Helen (given name)

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For other uses, see Helen (disambiguation)
Brosen icon constantine helena.jpg
Eastern Orthodox icon of Saint Constantine the Great and Saint Helena, his mother.
Gender Female
Name day August 18
Word/name Greek
Meaning 'light' or 'bright'
Other names
Nickname(s) Len, Lena, Leny, Lenie, Lennie
Related names Elen, Elene, Ellen, Elena, Helena, Helene
Popularity see popular names

Helen is a feminine given name derived from the Ancient Greek name Ἑλένη Helenē (dialectal variant: Ἑλένα Helena) whose etymology is unknown; a derivation of the latter from ἑλένη, a variant form of ἑλάνη, i.e. "torch", is considered "rather uncertain".[1][2] Another possible derivation is from Greek Σελήνη Selene, meaning 'moon'.[3][citation needed] Helen of Troy is a character in Greek mythology. The name was widely used by early Christians due to Saint Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine I, who according to legend found a piece of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified when she traveled to Jerusalem.[3] Helen enjoyed a massive burst of popularity in the US during the first two decades of the 20th century where it was one of the top ten names for baby girls, but became less common by 1920.[citation needed]

Name variants[edit]

Alternate forms of Helen, including short forms and diminutives, include:

  • Aileen (Scots)
  • Aili (Estonian, Finnish)
  • Alena (Czech, German, Slovakian, Spanish)
  • Alenka (Slovenian)
  • Aliona (Russian)
  • Alyena (Russian)
  • Alyiona (Russian)
  • Alyona (Russian)
  • Eileen (Irish)
  • Eilidh (Scottish Gaelic)
  • Elaine (English)
  • Ela (Polish)
  • Elea (English)
  • Elen (Estonian, Norwegian, Welsh)
  • Elena (Bulgarian, Greek, Italian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Manx, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish)
  • Elene (Georgian)
  • Eleni (Greek)
  • Elenie (Georgian)
  • Elenka (Czech)
  • Eli (Norwegian)
  • Eliana (Portuguese)
  • Éliane (French)
  • Elien (Dutch)
  • Eliina (Finnish)
  • Elin (Estonian, Norwegian, Welsh, Swedish)
  • Elina (Estonian, Finnish, Russian)
  • Eline (Dutch, French)
  • Ella (English, Finnish, Polish)
  • Elle (English, Estonian)
  • Ellen (Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Swedish)
  • Elli (Finnish)
  • Ellie (English)
  • Ellin (Welsh)
  • Elly (English)
  • Elna (Danish, Finnish)
  • Elya (Russian)
  • Ena (Irish)
  • Galina (Russian)
  • Galya (Russian)
  • Helana
  • Haliana (Polish)
  • Halina (Polish)
  • Halya (Ukrainian)
  • Halyna (Ukrainian)
  • Hela (Polish)
  • Heleainná (Sami)
  • Heleen (Dutch)
  • Heleena (Finnish)
  • Heleentje (Dutch)
  • Helen (Estonian, Turkish)
  • Helená (Sami)
  • Helena (Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, Galician, German, Greenlandic, Latvian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, Turkish)
  • Hélène (French)
  • Helene (Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Swedish)
  • Helenka (Hungarian, Polish)
  • Heli (Estonian, Finnish)
  • Helle (Danish)
  • Hellen (English)
  • Iiliit Greenlandic
  • Ileana (Romanian, Spanish)
  • Ili (Hungarian)
  • Iliana (Spanish)
  • Ilka (Hungarian)
  • Ilona (Finnish, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish)
  • Ilonka (Hungarian, Polish)
  • Iluska (Hungarian)
  • Jelena (Croatian, Latvian, Russian, Serbian)
  • Jelka (Croatian, Slovenian)
  • Laina (Finnish)
  • Laine (Estonian, Latvian)
  • Lainey (English)
  • Laney (English)
  • Léan (Irish)
  • Léana (Irish)
  • Leena (Estonian, Finnish)
  • Lele (German)
  • Lelya (Russian)
  • Lena (Danish, English, Finnish, German, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, Polish)
  • Lenchen (German)
  • Lenci (Hungarian)
  • Lene (Danish, German, Norwegian)
  • Leni (German)
  • Lenka (Slovenian, Slovakian)
  • Lenuţa (Romanian)
  • Liena (Latvian)
  • Liene (Latvian)
  • Liina (Estonian, Finnish)
  • Lina (Italian, Swedish)
  • Line (Dutch)
  • Liolya (Russian)
  • Nel (Dutch)
  • Nelda (English)
  • Nélida (Spanish)
  • Nell (English)
  • Nelle (English)
  • Nelli (Russian, Finnish, Hungarian)
  • Nellie (English)
  • Nelly (English)
  • Nelya (Russian)
  • Olena (Ukrainian)
  • Olenka (Ukrainian)
  • Onella (Hungarian)
  • Yelena (Russian)
  • Yelina (Russian)


  • هيلين (Hiilin) (Arabic)
  • Հեղինե (Hełine), Հեղինէ (Hełinē) (Armenian)
  • Хелен (Chielien) (Belarusian)
  • হেলেন (Hēlēna) (Bengali)
  • 海伦 (Hǎilún) (Chinese Simplified)
  • 海倫 (Hǎilún) (Chinese Traditional)
  • Helena (Croatian)
  • Helena (Dutch)
  • ელენე (Elene) (Georgian)
  • Ελένη (Eléni̱) (Greek)
  • હેલેન (Hēlēna) (Gujarati)
  • הלן (Hebrew)
  • हेलेन (Hēlēna) (Hindi) (Nepali)
  • ヘレン (Heren) (Japanese)
  • ಹೆಲೆನ್ (Helen) (Kannada)
  • 헬렌 (Hellen) (Korean)
  • हेलन (Hēlana) (Marathi)
  • هلن (Persian)
  • ਹੈਲਨ (Hailana) (Punjabi)
  • Хелен (Khelen) (Russian)
  • Хелена (Helena) (Serbian)
  • ஹெலன் (Helaṉ) (Tamil)
  • హెలెన్(Helen) (Telugu)
  • เฮเลน (Ḥelen) (Thai)
  • Хелен (Khelen) (Ukrainian)
  • ہیلن (Urdu)
  • העלען (Hʻlʻn) (Yiddish)

People with the given name Helen[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beekes, Robert (2010). "s.v. Ἑλένη". Etymological Dictionary of Greek. With the assistance of Lucien van Beek. Brill. ISBN 9789004174184. 
  2. ^ ἑλένη, ἑλάνη. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  3. ^ a b "Helen". Behind the Name.