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.
- 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.