Lu-Girl Names Inspired by Paris
By Abby Sandel
That tracks with the trend reports French baby name site Meilleurs Prenom’s Stephanie Rapoport has filed for Nameberry in recent years. Louis and Louise are in the nation-wide Top Ten for France, and other names, like Lilou and Louna, have been in favor, too.
At first glance, American parents have let this trend pass us by. But when Lu– names are added in, it’s a different story.
Luke was already trending way back in 1977, when Star Wars debuted. Skywalker helped cement the Biblical boy name as a modern favorite. Now Lucas is more popular than Luke, and romance language versions of the name, like Luca and Luciano, are also on the rise.
But let’s turn our attention to Lou/Lu names for girls, because there’s a bumper crop. They range from the well-established to the fresh and stylish, from the names everyone is talking about to the names that no one has discovered – yet.
Lucy – Lucy became a familiar English language Lu– name in the Middle Ages, thanks to a popular saint. Seldom out of the US Top 500, Lucy is now Number 55 – and Number 27 on Nameberry. From the Peanuts Lucy van Pelt (full name Lucille) to suffragette Lucy Stone to I Love Lucy, there are plenty of associations for the name. It’s a simple, nickname-proof pick that wears well.
Lucia – At Number 225, romance language Lucia is rising rapidly. Three possible pronunciations: loo-SEE-a, loo-CHEE-a, or LOO-sha, might give some parents pause. But it’s also a potential alternative to powerfully popular –ia names for girls, like Sophia. The original Latin form of Lucy, both names come from lux – light. Luciana is an even more elaborate possibility.
Luna – Take a Harry Potter heroine, mix in associations with the night sky, and a few high profile birth announcements, and you have the formula for a smash hit name. Sometimes heard in the nineteenth century, Luna hibernated until JK Rowling’s Goblet of Fire gave the name a boost. The Latin and Spanish word for moon is following fellow night sky name Stella right up the charts, to Number 110 last year – and Number 19 on Nameberry.
Lucille – Lucille is a French form of Lucia by way of Lucilla, an ancient name quite popular in the early twentieth century. Today it is in the midst of a revival, climbing to Number 283 last year – up more than 400 places in the last decade. Long tied to Lucille Ball and a string of hit songs – Little Richard’s 1957 single, and Kenny Roger’s 1977 chart-topper – it now feels more like a sister for Genevieve or a successor to Lillian.
Louisa – Literary and lady-like, it’s almost unbelievable that Louisa has languished, outside of the US Top 1000 until 2014! At Number 908 in the US, it’s still nicely underused. Berries love Louisa – it ranks Number 136 on the site – and it makes a logical successor to popular classics like Charlotte and Isabella.
Luz – Like your names mini? Luz, the Spanish word for light, might be one to consider. Originally part of a title for Mary – Nuestra Señora de la Luz – it is sometimes heard in combination with Maria. Luz has ranked in the US Top 1000 most years since the 1950s, but has always been rare.
Lula – A vintage name recently chosen by Liv Tyler for Milo and Sailor’s new sister, Lula was a Top 100 pick in the nineteenth century – and almost completely unheard of since the mid-twentieth. Sassy and sweet, Lula is less expected that Lily or Lola, but easy to say and spell. Another option might be Luella, marrying Lou names for girls to all of those popular –ella ending choices.
Louisiana – Named for King Louis XIV of France, Louisiana became the eighteenth US state in 1812. Unlike other state names inspired by monarchs – think Georgia or Carolina – Louisiana has only been used a handful of times. Actor Leelee Sobieski named her daughter the slightly different smoosh name Louisanna.
Lou, Lilou, Emmylou – Speaking of smoosh names, Lou works in plenty of compound names – or stands on its own as a unisex mini name option. Heidi Klum’s youngest is daughter Lou Sulola. Lilou might be a combination of Lily and Lou, or maybe inspired by 1997 scifi flick The Fifth Element’s character Leeloo. Another option might be Emmylou, as in folk rocker Emmylou Harris, or other options, like Marilu or Annalou.
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on August 22nd, 2016 at 5:14 am
Having been born at dawn, Mum thought Lucy was fitting and I’ve never wished she chosen something else
on August 22nd, 2016 at 5:24 am
Lucinda is my favorite Lu name. Sweetly vintage and somewhat rock and roll with nn options Lu Lucy or Cindy.
With Lu in the middle, I also love Talulah!
on August 22nd, 2016 at 5:35 am
My favorite is Lucy, as it’s my niece’s name.
I also love Lucinda, Lucille and Lucia.
on August 22nd, 2016 at 8:28 am
Great post! Lu names are some of my favorite names! Luna is by far my favorite and will definitely be the name of one of my kids if I have any. I also really love Anna Lucia, Llewellyn, Lucas, Luella.
I think I love Lu names because I also really love names that start with L and names that have the “oo” sound, and Lu names have both!
Other great L names I love: Laurel, Lee, Leot, Lleyton.
Names with the “oo” sound (and especially the “oon” sound) are at the top of my baby name list! Audun, Juniper, Neptune, Rooney, Schooner, Typhoon, Varun, Laguna, Cerulean.
on August 22nd, 2016 at 11:44 am
Luke is such a cute name! I love it’s Biblical importance as well. For girls, Lucy is definitely making a comeback and it sounds so classic. I would definitely consider naming a son Luke or using it as a middle name. It’s also my cousin’s name, so there is that family element as well.
on August 22nd, 2016 at 12:44 pm
I love Lucia, Lucienne, Lula & Louella.
on August 22nd, 2016 at 1:26 pm
So many lovely names! I also love Louise, Luya and Loula.
on August 22nd, 2016 at 3:13 pm
I love Luna, Lula, Lucia and Luke! I love the nn Lulu too! Adorable.
on August 23rd, 2016 at 1:45 pm
Luna, and the French favourite :Louna, is just beautiful. Luke, Lucius and Luca are strong names for boys, whereas Llewellyn, for instance, needs a strong backing to suppress the female-only sounding ‘Ellen’. My partners’ grandmother lost her husband on the HMAS Sydney….but modern day dictates that our hero now seems to have to have a more manly name. How times have changed over the century/countries(ie. Harry) I just don’t know what to do…mn is always an option, but his sacrifice seems due a more honourable reckon.
Berries…how can a name such as Llewellyn in this day and age be manly, without putting the poor boy in self defense classes?
on August 23rd, 2016 at 10:00 pm
@LucyAlice, you could use the name Llewellyn with a nontraditional pronunciation of LOO-uh-lyn as opposed to the traditional loo-EL-lyn, putting the emphasis on the first syllable, which would make the nickname Lou seem more natural. That is how I thought the name was actually pronounced the first time I saw it in writing until I heard it pronounced by the Llewellyn himself later that day. I enjoy both pronunciations equally and since many different people have many different accents, the way our names are pronounced vary from person to person anyway, so it’s really not that strange and people would get used to it … Or you could teach him that female-sounding and male-sounding names are made up by society and not to pay attention to it. Lou and Lynn are both unisex names/nicknames. The only syllable that sounds “feminine” is the middle syllable because of the female name Elle. But “EL” is found in other male names as well: Elbert, Elliot, Elwood. Kids are probably going to get picked on for their names even when they have more common names. Ashley becomes Ashtray and Kelly becomes Smelly Kelly. And if anyone does point out the fact it seems feminine to them, just tell your son that having things in common with females is neither bad nor an insult. Just pick a name you like, whether Llewellyn or something else.
on December 11th, 2016 at 7:00 am
Lucy or Luz is just okay for me. You can also take a look at the name Kumani http://www.suggestbabynames.com/meaning_of_african_girlname_kumani.html
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