LOUISE and LOUISA – Louise, long sleepy in the U.S., is beginning to sound fresh again and is the chic version in France and the U.K., while Louisa (or Luisa) is more widely used in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
LUCA – The pretty (and to some American ears, too pretty) name for boys is wildly popular throughout Europe but just beginning to be heard in the U.S., sometimes for girls.
LUCAS and LUKE – These two versions of the Biblical Luke, meaning “from Lucanus,” have been in the U.S. Top 50 for several years now.
LUCIAN and LUCIUS – Two variation on an old Roman name meaning “light” that sound fresh and, well, luscious to the American ear.
LUCY, LUCIANA, LUCIA – Lucy has been popular in the U.S. for several years now, but like cousin Lily, has many variations to suit the parent in search of something similar yet more different.
LUDOVIC and LUDOVICA – Further afield but still containing the fashion “lu” sound are these male and female versions of Ludwig, very chic in Italy.
LUNA – The Italian and Spanish word for moon makes a celestial-sounding choice.
Another name trend sweeping Europe that’s beginning to be recognized in America too are names that mean and sometimes even sound like “lion.” Again, for both genders, examples include:
LEO – This one we’ve heard in the U.S., but still lovely.
LEON – Long a top name in German, Leon deserves to be rehabilitated in the U.S., where it had become a joke. Brad and Angelina giving it to their twin son Knox as a middle name could give it a major boost.
LEONA, LEONIE, LEONORA – Long considered old-lady names in America, all the female lion names are newly fashionable in Europe and beginning to be considered by adventurous parents here too.
LEOPOLD – While not strictly meaning lion – its meaning is usually given as “bold people” – the Leo in this German name is derived from lion and this long-stodgy name has considerable new hipster cred.
LIONEL – A choice for adventurous baby-namers for both girls and boys.
Some of the freshest Biblical names have L beginnings.
LAZARUS – In 20 years, I predict little Lazaruses will be as plentiful as boys named Noah and Isaiah are today.
LEAH – Already a hit, Leah has an appealingly modern simplicity.
LEMUEL – Destined to step out from Samuel’s shadow.
LEVI – Was beginning to reemerge when Matthew McConaughey chose it for his son, catapulting it to stardom.
LYDIA – Strong, old-fashioned girls’ name that’s reemerging.
OTHER COOL L NAMES I COULDN’T SQUEEZE INTO ANY CATEGORY
A few other L names I like: The Old Lllllady trio LAVINIA, LETITIA, and LUCRETIA. The word name and surname LAND, originally used for one of the sons of pioneer aviator Charles and AnneLindbergh, would make a strong choice for a boy or girl today. Hero name LINCOLN never goes out of style, but sounds particularly attractive now.