About the name Leo

About the baby name Leo, at Click Baby Names.com

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If you like the name Leo, find out the meaning, origin, nicknames, variations and other information to help you decide if you want to use this first name for your baby.
Name meaning, variations & etymology

Leo: A strong name with a rich history

Leo, a name adored for its strength and simplicity, could be a wonderful choice for your child.

Its journey from ancient times to modern-day popularity highlights its lasting appeal.

Pronunciation of the name

Leo is pronounced ‘LEE-oh’, with the emphasis on the first syllable.

It is a straightforward, two-syllable name that’s easy to pronounce, though occasionally misheard as ‘Lay-oh.’

It rhymes with ‘Rio’.

Popularity of the name

In the early 1900s, Leo was among the top 100 names in the United States. This popularity comes from the wave of European immigrants who brought the name with them, bringing it into the American naming traditions.

After the 1920s, Leo experienced a drop in popularity, possibly due to the shift towards more modern naming choices in the mid-20th century.

In recent years, there has been a big leap in the popularity of Leo. This can be linked to the modern trend of choosing short, impactful names. Its popularity is also influenced by celebrity culture and media, as many famous celebrities who have the name keep it in the public eye.

Today, Leo is popular in the United States and also in other countries, including the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia. 

Leo consistently ranks within the top 100 baby names in several countries. 

Celebrities with the name

The name Leo has been borne by many notable figures:

  • Leonardo da Vinci: The Renaissance genius, often called Leo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: The Oscar-winning actor, popularly known as Leo
  • Leo Messi: The celebrated Argentine footballer
  • Leo Tolstoy: The famous Russian novelist
  • Leonard Nimoy: The beloved actor known for his role in “Star Trek
  • Leo Sayer: The English singer-songwriter with hits in the 70s and 80s
  • Leonard Cohen: The influential Canadian singer and songwriter
  • Leonardo Bonucci: The renowned Italian footballer
  • Leo Varadkar: The notable Irish politician and former Taoiseach
  • Leo Howard: The American actor and martial artist

Some popular fictional characters with the name:

  • Leo Wyatt: From the TV series “Charmed
  • Leo Valdez: In Rick Riordan’s “Heroes of Olympus” series
  • Leo McGarry: A character in “The West Wing

Nicknames and variations

Leo, though brief, allows for variations:

  • Leon (German, Polish)
  • Léon (French)
  • Leone (Italian)
  • Lev (Russian)
  • Leonardo (Spanish, Italian)
  • Lionel (English, French)

Modern takes on the name might include ‘Lio’ or ‘Leeo’ for a unique spin.

While Leo itself is often a nickname for longer names like Leonardo or Leopold, it can also stand alone. Creative nicknames might include ‘Lee’ or ‘Leo Lion’ for a playful twist.

Origin of the name

The name Leo comes from the Latin word for “lion”, which comes from a Greek word that also means “lion”. Lions have always been seen as strong and kingly, which is why people have liked using this name for a long time.

In the old times of the Roman Empire, Leo was a popular name. Even emperors and nobility used it to show their power and high status. This old connection makes the name Leo special even today.

Over many years, the name Leo has been changed a bit by different countries in Europe, each in their own way.

In France, they say Léon. In Germany and Poland, it’s Leon. In Italy, they call it Leone.

In Russia, Leo is known as Lev. Many famous Russian people have had this name, making it a big part of Russian culture.

These different versions show how each place has its own twist on the name.

Leo is also a star constellation in the sky, named after a strong lion from Greek stories. This link to a powerful mythological lion makes the name even more interesting.

And if you’re into astrology, Leo is the zodiac sign for people born from late July to late August. It’s often linked to being a leader who is confident and creative.

Similar names

If you like the name Leo, you might also consider these names that resonate with Leo’s sound or feel:

  • Theo
  • Leon
  • Liam
  • Leonard
  • Leopold
  • Leonidas
  • Levi


baby Name length

3 letters (very short name length)

See related baby names

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