Lilian is a traditionally feminine name derived from the Lily flower, much like Liliana, Lillian, Lilly, Lili or Lillie. The name has roots in English, Hebrew, and German and is said to mean innocence, purity and beauty (ideals that the lily flower has come to symbolize). Other pure-meaning names are Cate, Catelyn, Catherine, Inesa, Liliana, Orlena, Rachael, Safa, Safiyyah, and Trinette. Fans of Lilian and Lily also often love floral names like Camellia, Violet, Susan, Primrose, Poppy, Rose, Daisy, Dahlia, Acacia, Aster, Holly, Zinnia, Petunia, Daphne, Iris, Jasmine, or Chrysanthemum.
Famous Lilians include illustrator Lillian Disney, actors Lillian Roth and Lillian Gish, journalist Lillian Griego, photographer Lillian Liu, dancer Lillian Powell, author Lillian E. Smith and playwright Lillian Hellman of 'The Children's Hour.'
Lillian was popular in the U.S. throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s but began dropping off in the 1940s, reaching its least-used year ever in 1978. The '90s, however, saw its resurgence to the top of the charts; it was back in the top 50 by 2005 and has remained there ever since.
Lillian in quotes:
“It's a sad day when you find out that it's not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.”
― Lillian Hellman
“[The truth] is what actually happens. Not what you want to happen. Not what you're afraid will happen. We make up stories when we want things to happen or are afraid they may happen. And sometimes we do it for fun-or to scare people or make them do our way or to hurt them. And sometimes we do it because it's a pretty story and we tell it just as we fly a kite or send balloons floating.”
― Lillian E. Smith, 'One Hour'