12 European Baby Names About to Blow Up in the U.S.
When you discover you’re pregnant for the first time, it’s an overwhelming combination of pure bliss fused with anxiety, fear, and excitement all at once—an overwhelming mix of emotions that words fail to describe. Aside from preparing yourself (and the family home) for this magical new arrival, you have to choose a name. For some parents, this is an easy decision: Either they’ve had it picked out their whole life or they want to honor a family elder by carrying his or her name through the generations. For many others, it’s a nine-month search through books, websites, family members, friends, countries, and even popular culture to find “the one” that will define their bundle of joy for the rest of their lives. It’s a big decision. Inspired by our friends at PureWow, we looked abroad for some interesting European names we think will be big in the U.S. Scroll down to see our picks from Italy, France, Spain, and more.
Meaning: If you already love the names Lily and Louise, you’ll adore Lilou, a cute combination of the two. We also love that this name can’t be shortened into anything else. So simple and pretty, just like the French.
Meaning: The name translates to “baptist” in French (the "p" should be silent when pronouncing it) but it originally derived from the Greek name “bapto,” meaning “to dip.” We think this name will be soon popular here, thanks to French male model (and Karl Lagerfeld muse) Baptiste Giabiconi. The handsome face of Chanel, Fendi, and Karl Lagerfeld, Giabiconi is one of the most sought-after male models—who wouldn’t want to name their son after that kind of legacy? Besides, it just sounds so great, doesn’t it?
Meaning: We are big fans of popular Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, but aside from her great fashion sense, she also has a powerful name. Chiara means “light” in Italian. This is a perfect representation of the shining light your baby girl will be in your lives and for many others throughout her own.
Meaning: This gorgeous boy's name has a creative legacy in Italian history. The name was borne by Giotto di Bondone an Italian painter and architect from Florence between 1267-1337 who was "the most sovereign master of painting in his time." And the name continues its artistic legacy today on the streets of Milan with Giotto Calendoli. Along with his super stylish girlfriend, Patricia Manfield, the well-clothed couple are carving a name for themselves as global street style stars. What a birthright!
Meaning: While the translation “from Troy” (the Greek city) is straightforward, the name Ilona is anything but. According to Belly Ballot, it was probably a Hungarian form of "Helen" which originates in Greek language and means "torch of light". In Greek mythology, Helen is a famous figure, known as Helen of Troy. Throughout centuries, Helen has been one of the most popular feminine given names. It sounds so pretty when it rolls off your tongue and looks beautiful when written, too. It’s also the name of popular New York–based Australian creative Ilona Hamer, former stylist of Vogue Australia. This name is seriously chic and pretty.
Meaning: With its powerful meaning (“defender of the people”), Xander is bound to be a popular name. And not just that—it sounds great when you say it, and there aren’t many cool names that start with the letter X. So as far as we’re concerned, X really does mark the spot, and this Greek name is where it’s at.
Meaning: The English translation of this beautiful name is “emerald” in Spanish and Portuguese. We have a hunch this name is about to blow up in the U.S., now that Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling have named their little girl Esmeralda. Turns out the doting parents are big fans of the The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, in which Esmeralda is the Gypsy girl loved by Quasimodo. It’s also beautiful when shortened to Esme.
Meaning: According to Baby Names, Luis means "famous warrior" making it a solid name for your new son. The spelling is a nice variation of the more commonly known, Louis. It was also the name of famous Spanish-Mexican filmmaker, Luis Buñuel who is known as "the father of cinematic surrealism" and "one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium."
Meaning: The name translates to “bitter” according to Name Berry, but the sound is anything but. Virtually unknown in English-speaking lands, this sweet German name is a variation of Mary or Mariah. Its pronunciation is varied, but we think the U.S. version will sound like “mah-reek” which sounds super sweet, just like your little angel will be.
Meaning: This ancient Germanic name means “bold voyager” (“fardi” meaning journey and “nanthi” meaning venture). It has a profound legacy, too, with three Roman emperors and several Spanish and Italian kings bearing this name. Now that’s a great, proud name for your son to bear.
Meaning: The Polish variation of Michaela is pronounced “Me-HA-LEE-na” and translates to “no one compares to the Lord.” It’s the perfect name for your baby girl.
Meaning: In Polish, Eryk means “lovable,” which is exactly what your baby boy will be. According to SheKnows, it’s a Norse baby name and translates to “eternal ruler.” A name that represents the perfect balance of your son’s character: strong and adorable.