Français : Milla Jovovich au festival de Cannes.
Français : Milla Jovovich au festival de Cannes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve written about the up-and-coming Mila and the retro chic Millie.  Today’s choice is a cousin to both, and just a little bit different, too.

Thanks to Michelle for suggesting her daughter’s name, Milla, as our Baby Name of the Day.

To my mind, Milla has a softer sound, rhyming with Willa, a more homespun vibe, a successor to Hannah rather than Ava.  The most famous bearer is Milla Jovovich, but despite the double l, Milla’s name sounds just like Mila.

This could be seen as a drawback, but it hasn’t hurt Mia and Maya or Lila and Layla, along with all of their various spellings.  Milla Jovovich takes her nickname from the Slavic Milica.  It is easier to imagine Milla coming via Millicent or even Melissa.

There are a few oft-cited origins for Milla:

  • A short form of Camilla, KamillaCamila, or Kamila.  Milla has ranked in the Norwegian Top 100 in recent years.  Camilla appears in Virgil’s Aeneid as a warrior maiden, and then Fanny Burney penned Camillain 1796 – the novel that established her as a successful writer.
  • Like Mila, she is sometimes connected to Slavic names meaning gracious, from the element mil.
  • Milla could share a meaning with Millicent or Amelia or any name that plausibly leads to Milla.

There’s another lovely association with Milla.  The genus Milla takes its name from a former head gardener at the Court of Madrid, circa the eighteenth century.  Milla biflora is better known as the Mexican Star Flower, likely a reference to the Star of Bethlehem.  They’re also found in the American southwest, and bloom betweenJuneand September.

There’s also:

  • A series of books by author Garth Nix, known as The Seventh Tower.  One of Nix’s heroic characters is a girl called Milla It isn’t as well read as, say, Harry Potter, but it certainly could be influencing future parents in its own quiet way.
  • A minor character in the Marvel Comics ‘verse, a one-time love interest of Daredevil, called MillaDonovan.
  • Silent film actress Milla Davenport, born in Sicily, and American by way of Switzerland.  She made the leap to talking films, but true stardom eluded her.

In Spanish, milla means mile, derived from the Latin root milia – thousand.  I’m reminded of a comment from the Millie post, linking her to the term millefleur – thousand flowers.  Another subtle botanical link, one with medieval and artistic overtones, too … though Millefleur might be better as an unexpected middle than first name.

If Milla feels the tiniest bit incomplete, there’s no shortage of plausible names you could use as a longer version.  But she fits in nicely with the gentle, vaguely vintage sound of so-many popular names for girls right now: Emma, Ella, Anna, Bella.

For parents seeking the just-a-little-different, feminine but not too frilly, Milla is a solid choice – international and independent, but not too aggressively modern, either.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. It itself also is a short form for names like Emilia, Camilla and Millicent, how versatile it is !

  2. Quite a versatile little nickname but I dont care for it as a “stand alone” name myself.