In Hebrew, Ayla (also found as Elah), is a feminine form of Allon (ah LON), which means "oak tree" or "terebinth tree." It is pronounced /EYE law/. I can't come up with any Irish or Gaelic roots for the name. There is a Turkish name Ayla that means "moonlight" or "halo," referring to a halo of light around the moon. Jean M. Auel used this name for the protagonist of her Clan of the Cave Bear series, first published in 1980. As a girls' name, it first appeared in 1963, then not again until 1977. Its popularity grew after the book was released, but tripled after the film starring Daryl Hannah, based on the book was released in 1986. The name tripled in popularity again in 2006 when the singer (and daughter of politician Scott Brown) Ayla Brown was a contestant on the television reality show "American Idol."
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