The Meaning and Origins of the Name Lili

Are you expecting a baby girl and considering the name Lili for her? Or are you simply curious about the meaning and origins of this beautiful name? Either way, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will explore the fascinating history, cultural significance, and symbolism behind the name Lili.

What Is the Origin of the Name Lili?

The name Lili is derived from various languages and cultures, making its origin somewhat difficult to pinpoint. Some possible origins of the name Lili include:

  • Hebrew: In Hebrew, Lili (or Lilith) means “night monster” or “screech owl.” According to Jewish folklore, Lilith was Adam’s first wife who refused to submit to him and was subsequently banished from the Garden of Eden.
  • German: In German, Lili is a diminutive form of the names Elisabeth or Liliane, both of which mean “God is my oath” or “my God is abundance.”
  • French: In French, Lili is a nickname for the names Lillian or Lily, which mean “pure” or “beautiful.”
  • Chinese: In Chinese, Lili means “jasmine,” a fragrant flower that symbolizes love and grace.

What Is the Cultural Significance of the Name Lili?

The name Lili has played an important role in various cultures throughout history. Here are some examples:

  • Music: Lili Marlene is a famous German love song that was popularized during World War II. It tells the story of a soldier who thinks of his lover Lili while on the front lines.
  • Literature: Lili is the protagonist of the children’s book series Lili on Stage by Nancy N. Rue. She is a young ballerina who learns valuable lessons about friendship and perseverance.
  • Film: Lili is the title character of the 1953 film Lili, which tells the story of a lonely young woman who befriends a group of circus performers. The film won an Academy Award for Best Music.

What Is the Symbolism of the Name Lili?

Like many names, the name Lili is associated with certain symbols and meanings. Here are some examples:

  • Purity: In many cultures, Lili is seen as a symbol of purity and innocence, perhaps because of its association with the lily flower.
  • Beauty: With its French origins, Lili is also associated with beauty and elegance.
  • Femininity: Lili is generally considered a feminine name, and it embodies qualities such as grace, charm, and sensitivity.

Famous People with the Name Lili

Throughout history, many notable individuals have borne the name Lili. Here are just a few examples:

  • Lili Elbe (1882-1931): A Danish transgender artist and one of the first known recipients of gender confirmation surgery.
  • Lili Damita (1904-1994): A French-American actress who was active in Hollywood during the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Lili Reinhart (born 1996): An American actress known for her role in the TV series Riverdale.


The name Lili has a rich and varied history, with roots in Hebrew, German, French, and Chinese languages and cultures. It is associated with symbols such as purity, beauty, and femininity, and has been used in literature, music, and film to tell compelling stories. Whether you choose to name your daughter Lili or simply appreciate the name’s cultural significance, it is sure to add a touch of elegance and charm to any context.


1. Is Lili a common name?

Lili is not one of the most popular names in the United States, but it has been steadily rising in popularity in recent years. In 2020, it was ranked #979 on the list of most popular baby names for girls.

2. What is the meaning of the name Lily?

The name Lily (with one “l”) means “pure” or “beautiful.” It is also the name of a fragrant flower that symbolizes purity and devotion.

3. What is the significance of Lili Marlene?

Lili Marlene is a German love song that gained popularity during World War II. It was often played on both sides of the conflict and became a symbol of hope and longing for soldiers and civilians alike.

4. Who was Lilith in Jewish folklore?

According to Jewish mythology, Lilith was Adam’s first wife who refused to submit to him and was subsequently banished from the Garden of Eden. She is often portrayed as a demon or a temptress in later folklore.

5. What is the story of the film Lili?

Lili is a 1953 film about a lonely young woman who befriends a group of circus performers. Through her interactions with them, she learns to find purpose in her life and overcomes her feelings of isolation. The film explores themes such as love, friendship, and self-discovery, and is widely regarded as a classic of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

I am Patricia Mann, an experienced professional in the art of naming children. With a wealth of knowledge in the field of baby names, I aim to assist parents in choosing a meaningful and beautiful name for their little ones. My expertise lies in the Name Meaning section, where I delve deep into the origins and significance of names, providing valuable insights that I hope will be beneficial for parents.

Understanding the profound impact a name can have on a child's life, I strive to offer comprehensive guidance. The Name Meaning section is not just a repository of information but a resource where parents can discover the rich tapestry of meanings associated with different names. It is my belief that a child's name is more than just a label; it encapsulates the desires, hopes, and love of the parents.

In this journey of baby naming, my goal is to make the process enjoyable and meaningful for parents, ensuring that the chosen name resonates with the family's values and cultural background. I invite you to explore the Name Meaning of Impeccable Nest section as we embark on the delightful and important task of naming the newest members of your family.

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