Category: international names for boys
Nameberry has visitors from all over the world, which goes some way toward accounting for the fact that many of the names on our popularity list are more common in other countries than they are in the US. Of course, some American parents also search for international names to reflect their own ethnic heritage or to celebrate a culture or country they love or to find a more dashing way to honor Grandpa Frank.
Most of the names here, drawn from the names right below the most popular Top 1000, are European in origin and so evidence that sophisticated French or Italian or Scandinavian style. Or at least they do to the American ear, which relishes an accent.
There are also European-inflected names for boys higher up in the Nameberry popularity list: Callum and Enzo and Stellan, for instance. And in Europe itself, baby names originating in one country may be stylish in another, so that the Dutch like Italian names, the Italians favor Russian names, the Russians prefer French names, and the French are in love with British names. The boys’ names here are more distinctive than their popular brothers, but just as nimble at crossing international borders.
If you’re looking for an international name for your baby boy, these are the perfect blend of familiar yet exotic.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Now it’s the boy’s turn to romance their names.
We recently posted a list of 100 girls’ names in translation, where we took some rather prosaic appellations like Helen, Henrietta and Hedwig, and gave them some international flair via their translations into other languages. Well, several of you asked us to do the same for the boys, and so here they are. Of course there are countless other versions and variations—maybe you’ll find the honor replacement you’ve been looking for!
A couple of momberries-to-be who are expecting Fall babies have written in to ask for some Autumn name suggestions, and so, as we come close to the official onset of the season, here is our annual, updated round-up of Autumn names.
AUTUMN — Autumn is ironically the hottest season name, the only one in the Top 100 where it’s maintained its status for over a decade now. The name Autumn first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 1969, inspired by the hippie nature names and word names. While it’s still attractive, however, it’s hardly fresh.
Names from other cultures that provide a newer route to Autumn include the Japanese girls’ names Aki and Akiko, the Turkish girls’ name Hazan, the Vietnamese Thu, and, in Chinese, Qiu for either girls or boys.
Fall month names are not quite as usable as those of the other seasons.
September – Why are March, May, June, August and even January hot while September (along with October, November, and December) is not? Maybe there’s something chilly about that “ber” ending. Still, this has an attractive sound and is certainly unusual. The Latin Septimus, which means “seventh son,” sounds a bit Harry Potter and is perhaps too redolent of things septic. But Seven, as recently chosen as the middle name of little Harper Beckham, might have some potential.
October – An equally unusual month name that gets an extra helping of cool from hipster writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, who chose it for their daughter. Perhaps more attractive are the Latin pair Octavius and especially Octavia, both of which mean (as does October) “eighth.” Other Octavius and Octavia variations you might consider: Octavian, Octaviana, Octavienne, the Italian Ottavio or Ottavia, or the nicknames Tavy or Tavia.
They are all Catalan, an ethnic group whose origins in Mediterranean Spain and France have roots in the merging of the indigenous Celts of the Iberian peninsula with the Romans. Catalan is a Romance language that existed before Spanish, and derived from Vulgate Latin and Occidental. The Catalan culture began around the ninth century CE, and was in its heyday between the eleventh and the fifteenth centuries. At one point, the Catalans, who were sailors, merchants, and explorers, had expanded their territory from the Mediterranean coast of Spain and France through the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, and Greece.
Currently, there are six to eight million speakers of Catalan. Catalunya is the largest semi-autonomous region in Spain, and includes the provinces of Barcelona, Lleida, Tarragona, and Girona, as well as parts of Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and the region of France that borders the Pyrenées and the Mediterranean. During the Franco years, Catalan culture, music, language, and freedoms were brutally suppressed. Since the constitutional monarchy of Juan Carlos, Catalunya has restored its language and traditional culture.
Parents in search of names emblematic of a new masculine image for their sons are also looking toward ethnic choices unknown in the U.S. just a few years ago.
And then there’s simply our widening global sensibility, taking in more and more images and cultural cues from around the world. When it comes to boys’ names, these names may symbolize a more enlightened masculine image, or at least a fresh one. Whether the name is Irish or Latino, African or French, we may see that exotic guy as being more stylish and more sophisticated and definitely more worldly than our regular old Bills and Jims.
Here, a selection of new ethnic choices for boys on the U.S. popularity list. And don’t forget to take our poll on the new masculine names at the end of the column!