French Names: From Lilou to Lazare
By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names
These are some of the zestiest:
Lilou. A modern name, popularized in France by its appearance (in the form Leeloo) in the film The Fifth Element (1997), ranking 12th. It probably began life as a pet-form of one of the many French names ending in -lie. Other variants in regular use include Liloo, Leelou and Lylou.
Sirine. Probably from sirène, the French for “siren” — not the noisy alarm kind, but the alarming mythological monster of mesmeric voice, who lured sailors to their deaths. It also means “mermaid.” Syrine is a variant.
Axel. Scandinavian form of biblical Hebrew Absalom, “father of peace.” The dashing Swedish Count Axel von Fersen (1755-1810) was a prominent figure of the court of Louis XVI. He was a close friend of Marie Antoinette, and many think he was her lover.
Elouan. One of many Breton names which have come into vogue in France in recent years. The name of a very obscure saint, “known” (insofar as the name is recorded!) in Cornwall as Elvan and Elven, and Welsh as Elwen. The etymology is very obscure. In France it tends to be derived from the Breton luh “light,” but this isn’t convincing. In Cornish, elven does mean “spark.”
Josse. A form of the Breton Jodoc, “little lord,” which first spread out of Brittany in the Middle Ages, when it is also found in England. There, the usual form became Joyce, and as time passed became exclusively female.
Loup. French name from Latin lupus ,“wolf.”
Télesphore. French form of the Greek Telesphoros, the name in Greek mythology of a son of the healing God Asclepius. Telesphoros himself is the personification of getting better after sickness. Greek: telesphoros “bringing fulfillment,” “able to fulfill” and “bearing fruit in due season.” Little seen in France (or anywhere, for that matter) any more, but probably my favorite of the many wonderful French versions of classical names embraced at the time of the French Revolution.
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on July 21st, 2014 at 11:54 am
My Cajun great-great-grandmother’s name was Aglia, pronounced like Aglaé. Her husband was called Finelau.
Some great names here; I love Maelys and Oriane.
on July 21st, 2014 at 5:47 pm
Sirine is not a deformation from “Sirène” but a nice arabic name meaning “Charming” and very popular among families of arabic descent. Solène is also more current writen this way, but I did not know the spelling Solenn and I find it prettier. I like Maïwenn, Oriane and Maelys. Axel and Loris are pretty too and remain quite uncommon. .
on July 22nd, 2014 at 10:21 am
I think I read this post a few years ago…Maelys is talked about quite a bit around here now.
on July 22nd, 2014 at 5:29 pm
Alizé is a brand of liquor. I have a next door neighbor named Alizé.
on July 22nd, 2014 at 9:08 pm
I adore Enzo.
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