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Elena is a Latin-language variation of the Greek name Helen, meaning "shining light" or "bright one." It's popular in Russian, Spanish and Italian cultures as well as among English-speaking parents. It's a traditionally feminine name; other girl names with similar meanings include Aleena, Dawn, Elaine, Eleni, Eleanor, Ellen, Elin, Helena, Hikari, Leena, Lenore, Lucia, Lucille, Lumina, Meera, Raelyn, Sunny, Svetlana, Yelena, Zia, or perhaps our favorite literal-interpretation name, Flash.

Famous Elenas in history include Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, Maria Elena Camerin, Elena Paparizou, Princess Helen of Serbia (nee Elena), judge Elena Kagan, and athletes Elena Vesnina, Elena Dementieva, and Elena Likhovtseva. Elena Gilbert is a character in the popular series, 'The Vampire Diaries.'

Popularity-wise, although Elena has been used in the United States since prior to the 20th century, it really started climbing in the 1990s and is still in its peak/plateau — and has been since 2016. So now's the time to choose Elena if you want something trendy; if you prefer something more unique but similar, try Alena, Alyona, Helene, Ilene, Eline, Ileana, or Ilona.

Elena in quotes:

“You’re going to think that the pain will never end, but it will. But first, you have to let it all in. You can’t fight it. It’s bigger than you. You have to let yourself drown in it. But then eventually you’ll start to swim and every single breath that you fight for will make you stronger. And I promise that you will beat it.” – Elena Gilbert, 'The Vampire Diaries'

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