Names à la mode: Interesting Picks from France's Most Popular Names, 2015 (Boys)

art by frédéric bazille
2. Jules - The French are so stylish (especially when it comes to names!) and I was so happy to see something like Jules at number two. Jules is the French form of Julius, which is thought to mean "downy-bearded", and was a Roman family name. It is pronounced "ZHUYL"

95. Marceau - Known to me, and probably to most of the English-speaking world, as the surname of French actress and Bond girl/villainess Sophie Marceau, I was surprised to see this name being used as a first. It is apparently a medieval French form of Marcel. Marcel comes from Marcellus, a Roman family name which started out as a diminutive of Marcus.

113. Lilian - I never knew that Lilian was used as masculine name in France! Count me as pleasantly surprised.

133. Corentin - This gorgeous name possibly means "hurricane" in Breton, and is the name of a 5th-century Saint.

177. Sofiane - A Maghrebi transcript of Sufyan, which could have a meaning relating to something like "wool", "purity", or "comes with a sword", just to name a few.

207. Lino - A Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician form of Linus.

230. Gustave - Gustav is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I'm so happy to see a form of it being used. It means "staff of the Goths". The Goths were a Eastern Germanic people who played an important part in the building of medieval Europe - and the destruction of the Roman Empire.

241. Arsène - Another guilty pleasure of mine, the most famous bearer of this name is the fictional gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, who was first introduced through short stories published in a magazine in France in 1905, and went on to star in several novellas, books, films and even some video games. Arsène is the French form of the Greek Arsenios, meaning "virile".

286. Elouan - A Breton name meaning "light" and the name of a 6th-century Saint, also known as Elwen.

317. Célian - This name comes from a variant spelling of Caelianus, a Roman cognomen which came from Caelius which in turn came from the Latin caelum, "heaven".

350. Vadim - Russian Vadim's meaning is unknown, though it is used as their form of Bademus, a Latinized Persian name of a Saint. It's true source is possibly the Slavic Vadimir, which is thought to come from vaditi - "to accuse"- and miru - "peace, world".

432. Jibril - Arabic form of Gabriel - "God is my strong man".


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