January 10th, 2012
Let it be known that I am a tried and true Europhile. From clothing to decor, and especially food, they’ve been doing it right for centuries. I recently came across France’s Milk Magazine, and had to snag it — if just for the names. Under the direction of a woman with the moniker fabuleux Isis-Colombe, Milk is the go-to publication for children’s fashion. The child models are credited, and where available I’ve included their ages.
Could you name your own child off this list?
Gustave, 6 months
September 29th, 2011
Siobhán’s been in touch with me lately but didn’t want me to post anything until the baby was here. After much suspense, she gave birth this morning to a beautiful baby boy! Many congratulations from the whole YCCII clan. He still, however, needs a name.
I would absolutely love your help, and the help of your readers in choosing a name for my second son, who arrived earlier today!
My partner and I have a two year old son named Luca Cy B– – –well (two syllable English surname), and while I’m not a fan of matchy-matchy names, I would love any siblings, including this baby, to have names that sit nicely together as a sibset.
As such, I considered several other European names, and have settled on the name Remy (pronounced ‘Rem-ee’ – I’m still trying to decide whether should add the French accent to the ‘e’ or not, and would love your thoughts).
Other names that I shortlisted early on include Rafferty, Rafael/Raphael, Aurélien/Aurelius, Roman, Etienne, Clement, Florian, Cassius, Caspar, Aubrey, Tobias, Tobias, Eero, Miro and Olmo, to give you an idea of the style of names I like, and all of these could now be middle name possibilities.
While I’d love your opinion on my first name choice, I would especially love to get some thoughts on my shortlist of middle names, as these seem to be proving particularly difficult. Originally, I had planned to give this baby only one middle name, as I did with my firstborn son, however I have been seriously thinking about adding another middle name to my son’s existing name (my current favourites are Luca Cy Theodore or Luca Cy Maxim, but I’d love other suggestions…), and as such, I think I would like to give this baby and any future children two middle names.
I’d like to find names that somehow tie together or bridge a European first name and an English surname. My shortlist of middle names to go with Remy includes:
Lucian** (or Lucien)
Maxim / Maxime
Clement or Clemént / Clemente
**I absolutely adore the name Remy Lucian, but wonder if it would be odd to give my newborn son a middle name that’s so close to my first son’s name, Luca (even though they apparently have different etymologies)? Originally, I had wanted to name my first son Lucian and use Luca as a nickname, but my partner refused, and I’ve always grieved the loss of that name, hence why I’d love to use it now! But I’m open to hearing other people’s (honest) opinions about this, as well as thoughts on each of the middle names mentioned above. Oh, and please don’t be too influenced by the fact that my son has a very short middle name, as most of the middle names I like for this and future babies tend to be longish, so Cy will just have to be the odd name out (we chose Cy after the late American painter Cy Twombly, a favourite artist of mine, and I would love to use Lucian as a tribute to Lucian Freud, another favourite artist…). Also, I really love the Lucian spelling, but wonder if Lucien flows better next to Remy, given that both names are French…
While it’s by no means essential that I use family names as middle names, the one person I would like to honour in naming each of my children is my youngest sister Mairead, who died suddenly four years ago. As she died in quite tragic circumstances, however, I feel uncomfortable using her actual name, but would like to honour her in some other way… One reason I named my son Luca was because he was born shortly after my sister’s death, and his name means ‘bringer of light’, which felt very significant at that time. My sister was a philosopher/lecturer, whose main area of study and teaching was ancient Greek philosophy, and who was obsessed with anything Greek-related, and this is why I thought Theodore could make a good additional middle name for Luca, and why it could be nice to have a Greek influence somewhere in each name I choose for any other children. I am also open to hearing other name suggestions that could honour my sister in some way.
So… some of the name combinations that I’m considering for my son are:
Remy Lucian Atticus
Remy Lucian Aurelius
Remy Lucian Cassius
Remy Lucian Clement
Remy Lucian Caspar
Remy Lucian Casimir
Remy Aurélien Cassius
Remy Aurelius Clement
Remy Aurelius Maxim
Remy Aurelius Leon
Remy Etienne Casimir
Remy Leon Atticus
I would love to hear thoughts on the above, and welcome further suggestions on first and/or middle names, as well as name combinations.
I am as name-obsessed as everyone else who frequents YCCII, so I’m sure you can understand my desire to find the perfect name for our beautiful baby!!
Thanks so much for your help in advance!
Siobhán, I’m thrilled to welcome your son to the world, and absolutely smitten with your choice of Remy! Even though this is a middle name poll only, we still have much to discuss.
As for the accent in Remy, depending on what country you live in, you may not be able to include it on the birth certificate at all. I would go with your gut on this one, and what seems the most culturally appropriate to where he will grow up.
I’m afraid I won’t be the only one who is genuinely twitchy at the thought of LUCA Cy and Remy LUCIAN together. You said yourself you wanted to name Luca “Lucian”, but got vetoed. You chose Luca for a reason. For me that would mean that the ship had sailed on the name Lucian, which while according to scholars do derive from different sources (Luca being “from Lucania” and Lucian being “of light”, from the Latin lux) are awfully similar. Luca is also sometimes used as a nickname for Lucian. What if by chance, Remy found his name too feminine and wanted to go by a middle name some day? You would have sons Luca and Lucian. It’s much, much too similar. Plus, there’s such a wide variety of amazing names to choose from. If you do opt for this in the middle, note that the French spelling Lucien does have a different pronunciation, though English speakers will likely say them the same.
My condolences on the loss of your sister Mairead. I love that you want to honor her by choosing something she would have loved. We’ve featured several posts here offering a host of names inspired by Ancient Greece.
Remy needs robust, masculine names to balance out its softer feel. For this reason I would personally eliminate Etienne or use it third. Atticus, being a name of the moment, feels like too obvious a choice in this case. Artemis is a girl’s name. She was the goddess of the moon and of hunting, and Apollo’s twin. Apollo could be nice!
I advocate for Remy Aurelius Clement, a heavenly combo.
Raphael would be a nice tribute to your sister as well, with the meaning “God has healed.”
I also favor:
Remy Cassian Aurelius
Rémy Aurélien Cassius
Rémy Cassius Aurélien
Remy Casimir Leon
Remy Ulysses Leon
Remy Raphael Aurélien (love the alliteration here)
Remy Raphael Tobias
Remy Theodore Leon (again, the alliterative repetition in sounds is intentional)
Remy Magnus Casimir
Remy Casimir Hugo
Remy Maxime Theodore
Remy Tobias Hugo
For big brother, the combo Luca Cy Theodore is calling to me. Luca Cy Raphael would be lovely as well. Another thought– if you are changing his name anyway and you truly mourn the loss of Lucian, why not call him Lucian nn Luca as you had originally intended? For balance, his brother could be Remus nn Remy.
Readers, are Luca and Lucian too close for comfort for brothers, even if one is used in the middle?
Have you changed or added to a child’s name years after their birth? What was your experience?
What fabulous three name combos can you come up with for both Remy and Luca?
July 27th, 2011
I posted this on Facebook earlier, but the name is generating so much interest it was time to bring it back to the blog for hot debate.
Selma Blair and Jason Bleick have welcomed their son Arthur Saint Bleick to the world.
You may recall not long ago, I’d wrongly predicted Arthur as Natalie Portman’s choice. Yet I’m thrilled another high profile fashionable mama has taken up the charge. In my opinion Arthur is terribly au courant. But what’s with Saint? Is it an old world throwback, or new
Arthur has climbed to the top 100 in England and as “ahr-TOOR” remains a favorite in Belgium and France. In America, however, he’s been on a downward crawl throughout the 20th and now 21st centuries, resting comfortably now in the upper 300s. What do you think? Will this birth help turn the name around? Is this Euro-chic choice destined to rise in the ranks on our shores with the likes of Henry and Eloise, or do you think this is a flash in the pan?
What say you? Is America ready for Arthur?
July 17th, 2011
Are you watching? The US plays Japan today in the finals of the Women’s World Cup in soccer. My other half is a big fan, and we’ll be glued to the set this afternoon along with our two young daughters.
Could there be a more apt moniker for a goalie than Hope Solo? Yes, my friends, this is actually our goalie’s name. Otherwise, the US and Canada largely failed to surprise me with their given names, but here are some more I found scintillating for our nerdy purposes.
A few quick observations: Brazil and Equatorial Guinea think highly enough of their players so they only go by one name. All the Japanese names end in a vowel. All the Korean players have double names. Colombia loves the letter Y.
Do you examine credits and jerseys like a hawk every chance you get? Anything that intrigues you here?
USA: Hope Solo
Australia: Collette, Servet, Teigen
Brazil: ALINE, FABIANA, FORMIGA, FRANCIELLE, GRAZIELLE, MARTA, MAURINE,
RENATA COSTA, THAIS, THAIS GUEDES
Canada: Carmelina, Marie-Eve
Colombia: Yineth, Yuli, Carmen, Yoreli, Yulieht, Lady, Ingrid, Orianica
England: Fara, Eniola, Dunia, Siobhan
Equatorial Guinea: MIRIAM, BRUNA, DULCIA, VANIA, DIALA, EMILIANA, DORINE, YAO, JUMARIA,
CHINASA, LUCRECIA, MARIA ROSA, FATOUMATA, LAETITIA
France: Celine, Laure, Ophelie, Sandrine, Corine, Sonia, Eugenie, Camille, Elodie, Berangere, Gaetane, Marie-Laure
Germany: Nadine, Bianca, Saskia, Babett, Annike, Simone, Inka, Birgit, Ursula,
Celia, Verena, Ariane, Fatmire, Lena, Almuth
Japan: Nozomi, Yukari, Azusa, Sakim, Kyoko, Mizuho, Kozue, Aya, Nahomi,
Homare, Shinobu, Miho, Rumi, Megumi (x2), Asuna, Yuki, Karina, Mana
Korea: Myong Hui, Hong Yon, Un Byol, Myong Gum, Jong Sun, Sol Hui, Hyon Hi, Su Gyong, Un Sim, Yun Mi, Ye Gyong, Myong Hwa, Un Ju, Chung Sim, Jong Hui, Pok Sim, Un Hyang, Jin Sim, Mi Gyong, Song Hwa, Chol Ok
June 19th, 2011
Namecandy led us to the report in Israel’s leading newspaper that Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied named their baby boy Alef (or is it Aleph?) This is the first letter, “A”, in the Israeli alphabet, and from my understanding, is not traditionally used as a name. The name was first reported on Israeli TV show “Good Evening With Guy Pines” and may have been leaked by one of her cousins who lives there.
It wouldn’t be the first time the rich and famous coined a new name. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I’m still hopeful Natalie will revive an underused classic. Maybe they actually chose an “Alef” name. Her father is Avner, but they wouldn’t have named the child directly after him, for Jewish custom does not allow for naming after living relatives.
Arthur is my guess for Natalie Portman’s baby boy. She is said to have adored her grandfather Arthur’s stories, and it’s so perfect! In 2010, Arthur ranked 20th among top baby names in France. It’s lovely and sophisticated in French, and fashionably stodgy in English.
Perhaps they did name the baby Alef after BOTH her father and grandfather, and who knows who else? Does anyone know his family names? I’m still hopeful the name is actually Arthur, and for now, enjoy the suspense.
Maybe they’ll announce on Father’s Day.
June 15th, 2011
Natalie Portman has finally had her baby (I’m sure the wait seemed even more interminable to her than to us). The wait to hear the name however, may be another eight days. Portman and Millepied are Jewish, and as per tradition, the child is not named until a bris performed after the birth.
For their baby boy, I’m thinking traditional. Natalie is highly educated and has nothing to prove. The French have a tendency to be unadventurous when it comes to names (different is perceived by some as gauche).
Jewish names that work in French and English:
From France’s top of the charts, Natalie might be drawn to:
For a more unexpected choice, YCCII recommends:
Millepied incidentally means “1000 feet”, and could not be more appropriate for this dancer. Perhaps their son will inherit the family trait.
What do you hope Natalie and Benjamin choose, and perhaps more importantly, what do you hope they DON’T choose?
May 27th, 2011
How lovely is this woman?
This is Rebecca Woolfe, who writes the popular blog Girl’s Gone Child. Aside from an egregious propensity for terrible puns, she’s a lovely writer and by all accounts, seems like a really fun person to know.
She has two children, a son Archer and a daughter Fable, and as luck would have it, finds herself currently pregnant with the namer’s dream: twin girls.
I’ve literally lain awake at night trying to “name them” for her. Yes I KNOW naming is a terribly personal thing, of course it is (I don’t actually want to name the twins for you Bec & Hal). But I am extremely excited to see what this couple comes up with. Like us, they take this naming business terribly seriously.
Yesterday she posted her discarded list– the names she’d like to see go out and find happy homes, she’s generous like that.
But when I made the majority of my list below, this is what I had to work with to gauge her style. We share a love of Salome and Mirabelle. I’m still trying to talk her into Zelda.
The trickiest part is trying to figure out if she’ll use another word name.
Echo- My first thought. How poetic is this Ancient Greek beauty? I thought the concept of an “echo” might appeal to Woolfe’s sensibilities, and as it turns out, I was right! But Rebecca’s thought this through, it just doesn’t work for a twin.
Calliope- Muse was a name on the first long list. I prefer a specific muse to just “Muse” itself. Calliope has a galloping sound in the same vein as Tallulah, and is less common than her long time love Chloe. Rebecca’s passion of the written word may find her attracted to this goddess of epic poetry.
Juniper- Has a similar modern, galloping feel to Tallulah and Indigo. The Juniper tree is associated with being able to ward off negative forces and illness. They have Cypress on the most recent list of hand-me-downs, so trees are a possibility (though she has said they will not be named for flowers).
Zephyrine- Zephyr was a possibility for Fable, so if she likes that, why not Frenchify it with this obscure but legitimate gem? Also, they live on the West coast, and Zephyr is the God of the West Winds.
Vesper- Greek for “evening.” Perhaps a possible middle depending on when the babes are born. I like the style and feel of this but don’t love the -er endings with big brother Archer.
Mercy- Rebecca and Hal have overcome some serious strife together. Someone has shown their family mercy. Why not?
Blythe- Blythe might be an easier name to carry, and a more fun sentiment to try to live up to.
Verena, Verity- As the great Keats said (in Ode on a Grecian Urn no less): “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” They want names that match, but aren’t matchy. One of these could pair well next to a name that symbolizes beauty, as though there is a part of each twin in the other.
Zelda- The wife of F. Scott FitzGerald, a brilliant mind with a troubled life. Zingy vintage find.
Clio- The Greek muse of history. I know they’re great admirers and students of history in this family.
Thalia- Muse of comedy and idyllic poetry. Rebecca makes us laugh as often as she makes us cry.
Oona- Irish “lamb.” A super cool name that this super cool fam could certainly pull off. I like the flow with Archer and Fable, but don’t know if it’s common in LA. I’ve met a few of them here.
Melba- Retro vibe that could rock with their decor and meld with the likes of Ava and Harlow. I see an LA baby as giving this name new schwang.
Hedy- Ditto Melba, but more Hollywood.
Dove- Rebecca talks about peace and strength a lot. Dove sounds nice with the sibset as well, but what do you name her sister? Paz? Turns out, they do like Pace.
Snow- The antidote to the hot Cali sun.
Neige- Ditto Snow, the Francophile version.
Capricorn- She’s admitted to being a huge Henry Miller fan. Would this work for a girl born in October? Would this work with Snow or Neige? Not my favorite.
Merritt, Merit- This name boasts the feminine sound of Mary with a familiar surname twist. Spell it like the word to get closer to the admirable meaning and further from the surname trend.
Thisbe- Greek inspiration continues with one of my favorite names for somebody else. The Juliet of mythology. Somebody please use this!
Colette- Colette is another name that I love on somebody else’s child, but for some reason can’t quite bring myself to use. Come to find out Rebecca feels the same way, but only because this would have been Archer’s name had he been a girl.
Hermione- Perhaps too Harry Potter, but has that lilting quality we like from so many on her list. Also, Hermione was a messenger. Hermione and Dove maybe?
Simone- Simone de Beauvoir and Nina Simone. I could see a daughter of Rebecca’s pulling this off, to borrow Rebecca’s word, with aplomb.
The following four were added to the list after I read her most recent castaways:
Pallas- She loves Zenith, and Pallas Athena was at the apex of the Greek gods.
Cerulean- This should be a name, and symbolizes the sky and even at times, the ocean.
Solstice- She likes Season, so why not Solstice? I’ll tell you why not– these babies are due in October but may come early. Equinox just doesn’t have the same ring to it, plus it’s a gym.
Xanthe- She likes Zs and Xs. Xanthe was a near miss for me, plus it’s Greek to boot. I really think they’re going to go Greek with at least one baby. It means blond. Rebecca is really a blond too.
Rebecca Woolfe and hubby Hal, I do apologize if I’ve exposed your secret names. Only time will tell, and (obviously) I can’t wait to see what you choose! Those babies are going to a wonderful loving home.
Would you pair any of these names with one another? What would you name Hal and Rebecca’s twins? What would you name your own?
April 26th, 2010
Many appeal to me (Léonore, Violette), several intrigue (Palmyre, Siloée). Still more may not weather the voyage too well. I’d be afraid that Quitterie would never finish anything, Prune would be born looking like an old woman, that Nine would always feel like a number, not to mention Sixtine. You could always call her Sweet Sixtine I suppose.
They’re all lovely in French though.
Image Above: La Baguette by Nicolas Gouny
April 24th, 2010
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The girls’ birth announcements thus far from Paris’ Le Figaro. Remember. these are the families who still own chateaus and have wine labels bearing the family crest. For side by side comparison as to what the rest of France is naming their daughters, please see this chart.
Many of these names are relatively or very rare and chosen in part for that very reason: Cléophée (Greek), Domitille (Latin), Erminie (Germanic), Hedwige (Germanic). The French have some of the same “old is new” trends that we do here in the United States, which are somewhat divisible along class lines. What is chic to one person may feel utterly pretentious to another.
I fantasize about twins Alice and Adele. Any others you see ready for import?
April 21st, 2010
Here are the most popular 100 names given in France in 2006. If somebody finds an *official* more recent version, please do let us know and I will be quick to post it.
The foreign influences on the list — notably Italian and “American” — represent a France that wants to be part of the greater world. Enzo and Jade are not by tradition French.
One could also make the case that conversely, the privileged few who announce their offspring in Le Figaro et al feel that the France of their youth, and of their forefathers, is under siege and thus they choose monikers representative of their nationality (the more obscure the better, so long as they’re found in the history books).
Which names do you prefer? The popular or the esoteric? Any specifically that you would borrow, or that surprise you?
Do you see anything taking off in the United States?
Le Figaro girls to come.