Leo Name Meaning, Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Leo Name Meaning and Origin

Leo is a masculine name from the Latin word Leo, which comes from the Greek word meaning “lion.” It can also refer to the name Leonard or Leopold. In Spain, Leo is a holy oil used for anointing in the church. It is also the name of the fifth sign in the astrological zodiac, and there is a constellation named Leo as well.

What Does Leo Mean? 

Derived from the Latin word for lion, a cognate of Leon, the meaning of Leo is ‘lion.’ In German, it serves as a short version of Leon or Leopold, and the meaning of Leo is “brave people” or “lion-hearted.” It translates to ‘fierce one’ in Italian.


Leo can have a German, Italian, African American, and Spanish origin, with most meanings being close to each other. Dating back to Roman times, several Popes, Christian saints, emperors, and kings have been bearing this name. For stargazers, Leo is the fifth Zodiac sign and a constellation shaped like a lion. Ending with an appealing O sound, Leo names have lots of appealing inspirations like lions, gold, and the sun, to name the three main Leo symbols, elements, and colors associated with Leos. This three-letter name has thus become quite popular among the English-speaking nations of the world, proving its universal appeal.




  • Lee-oh
  • Lee-yo
  • LEH-o (German, Danish, Finnish)
  • LEH-yo (Dutch)


 2 syllables


 3 letters

Name Variations/Spellings 

There can be a plethora of Leo name variations that make interesting choices for your baby. These other spellings for Leo may range from classic and understated to trendy and cool enough to sound perfect for a boy of today. Here are some of the Leo name variations and other spellings for Leo that work well across different languages.

Name Origin
Leon Greek
Leonard Greek
Leonardo Italian
Leopold German
Leontios Latin
Leonello Latin
Leoncio Latin
Leomaris Latin
Leonel Spanish
Liam Irish
Leif Scandanavian

How Popular Is the Name Leo? 

Leo was initially more popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century than it is today. According to Social Security Administration data, the Leo popularity index has steadily increased over the past 13 years after ranking in the 400s for all the 1900s. Leo also held some relative popularity in the early 20th century, ranking in the top 100 from 1900 to 1937. The Leo baby name ranking ascended to the top 50 in 2018 after making quite the jump from 389 in 2000. The sudden rise in Leo has been partially attributed to the writer Leo Tolstoy and actor Leonardo “Leo” DiCaprio. Various celebrities have also chosen Leo to be the name of their sons, including Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, actress Kim Raver, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, and Kristin Olson. Character names appearing in The West Wing, Charmed, Grey’s Anatomy, and Seinfeld have also given this name its much-needed boost in terms of popularity.

Interest in Leo – Worldwide

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A consistent search value of over 80 has been recorded on interest for the name Leo reaching 100 in Sept 2014. The lowest value was recorded was 58 in Oct 2021.

Interest in Leo – the US

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Search trends for the name Leo show a search value of over 60 reaching 100 in Feb 2016. It scored the lowest value of 62 in Sept 2017.

Popularity of the Name Leo

URL: https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/babyname.cgi

Where Is the Name Most Searched?

Search Trends of Leo – Worldwide

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Interest in the name Leo has been seen to be highest in Tanzania in the past ten years. Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Cote d’Ivoire have made it to the top five positions. Due to the influence of the German settlement and British colonization, Leo, with its German and Latin origin, has been well received by the parents of Tanzania. 

Search Trends of Leo – the US

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Among the sub-region of the US, Florida records maximum searches for the name Leo over the last ten years. District of Columbia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Virginia are the top five cities where search trends for Leo have been recorded to be the highest.

Middle Names That Go With Leo 

Placed between a first name and a surname, a middle name denotes a person’s qualities or affinities. Here are some suggestions of the best double names with Leo that may allow the child to choose between them:

Declan Sidney
Joseph Bryson
Malachi Freeman
Lewis Moses
George Albert
Kelsey Marvin
Joshua Harrison
Sebastian Robert
Jonathan James
Alexander Everett
David Anthony

Famous People Named Leo 

Celebrity names often inspire parents who have been hero-worshipping these famous personalities. Here’s a round-up of some of the popular personalities named Leo, who have made significant contributions in different fields:

Celebrity Name Profession/Famous For
Leonardo DiCaprio Actor
Leo D. Maloney Actor
Leo Penn Director
Leo Tolstoy Author
Leo of Constantinople Patriarch of Constantinople
Leo Zhedenov Member of the Russian apostolate
Emperor Leo Six Byzantine emperors
Leo Kadanoff American Physicist
Leo  Dutch Footballer
Leo Messi Argentine Footballer

Similar Names & Last Names 

Baby-names like Leo can be connected via similar style, image, meaning, or origin. Family names for Leo need to be unique enough to complement the given name. Here is an updated list of some of the other names for Leo that may project the same vibe:

Other Baby Names Suitable Family Names
Ace Williams
Adrian Jones
Julian Miller
Oliver Martinez
Santiago Bennett
Silas Anderson
Vincent Butler
Sebastian Diaz
Landon Cook
Lane Evans
Langston Harris

Names That Sound Like Leo 

Names that rhyme with Leo can be phonetically matched with certain limitations of pronunciation, accent, and differences of spellings. Here are some names that sound like Leo that may have the same desired effect on the listeners.

Lael Lahela
Lala Lali
Lalo Layla
Lea Leah
Leal Leala
Lee Leia
Lel Leola
Lelia Lewa
Lila Lilo
Lily Loe

Sibling Names Related to Leo

Sibling names can be crafted keeping their similar origin and meaning in mind. Here are some of the best sibling names that go with Leo to establish a pattern between them and help you find the perfect match:

Sister Names for Leo Brother Names for Leo
Zoe Silas
Jane Wyatt
Cara Isaac
Beatrice Ivan
Nina Jonas
Augusta Roman
Ivy Nolan
Clementine Owen
Daphne Chase
Sylvie Asher
Vera Dylan
Florence Callum

Nicknames for Leo

Assigning nicknames to kids may seem pretty arbitrary, but they can be a way to express a sense of belonging. Here are some nicknames for the name Leo that may be cute or funny without being embarrassing after the child grows up:

Lee Leos
Leoncio Leontios
Lios Lenny
Leo The Lion Len-Hen
Leo God Lio
Oreo Leonel
Lele Leonidas
Leonny Leland
Lionel Leandro
Simbolo Leo Leander
LeoOne Leocadio

One of many nicknames elevated to first-name status, Leo can serve as a nickname for Leonardo, Leonard, Leopold, and Leon, or it can stand on its own. This short and sweet name is a constellation name with a brave meaning that makes it a cool pick for any astronomy lover. No wonder it is inching up the charts and charming the parents of today.


Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/babyname.cgi
Leo Name Popularity in the United States: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-11-11%202021-11-11&geo=US&q=Leo
Leo Name Popularity Across The World: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-11-11%202021-11-11&q=Leo
Leo Name Interest in the United States: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-11-11%202021-11-11&geo=US&q=Leo
Leo Name Interest Across The World: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-11-11%202021-11-11&q=Leo

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.