baby name AureliaThe baby name Aurelia combines a golden, glowing meaning with a stylish sound.

Thanks to Kayt for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day, and to Aurelia for suggesting her name’s post needed a refresh!


If you know your periodic table of the elements, you might remember that AU stands for gold.

That’s because aurum is the Latin word for the precious metal; aureus means golden. The family name and given name come from the same root.

The Aurelii were an ancient Roman family. The mother of Julius Caesar was a member of the Aurelii. In Roman culture, women were addressed by a form of their family name, so Julius’ mom was called Aurelia Cotta.


There have been saints named Aurelius, Aurelian, Aurea, and yes, Aurelia.

In fact, it’s the name of several minor early saints.

There’s the eleventh century Aurelia of Strasbourg. Legend holds that she was born a princess, only to devote herself to God and become a hermit. A church named for her still stands in Strasbourg, though it has been a Lutheran church since the Reformation.

It may be that she was the second Saint Aurelia of Strasbourg. Other accounts suggest that the first Aurelia accompanied the fourth century Saint Ursula on her pilgrimage, a journey that ended with all of the women marytyred for their faith.

In any case, the stories preserved the name from Ancient Rome, and spread it across Europe. Variations like the French Aurélie, the romance language Aurélia, and the Slavic Aurelija are seen, too. It can shortened to Aura or lengthened to Aureliana. It might even be spelled Oralie in English, though that feels like a different name.


A handful of famous people helped raise the name’s profile, including:

  • Aurelia Plath, mother of author Sylvia Plath, known for publishing her daughter’s letters after her death. Aurelia was named after her Austrian-born mother.
  • Speaking of Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mother was also named Aurelia.
  • Mexican opera singer Oralia Dominguez was at the height of her career in the 1950s, famous internationally.
  • Almost a year before Rosa Parks famously refused to vacate her seat, Aurelia Browder did the same thing. She became a life-long civil rights activist.
  • Romanian gymnast Aurelia Dobre won World and Olympic titles in the 1980s.

None of those women are household names.

Instead, it might’ve been a fictional Aurelia that first caught parents’ attention.

2003’s Love Actually featured a cast of British A-listers. Hugh Grant played the prime minister; Liam Neeson, a grieving widower; Keira Knightley, a young newlywed. The movie is all of their overlapping and intersecting love stories.

One of them features Colin Firth as Jamie, a writer coming off a bad break-up who takes refuge in France, where he falls for his Portuguese housekeeper, Aurelia.


Love Actually has become the kind of movie compulsively re-watched. It’s centered around Christmas, making it a modern seasonal favorite. And so, at least once a year, many of us rediscover Aurelia.

It seems to have had an impact.

The baby name Aurelia appeared in the US Top 1000 through the 1950s. But then it left the baby girl names list, slipping into obscurity for more than five decades.

In 1990, just 75 girls received the name. In 2000, the number dropped to 58.

But then something started to happen. In 2005, just two years post-Love Actually, 112 girls received the name Aurelia.

The 2008 version of this post called Aurelia “one of those throwback names that is primed for a revival.”

And by 2012? The name re-entered the rankings at #1000. Aurelia charted at #490 in 2022.


But a minor character from a beloved holiday movie probably can’t explain the name’s increased popularity. Instead, the baby name Aurelia owes its success to:

  • The rise of Aurora, which brought more attention to this other Au- name.
  • Our love of girls’ names ending with -lia, like Amelia and Cecilia.
  • An uptick in the use of ancient names in general, making a feminine form of the Latin Aurelius something parents would notice.

It helps that Aurelia requires no nicknames. Or shorten it to Lia/Leah, Ella/Ellie, Ari, Relia, Rella, Rel, or Rea – to name just a few.

One drawback: pronunciation of Aurelia varies. Sometimes it’s three syllables; other times, it’s four. Emphasis ranges from ow REHL ya to ow REH lee ah, with some of the REHs and REHLs traded for RAYs and ows swapped for aws.

If you’re looking for an alternative to long-time favorite Olivia, Aurelia is one to consider.

What do you think of the baby name Aurelia? 

This post was originally published on August 17, 2008. It was revised and re-posted on July 6, 2015 and again on August 12, 2023.

baby name Aurelia baby name Aurelia

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. My husband and I love the movie Love Actually, and he said if he ever had a baby girl, Aurelia would be her name. My 1st born was a girl and Aurelia is what we named her. It’s also in the movie Fools Gold. We are from Portugal and we pronounce it “aw-ray-lee-uh” (my husband’s name is a version of Ray ) it’s the most beautiful name! And she is sooo sweet, she really does have a golden heart!

  2. Our second daughter’s name is Aurelia. We pronounce her name ‘aw-reh-lee-a,’ like the author notes. We decided on the nickname Ellie before she born, and it wasn’t until she was about 4 months old that we heard about the Pony-Mad Princess series. I thought it was so neat someone else had decided to use the nickname Ellie for Aurelia! It certainly isn’t a common first name, but we thought it fit will with our older daughter’s name (Evangeline).

  3. There’s an Aurelia in my daughter’s nursery; she pronounces is \ow-RAY-lee-@\. (I believe the family is French, but ‘m not sure).

  4. in my top faves but husband vetoed as to him it sounds like “I’ll rail ya”. Booo 🙁

  5. I seem to be a nick namer… My biggest problem with Aurelia is it’s lack of an easy nick name solution. It was on the list until I realized that the only solution I could think of was “Goldie” which I couldn’t make work outside of fiction.

    1. Oh, but Aurelia called Goldie would be fabulous! Though I agree, it might be hard to make it stick. I also love the idea of Victoria called Queenie … but again, maybe better in theory than in real life!

      1. My daughter’s name is Aurelia and my mother calls her Auree. Can also do Lia but we prefer the whole name, it’s so beautiful.

  6. I read a very in depth post about aurelia on “Once Upon a Time Baby Names site” and was smitten from there on. On that same site, I came across another fn and pared it with aurelia in the middle, then added my first name in the second slot after aurelia. I toldme husband and he said, I love it. So on top of list above Edwina, is Mazarine Aurelia Winter. The translation in meaning is Blue, Gold, Winter, but I picture a golden sun, blue skies, and white snow capped mountains reflecting light like diamonds. The name itself sounds lush, evocative, and gorgeous, to look past Blue, Gold, Winter.
    I agree, with the others above, aurelia does sound frilly and fusty.

  7. I’m thinking of naming my daughter Aurelia Scholze. It doesn’t sound princessy to me at all, more like a young female dumbledore, or steampunk explorer. Her father is from France and we live in Montreal, Quebec they French say o-rel-ia even when spelled with the accent (Aurélia). We’d called her Aurélie. I love Aurélie because it sounds like a song, Aurélia was a longer form I chose so that she could have a less cutsey name as she aged. Aurélia Scholze sounds like an esteemed inventor or classical musician.

    All the possible nicknames I’ve come up with are:
    Ariel, Aurielle,  Arial, , Arella, Arla, Orla, Aurelle, Auralei,
    Aurea, Aurore,
    Rae, Relie/Raliegh, Lee, Aura, Aurl, Aulie,
    Ori/Aurie, Ari,
    Elle, Ellie, Liea (leah or laia), Lilie/Lilly

    Downside to Aurélie is that my English daily pronounces it as ORALLY -medication to be taken orally, or you know; oral. I’m a bit concerned that she’ll get BJ jokes in high school if we stay in Canada. Also Aurélia reminds people of aureolas, which is fine, as I have no qualm with nipples.

  8. Absolutly love the name Aurelia.. we might go with the name Aurelia Rose but not fo sure
    Any suggestions??

    1. Aurelia is lovely – is there a reason for choosing Rose, or are you just looking for something that sounds right in the middle spot? Rose is a great name, but if there’s no special meaning attached, I might use something less expected:

      Aurelia Mary
      Aurelia Maren
      Aurelia Lauren
      Aurelia Haven
      Aurelia June
      Aurelia Thais
      Aurelia Justine
      Aurelia Cady
      Aurelia Bay

      But some of it depends on your last name, too …

  9. thanks! I know.. how tough is it! Somehow, I don’t think I’ll be able to convince DH to let me have 2 more girls though 🙂 hahah