Name of the Day: Aloura

Is she an undiscovered gem, or just a creative twist on a popular name?

Thanks to Hanalise for suggesting Aloura as Name of the Day.

Up and coming filmmaker Aloura Charles isn’t the only woman to ever wear this name – but she’s close. Aloura has never ranked in the US Top 1000. Nor has Alora, Elora or Alaura.

Laura, of course, is the 20th century staple never out of the Top 100. While she’s fading in the US, coming in at just #215 in 2008, Laura remains a Top Ten choice in Switzerland and Spain, Austria, Germany and Belgium, Estonia and Denmark. She’s plenty popular elsewhere in Europe, too.

Laura leads directly to the first possible origin for Alaura. She might simply be a slightly different spin on the Latin laurus, or laurel. Beyond the botanical associations, laurel wreaths were awarded to the winners of sporting competitions in Ancient Greece. You’ll sometimes find meanings like “victory” attached.

There’s also:

  • In 1988’s Willow, Elora is the child shipped down the river like Moses, to be protected by reluctant hero Willow Ulfgood, along with a long-haired Val Kilmer;
  • The Hebrew Eliora is sometimes connected to Elinor. Not only are the sounds similar, but the attributed meaning – “my God is light” – links Eliora to the Greek Helen, a name customarily linked to Elinor and Eleanor;
  • The alera is a butterfly and Alera a possible variant – though it brings to mind an Oldsmobile;
  • Alura was a character in the Buck Rogers comic strip. A second Alura was, like Superman, a Kryptonian in DC Comics. She was also the original Supergirl’s mom. In later editions of the story, her name is sometimes spelled Allura. Both names are sometimes linked back to the word allure – attractive;
  • While most Lor- and Laur- names connect back to laurel, others link to place names. Loredana is connected to Loreo, Italy, while Laurence is connected to the ancient Roman city Laurentum;
  • Speaking of places, Álora is a town in Southern Spain and Alora is a villain in the expanded Star Wars universe;
  • Ilora Finlay is a Welsh doctor and public health advocate, given a life peerage by Tony Blair for her work. There’s also a minor character called Ilora in Elfquest, a long-running comic book series with a cast of hundreds.

That’s not an exhaustive list, either. But the most logical explanation for Aloura and company is probably the 20th century popularity of the saintly, literary Laura, coupled with 1980s and 90s hits Alyssa, Alicia and Amanda.

Perhaps it is the comic book associations, but Aloura feels a bit sci fi, in any spelling. Still, Lorelei continues to generate interest among parents-t0-be, suggesting that a fresh twist on Laura might sound quite current in a few years.

Overall, she’s a pretty and appealing rarity, but her lack of definite roots could be frustrating to parents seeking a name with meaning. Of course, if you’re trying hard to find something fresh and novel for a child, Aloura’s lack of definitive origins could be a plus.

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21 Comments

well, my name ahlourha and i love my name, i found that a lot of folk lore have used alora or similar spelling as a daughter of god, pluuuus my mother loved the movie willow. what can ya do right XD

Aloura is a beautiful name. I am absolutely in love with it, one of the many reasons I graced my precious daughter with that very name. It is actually quite old and goes back hundreds of years, not necessarily the spelling but the sound of it. I believe it will prove to stand the test of time and yet remain unique as are the children who bear it.

My daughter’s name is Aloura Sue.. When I decided on her name it was actually as an homage to my grandmother who’s name is Laurel. I actually managed to find Aloura in a baby book back in 2005 and it said that it was a derivative of Laurel. I absolutely love her name and with how unique it is, it fits my daughter to a tee..

I named my daughter Aloura because I think it is a beautiful and elegant name. There seems to be nothing SyFy about it to me. It is different but still pronounceable. I think it would make an excellent name for any girl.

Eliora … wow. I’m guessing ell EE ohr ah, though the masculine equivalent is Elior – el YOR. So el YOR ah seems like a candidate, too. But I imagine an American parent who likes Eliora mainly for style would probably want the feminissa sound of four syllables, like Aviana or Calliana.

I love Elora (Thanks to Willow) but Aloura doesn’t really appeal. When I was in my early teens I used to wish my name was Allura πŸ˜‰

My second cousin used this for her first, apparently inspired by Willow, though she spelled it [email protected], so I’m not sure how she chose that spelling… I can tell you the extended family was a bit confused.

I’m not a fan of this or most related names. (save Lorelei & Eleanor)

And JNE, I CAN say them differently, but in general, I find most of us just have lazy tongues and when said quickly, they just come out too similarly to make much difference. My aunt, who is from VA, gets a bit miffed when my family, from NJ, says Laura as Lora instead of Lahr-uh (for the closest approximation). Different accents and all that

Interesting! And oddly, I grew up (and spent the first 21 years of my life) within 20 or so miles of NJ, but I don’t have a Jersey accent (nor the PA Dutch accent of my mom’s family or the Philluffia accent I often heard at college near Philly). Maybe all that accent input led me to get a little retentive about pronunciation. πŸ™‚

“Allora” is also an Italian expression that roughly translates to “So anyway”. People say it when they want to change the subject. Not the best association for a baby name, although it does sound quite pretty.

Interesting – holera is a mild Polish curse of sorts, probably as antiquated as saying “Gosh Durn It” in American English. I believe it translates to cholera. Not sure ’bout the backstory, and not sure anyone outside my immediate family would recognize it, but I hear my mother-in-law every time I say this one …

Too bad, because it ought to be pretty.

Aloura makes me think “alluring” which seems like a slightly creepy name association for a child. Elora takes that association away though, so sounds much nicer to me.

I was looking at my aunt’s yearbook recently and I was really surprised to see that there was a girl named Elora in her class. I think my aunt graduated sometime in the late 70’s.

Aloura/Alora/Elora all have an appealing, airy sound. It’s not something that I would ever use. Lorelei is one of my favorite names.

Don’t love it. To me Laura, Lara, and Lora sound different (at least as I pronounce them by default. However, I’ve found many Lauras pronounce their names Lora, which honestly confuses the heck out of me. (Keri and Carrie are the other common names that I say differently but even the wearers often say Keri, regardless of spelling – and that just confuses me, too).

In any case, in my head Aloura and Alaura sound quite different. Aloura and Allura are more close in sound and for that reason I think “allure” wit Aloura. And yet it lacks allure. I’m not a fan of Laura either, but Aloura definitely doesn’t make me say “updated classic” or anything like that. I pretty much prefer almost all of the other names mentioned (Eleanor, Helen, Laurel, Eliora, and Lorelei).

I know this is really (really) old, but I thought I might be able to shed some light on why you or others are coming across this pronunciation difference. It’s a dialect difference; some parts of the US merge the sounds (Mary/marry/merry or cot/caught). I’m a native New Yorker and a Laura who doesn’t pronounce her name Lora. Carrie and Kerry also have distinct pronunciations for me.

Yes, and that’s the trick – it has to do with where the speaker is from, not with where the child’s parents are born! Whenever I hear a mom insist “no, it isn’t Laura, it’s Laura” with the subtle difference in vowel sounds, I always think that she really should’ve named her daughter Sue. πŸ™‚

It’s okay. I like Laura better.

Wait a minute. Can we just discuss Val Kilmer? I mean, I checked and Val is his given name. What is that? Any insights?