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Short, Simple, Chic Baby Names

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By Pamela Redmond Satran

When Americans think about chic European names, they tend to imagine the exotic, the elaborate, the intriguingly complicated and foreign.

Yet when Europeans think about chic names, they often these days mean the short and simple and sometimes even the Anglo-Saxon: Tom, Emma, Lou.  Think of them as the baby name equivalents of a perfectly-cut bob or little black dress, elegant and always in style.

Short, simple names that are chic and popular in France, the Netherlands, and indeed throughout Europe include:

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blue surprise

We’re always adding new baby names to our database, and the latest collection all have international roots.  These additions were partially inspired by the update of our baby name popularity page to include Top 100 lists from several countries beyond the U.S.  We also thank Nameberry readers who contributed names from their home countries that were new to us.   Here, the dozen (plus) newest international baby names on Nameberry.

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posted by: waltzingmorethanmatilda View all posts by this author
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By Anna Otto, Waltzing More Than Matilda

I recently released an e-book called International Baby Names for Australian Parents, to help Australian parents find names that are uncommon, but not strange. My theory was that was a name that had never ranked here, yet was on the charts in other countries, would fit the bill of being seen as both “unusual” and “normal”.

Here are some names from the book that have never ranked in English-speaking countries, but are in the Top 100 elsewhere in the world.

girls

Anouk (Top 100 in the Netherlands)

Hip and quirky while still having substance. As a short form of Anna, provides an alternative to that and related names.

Ginevra (Top 100 in Italy)

Best known from spunky redhead GinevraGinny” Weasley in the Harry Potter books. Romantic and with tons of nickname options, this could also honour a Jennifer, as it’s the Italian form of Guinevere.

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royal baby names

Nameberry guest blogger Andrea, whom many of you may know for her intelligent and thoughtful advice on our message boards, is both a newspaper reporter and a royal watcher.  Here, her rundown of the names of the littlest princes and princesses of Europe.

The British royal family is traditional enough that it’s fairly easy to make an educated guess about its naming habits. Other European royals are far more creative in their naming, sometimes reflecting the current styles in their countries or setting styles themselves. The Crown Prince and Princess of the Netherlands gave all three of their daughters “A” names: Princesses Catharina-Amalia (called Amalia), Alexia, and Ariane. (That’s them with their parents on the right.)

Belgian Crown Prince Prince Philippe, the Duke of Brabant, and his wife Princess Mathilde, reportedly have a subtler theme in the naming of their children and have included the element “el” in each name. The children are Princess Élisabeth, born in 2001, and her younger siblings Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eléonore.

Young Princess Eléonore is one of several young European royals with variants of the name Eleanor. Spain has the Infanta Leonor, born in 2005, whose parents pored over the family tree to find the name, which honors a medieval queen. Royal watchers also tried to guess what name the new Spanish infanta would receive; none I saw got it right. The following year another royal baby was given the name in the Netherlands: the Countess Leonore, daughter of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien. Will all the Leonors set off a naming trend in other countries? Well, according to at least one newspaper article, Leonor is currently among the five most common names given to baby girls in Portugal.

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Exotic Lite: Boys’ Edition

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We recently looked at girls’ names popular around the world yet exotic-sounding in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries, and today we turn to the boys’ version of this kind of name.

If you’re looking for a name for your son that has an international flavor yet is not too obscure or difficult to understand and pronounce, you might want to consider these choices.

ALESSANDRO – A top name in Italy, makes Alexander both softer and sexier to the American ear.

ALEXEI – Russian spin on Alex or Alexander popular there, pronounced Alex-ay or (less popular) Alex-ee. Down side: Its similarity to the very popular girls’ name Alexa.

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