Lu-Girl Names Inspired by Paris

Lu-Girl Names Inspired by Paris

By Abby Sandel

What’s popular in Paris? When it comes to French baby names, Lou rules. Louise has held the top girls’ spot for eight years running, while Louis is a Top Ten pick for boys.

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.

Surname name Lewis is also catching on. Classic Louis remains a just under-the-radar classic, part-Louis Armstrong, part-Prince George Alexander Louis.

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.

LucyLucy 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.

LucilleLucille 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 MaryNuestra 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 CarolinaLouisiana 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.

What are your favorite Lou and Lu names? Are there any that I missed? Would you use any of these names for a child?