed me up for a Men's Grooming Class, I had to go to the Registrar and let them know "Laurel", is female. I have the same problem as other Laurel's most often called Lauren, Laura and believe it or not, sometimes Gloria, because I DO pronounce it Lore'-el, my Dad always pronounced it Law'-rel.

My daughter is Laurel, and people constantly mishear it as Lauren or Laura.

My daughter is also named Laurel, but we don't pronounce it LAW-rel as noted above. It's more like LORE-l, with the first syllable like LORE in folklore.

My name is Laurel and I also pronounce it the folklore way. I love my name and I'm so happy that I don't have a common name like Jessica or Sarah. I love how beautiful this name is and how rare. People always mishear my name as Laura or Lauren and I don't even bother correcting them anymore.

I have enjoyed having this name! The laurel is a pretty flower (and distinctive, with ten-sided blossoms) but also a sturdy tree, so if you are attracted to flower names but don't want your daughter to sound too dainty, this is a nice choice. The mountain laurel is common in the Appalachians and blooms in early summer; it is the state flower of Pennsylvania. (As a teenager who didn't always want to be TOO pretty, I also took secret delight in knowing the plant was poisonous!) I also like that Laurel sounds classical (but not too stuffy or fancy) and connotes praise and victory - the ancient Greeks and Romans used to crown heroes with wreaths of laurel - though the phrase "resting on your laurels" can be punned on to unfortunate effect. I feel that among the related names, Lauren sounds more modern and sleek, Laurie/Lori more breezy, and Laura is the international "every-woman" version, with a classic femininity from Dante's heroine but also a faint suggestion of freckles and sunbonnets. Laurel is a bit more formal but still approachable with an appealing straightforwardness, a name with substance and sturdiness (I find the orthography reinforces this) but a light, gentle sound. It is off-beat enough to suggest character and personality, while flexible enough to fit equally well for an artist, a scientist, an athlete, or any other inclination. My family also pronounces it more like LORE-l, but it is commonly enough misheard that I answer to (any pronunciation of) Laura, Lauren, Laurie, etc. Especially because of the final L, this name is very difficult to say for speakers of languages such as Korean that do not distinguish between L and R (yes, I have been called "Roller"), so perhaps not the best choice if you expect your daughter to be a real globe-trotter. I couldn't pronounce it myself as a toddler, and it took my parents a while to figure out why I kept talking about "Yarrow." The name is familiar enough to most English speakers though that I rarely have to deal with misspellings, although I do get the occasional "Laural."

My name is Laurel, and pronounce it as above. I used to hate it because no one ever said my name right. Then I realized that it is good to be different. In a weird way, my name helped me grow up, and I would highly recommend it to an expecting mother.

My name is Laurel, pronounced liked the folklore explanation (ps, nice one!). I couldn't pronounce my "r's" until I was 5 so saying my own name was very difficult, but it lead to some nicknames my family still uses today.

Downside to being a Laurel - no novelty keychains will ever have your name / not many things rhyme with it, except coral / some cultures DEFINITELY have a hard time saying it
Upsides to being a Laurel - everyone always remembers my name / you are the only Laurel in your grade/school growing up so your mum can label your stuff with "Laurel" and that is all that's needed / when you meet another Laurel it is a BIG DEAL / it's a pretty name and all the Laurels I've met love their name, but I've only met 3 and I'm 28.

Growing up with the name Laurel, I have had my moments where I loved it, and moments where I've hated it. Although the loving it part outweighs the hating it. I feel it has made me not want to name my kids anything unoriginal.

My name is Laurel and I love it. I've never met anyone else with the name and people are always commenting on how unique and pretty it is. I love hearing my name (when it's pronounced correctly) because I always know they're talking to me.

My name is Laurel and I was named after my great-great aunt Laura Thornburgh. She was a big part in the Great Smoky Mountains becoming a national park, which is an area where her favorite flower (the mountain laurel) grows.

Nicknames for Laurel

Elle, Ellie, Laurie, Lo, Lollie, Dodie, Lodie, Lolo, LaLa, Laurelle, Lola, Lulu, Lor

Meanings and history of the name Laurel

Wreaths of laurel were used to crown heroes in ancient Greece and Rome. The plant was associated with Apollo, god of the sun, reason and music.
(As the myth goes, Apollo was pursuing a nymph, Daphne, who escaped him by transforming into a laurel tree. She called on her father, a river spirit, to help her, and when he splashed water on her, she turned into this tree. Apollo declared that since he couldn't have the girl he would at least claim the branches of the tree. As a feminist, this story makes me sad and uncomfortable, and it is one of the few associations with my name that I don't like. But it is not commonly known, so unless you travel among classicists or fans of mythology no one is likely to think of it at all!)

Famous real-life people named Laurel

Laurel McGoff, American actress best know for her appearance in the CBS reality show "Kid Nation".
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich - feminist historian; her book "A Midwife's Tale" won a Pulitzer Prize; she also launched the phrase, "Well-behaved women seldom make history."
Laurel Burch - artist/artisan and activist
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy - slapstick comedy duo
Laurell K. Hamilton - novelist
Laurel Robertson - author of well-known vegetarian cookbook, "Laurel's Kitchen"
Laurel Holloman, an American actress

Laurel in song, story & screen

Song For Laurel by Catch The Rabbit
There is a band named Bay Laurel
Laurel Sewell is the name of the main character in the novel "Wings" by Aprilynne Pike
Dr. Laurel Weaver from the film "Men in Black"
Laurel Lewisohn from the Tori Spelling movie "Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?"
Laurel Gand, the civilian name for the DC comics superheroine Andromeda
Laurel Kent, a distant descendant of Superman from DC comics
Laurel Stevenson, a character in Stephen King's "The Langoliers"
Laurel Lance, a character in the TV series "Arrow"

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