Celebrity Names Blog

Like The Actress, Mila Is A Name To Watch

Like The Actress, Mila Is A Name To Watch
FPA/Fame Pictures

Mila Kunis has officially made the leap from television to movies with her last three flicks — Date Night, Black Swan and currently Friends with Benefits — pulling in big bucks at the box office. As the widely-liked actress' star continues to rise, all signs point to the fact that her name is going to become more of a hit as well.

The name Mila (pronounced mee-luh) was originally a nickname in Eastern European languages — short for names that contained the Slavic element Mil which means “kind,” “loving and “gracious.” That fits with Mila Kunis, who may sound like your average 27-year-old California girl, but she actually hails from Ukraine, moving to Los Angeles when she was 7. The Golden Globe nominated actress — also known for voicing the popular character of Meg on TV’s animated series Family Guy — was actually born Milena Markovna Kunis.

Today, the name Mila is used as a first name in the United States and has seen a surge in popularity within the last five years. After appearing at No. 909 on the Top-1000 popular name chart in 1881, the name disappeared for more than a century. Fast-forward to 2006 – the year we bade farewell to Jackie Burkhart and the cast of That '70s Show -- when it returned to the No. 748 spot and has since grown to No. 364. We predict it will continue to gain popularity because it’s a hybrid of two very popular names — Mia (No. 10) and Lila (No. 155). Mila sounds current, is short, sweet and very feminine with its -a ending, which Baby Name Wizard’s Laura Wattenberg touched on in a recent blog post.

Mila could be a nice alternative to the above mentioned Mia as well as the Top-100 staples Amelia (No. 41) and Maya (No. 67).

Another celebrity association is Milla Jovovich, which has the same pronunciation but a slightly different spelling with the double “l." The supermodel-turned-actress — and mother of Ever Gabo Anderson — is also Ukrainian and was born Milica Jovovich. Unlike Mila, the name Milla has never made it to the popular name list in the United States.

Thinking about male names for a minute, the masculine Milan is Mila’s counterpart. It too was a common nickname given to men with Slavic names beginning with Mil. However, it has since become popular on its own and is on Top-100 lists in Belgium (No. 8), Netherlands (No. 11), Hungary (No. 18) and Czech Republic (No. 48). However, in the U.S., the last time the male name Milan appeared on the charts was 1958! And as popular as place names are right now we can’t see a Milan boom for American boys in the near future. Though, important to note, it could work for girls! In 2009 Milan appeared on the chart for the first time as a female name -- and Mike Tyson and Scott Stapp gave their daughters the name in recent years.

Another male name that is not technically related to Mila -- one-letter off -- but in the same arena is Milo, which has been on the upswing for boys. After disappearing for many decades, Milo returned in 2001 and has been climbing the charts since with it currently at No. 422. Celebrities have been quick to adopt it for their offspring with Liv Tyler, Craig Ferguson and Mel Gibson among the celebs with sons named Milo.

Is the name Mila or Milla one you’d consider? Which spelling do you prefer? How about the male name Milo? Weigh in below.



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August 8, 2011 11:06 PM
By Allison (not verified)

I really like Mila as a nickname for Milena. (I had no idea Ms. Kunis was a Milena!)
Gorgeous name, lovely sound, wonderful meaning - can't go wrong!

As far as Milo. It's not a hit with me personally ("Milo & Otis," anyone?), but I wouldn't argue with it in a sea of Jaydens and Gunners. I like Milan (mee-lan, no mill-an) much better!

August 9, 2011 7:59 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know two little Milas.

August 9, 2011 1:28 PM
By Charly (not verified)

I'd always thought of it as pronounced Mye-la, and I can almost guarantee that that's how it was pronounced in the 1880s. Can anyone confirm or deny?

August 9, 2011 2:34 PM
By Cassandra (not verified)

I think Mila and Milla sounds cute but way to nicknamey.Amelia nn Mila would definately work!

Milo,hmm...I'm sorta torn.Maybe as a nn for Emilio.But it could work on it's own as well.I don't know.

Would I ever consider either Mila or Milo? It's a no for me!

August 9, 2011 3:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Charly: It depends on the language. Mee-la is the Slavic pronunciation. Mye-la would be the traditional English pronunciation, similar to how Sophia was originally pronounced So-fye-a in English-speaking countries.

August 10, 2011 7:10 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Milo will always be a drink to me.

November 7, 2012 8:04 PM
By Bre (not verified)

My daughter was born May, 2011 and we named her Milla. We got the name from Milla Jovovich and we were aware it was a shortened form of her actual name but we loved it! We got a lot of rude remarks at first but it's grown on people. Sometimes I wish we would have spelled it with one L instead of two but thats just because people always mispronounce it.

December 21, 2012 6:36 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

We have named our baby girl Mila. We love it and everyone comments on how pretty it is. A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.

January 10, 2013 1:43 PM
By babymama (not verified)

I went to school with a girl named Mila. Everyone always pronounced it wrong, like My-la. Cruel kids called her Mylanta. And one even rhymed it with Pee-la. Definitely go for a different name, there are so many other beautiful girl names.

September 24, 2014 10:37 AM
By Jilbab Model Terbaru (not verified)

I'm gone to tell my little brother, that he should also go
to see this weblog on regular basis to get updated from most recent gossip.

February 20, 2015 6:35 AM
By Foothills Flowers (not verified)

Just awesome, keep it up. If possible then po

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