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Isla Name Meaning – What Does The Name Isla Mean?

What does the name Isla Mean? In this quick guide, we will explore the origin, history, popularity, and meaning of the name Isla. Let's get started.

What does the name Isla Mean? In this quick guide, we will explore the origin, history, popularity, and meaning of the name Isla. 

Let’s get started. 

Meaning of The Name Isla

The name Isla can be found in a diverse range of settings from English, American, Spanish and Italian origin. The Scottish form of the name is derived from the river that runs through Inverness, Scotland and is thought to mean “from the island”.

In Ireland it is derived from the phrase ‘Goídelglas’ which means Irish-speaker. In Gaelic, Isla means “Island of lakes” – a reference to its location near bodies of water in Ireland. Isla has been popular in many countries outside its original home country even if its meaning is still not fully understood there. In other countries, Isla often translates to mean “God promise” or “God’s oath”.

Variations include Isletta (Italian), Izella (English) and Alistair (Scottish). The name can also be spelled Esla, Illa or Eila but their meanings may vary depending on language and usage. In modern usage, the name has grown significantly in popularity due to celebrities like singer-songwriter Allisia Cara choosing it for their daughter Isabella.

Its meaning — which can range from islands to promises of God — make it an ideal choice for a baby girl with an adventurous spirit or strong sense of loyalty and faithfulness.

History and Origin of The Name Isla

The name Isla is a Scottish baby name. In Scottish, the meaning of the name Isla is “island”. The name was first found in Argyllshire (part of modern day Scotland).

It refers to someone who came from or lived near an island. The name has been used as both a given name and a surname throughout Scotland in past centuries, dating back to the 11th century and earlier.

Isla is also an Irish origin, derived from the Gaelic word “Ìoslainn”. Islainn was originally an old Irish word for island; it referred to someone living on or near an island in the Gaelic language.

The given name Isla has seen increased popularity in recent years due its association with actress Isla Fisher, who has starred in films such as Wedding Crashers and Now You See Me.

Additionally, “Island” was featured in several popular 2011 songs by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and Canadian R&B singer Justin Bieber, further increasing its popularity as a unique unisex baby name option.

Gender of The Name Isla

The name Isla is a girl’s name of Spanish origin meaning “island”. The name Isla is most commonly used as a female given name, and it is of Spanish origin. It is related to the word “isla” which means island in Spanish. Variations of the name include Islah and Isley.

The feminine names derived from geographical or topographical names like islands, are relatively new on the baby girl’s naming landscape and this has created a distinct sense of individual personalities for those who carry them.

Isla is a popular name which carries with it hints at independence, creativity, intelligence and ambition all combined with a certain earthiness due to its geographical roots that can easily be traced back to its native language.

What’s even more delightful about this poetic-sounding yet rather playful name is that its pronunciation varies across different cultures: In Scottish Gaelic, it is pronounced eye-lah; in Old German tradition it was “izuhl”; and in some other languages it could even be ela or ila.

While universally recognized as a girl’s name amongst English speaking nations and Europe, there are also male use variations such as Ishlan or Issiah – but only very rarely.

Popularity of The Name Isla

The name Isla has been popular for generations, with usage increasing by more than 800% since 1980. The peak of the name’s popularity in the US occurred from 2005-2009, when over 3,000 girls were named Isla each year.

More recently, the name has experienced a modest decline in popularity, dropping to approximately 1,800 babies given the name “Isla” in 2018.

This is a strong increase compared to 1880 when only five children were given this distinctive and attractive name. Isla’s popularity remains firm throughout the English speaking world with particular favour in Australia and the UK – where it was ranked 14th most popular girl’s name in 2018 – as well as Canada. It is estimated that worldwide over 100,000 female babies are named Isla every year.

The gender distribution of this striking Christian name reveals an overwhelming preference for assigning it to baby girls: currently less than 0.1 percent of baby boys receive this great choice of a name.

Variations of The Name Isla

The name Isla can have many different variations providing parents with a range of options when searching for a baby name. Variations of Isla include Izla, Eye-lah, Ilah, Ilaya, Illa, Illyana and Isza. In Scotland it is also sometimes used as an Anglicized form of the Dutch name Ijssela. This spelling could also be interpreted as Islanda or Islese in other languages.

In Spanish speaking countries the name is largely unisex and can be spelled ISLA (or a variation) for either a boy or girl’s name but it also has differing spellings depending on the country you are in: Espana spells it Aisla; Argentina spells it Isela; Chile spells it Ysla and Mexico spells it Yzla.

No matter how you spell the name or where you are from the commonality of meaning remains—Island, Land of God or Noblewoman—merging family heritage with modern speech creating a powerful bond between language and loved ones.

Famous People Named Isla in History

Isla is a unisex name with many prominent figures in history, literature and the art world who adopted it for their own. Some of the most famous are:

In literature, Isla Fisher is an Australian novelist most known for her debut novel “Crossing” which was published in 2003. Isla Altmann is a Slovakian author best known for her short story “On the Reflection of Light”, which was published in 2009.

In the art world, Isla Paton is a British modern sculptor whose works have been exhibited across Europe and the United States.

In media, actress Isla Fisher has enjoyed roles in films such as Confessions Of A Shopaholic and The Wedding Crashers.

Politically, Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was nicknamed “Isla” after his younger sister Catherine Isabelle or Belle by his family.

Finally, Scottish athlete Isla Scott won bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. She also holds six Scottish records and has competed against Olympic champions from all over the world.

Pronunciation of The Name Isla

Isla is a female given name of Scottish origin, and is derived from the island of Islay, in Scotland. The name Isla is pronounced iss-lah. Its two syllables are equally stressed and the accent falls on the first syllable. The correct pronunciation relies heavily on the stress; it should not be shortened to “Ila” or “Iss-lah.”

The name Isla can be written with one or two l’s, with either spelling being accepted as proper. Namesakes include singer-songwriter/actress Isla Fisher and British actress Isla Blair.

Numerology of The Name Isla

The numerology of the name Isla is 8. This numerology number is associated with practicality and ambition. It indicates a strong sense of determination, inventiveness and good business sense.

Those who carry this name also tend to be analytical, with good organizational skills and a logical approach to problem-solving. Additionally, the eight vibration increases optimism and confidence, motivating those who don their names to greatness and success.

An eight personal energy naturally draws in other people who are similarly ambitious and hardworking; it can be used as an invaluable source of strength for others. Symbols of power such as leadership, wealth, respect and influence may also be earned through carrying this vibration in one’s name.

On a negative note however, an excessive amount of eights in an individual’s life can lead to a self-centeredness that may cause damage to relationships or creative pursuits. The key is balance: allowing ambition to take precedence but not overshadowing the need for empathy and understanding in order maintain healthy personal bonds that feed the soul rather than dampen it.


The name Isla is of Spanish, Greek, and Gaelic origin and brings with it a rich heritage that is rooted in strength and beauty. From the Spanish ‘island’ to the Greek ‘promise’, Isla can represent many valued ideals such as family unity, faithfulness, serenity, modesty, determination, freedom and joy.

Isla is an excellent name choice for parents who appreciate the history behind their baby’s name from around the world. No matter what your cultural background may be, if you are looking for a culturally diverse name for your little girl then give strong consideration to the lovely “Isla”.


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Housam is a content marketing expert with a knack for writing articles. He loves to name and nickname things creatively, so much so that he started a blog in which he writes about names and their meanings. He is also an avid reader, the dad of two wonderful dogs, and a full-time RV traveler with no definite destination.

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