Baby names can be a big source of distress for a lot of expecting parents. There are endless options out there and how does anyone know if they have the best name for their child. After all, it is their child who is going to have to grow up and live with the name that was chosen for them. A name that is usually chosen before new parents even meet their babies.
Some like to play it safe and go with common and traditional names; names that have been around for a long time; names that have stood the test of time. The only downside is a lot of parents feel these names don’t have much flair to them, that they don’t have enough personality. We all want our children to stand out in a crowd, and the quickest and easiest way to do that is to choose the perfect name for them. Common names don’t always do that. There is one clear and simple solution to this problem; a solution that will make everyone happy.
Tweaking the names even just a tad can make a world of a difference; when we look at common names in other countries and languages, they become unique and exotic. They become some of the most romantic sounding names in the world. We have decided to do that with French; we've taken 25 of the most common names in the world and provided parents with the French alternative.
25 Andrew – André
We are going to start with the names for the little gentlemen in our lives. Andrew is one of the most common names in the world, one that hundreds of parents give their little boy. The French variation of this name as André. It is pronounced ON-DRA, adding elegance and charm.
The name means “man.” A very simple a straightforward meaning. According to Nameberry.com, the name was ranked at #264 in popularity in 2017. It also experienced a slight drop in popularity this week.
24 Anthony – Antoine
Anthony is another popular name for little boys, probably because it shares the name with one of the biggest acting legends out there, Anthony Hopkins. If parents don’t like how common this name is, they can always choose the French variation which is Antoine.
The name means “priceless one.” Nothing is more priceless to us than our children. In 2017, the name was not ranked when it came to popularity, meaning it was not within the top 1000 boy names. It also appears to be dropping even further down the list.
23 Bernard – Benoit
Sometimes, looking at other languages can transform a ‘boring’ name to something that is much more colorful. Bernard has never been considered an exciting name, but its French partner, Benoit, is much more thrilling.
The name means “blessed.” It also still has the common nickname ‘Ben’ in there for parents who want to shorten the name. The name was not ranked when it comes to popularity in 2017, but it has risen 38% this week alone so it is slowly making its way to the top.
22 Francis – François
Francis is not a name you hear too often, probably because it has been overused and is now sitting in early retirement. We can help bring it back to life by using the French variation, François. François is probably one of the most French-sounding names on our list and is sure to make your little one seems very sophisticated.
The name means “free man.” In 2017, the name François was not ranked when it came to popularity. Its English counterpart was ranked in at #461 when it comes to popularity.
21 Henry – Henri
These two names seem very similar, but they could not be more different. The difference lays in the pronunciation. Henry is pronounced HEN-REE and Henri is pronounced ON-REE, making it sound very traveled.
The name Henri may be the French version of the name Henry, but if we go back further the name Henry is German in origin. The name means “estate ruler.” Henry was ranked in at #18 on the popularity charts, showing just how common it is. Henri is not ranked at all, so it is the much more unique choice.
20 John – Jean
When we take John, which is one of the most common names for boys and turn it into the French variation we get Jean. Now, it is not pronounced as you would a pair of pants or a name for a sister. It is pronounced Zhahn. Very different.
The name means “God is gracious.” The name is not ranked at all when it comes to popularity, and it dropped another 50% this week, so it is nowhere near being a common name. Parents can rest easy that their child will stand out in the classroom.
19 James – Jacques
James is another one of the most common names for little boys, and chances are there will be more than one James in the classroom; this won’t do for a lot of parents out there, so try the French variation; Jacques.
The name means “supplanter.” Unlike James, this name is nowhere near the top of the popularity list as it is not ranked at all. It also dropped another 22% this week alone. The only problem with a lot of these names is that you may have to constantly remind people how to pronounce them.
18 Matthew – Matthieu
The best part of picking a baby name is getting to be creative, and we can be creative with these names. If you like the name Matthew but want to just change the spelling, try Matthieu. It is a great way to change up the name without getting too wild.
The name goes all the way back to having a Hebrew origin. It means “gift of God.” In 2017, the name Matthew was ranked in at #16, but Matthieu is not ranked at all, making your little guy sure to stand out.
17 Nicholas – Noël
It is the perfect season for this name, and if your little guy is due in December than this may be the best option for you. The name Nicholas is very common, and some may even say it is too common, so why not try the French version?
The French version of the name is Noël. It makes sense when we think of St. Nicholas and his involvement in Christmas. The name means “Christmas.” In 2017, the name was ranked in at #386 in popularity, so it is one of the more popular French names.
16 Patrick – Patrice
Patrick is a very common name in Ireland, and in other parts of the world. It does not get as much popularity as other boy names, but it is still one you may hear every now and then. The French variation of this classic name is Patrice. Patrice can also be used for a little gal or guy.
The name means “noble.” Which is a trait many of us want in our own children? When it comes to popularity, Patrice is nowhere to be found. However, it has had quite the jump this week. It jumped 198% this week alone in popularity.
15 Peter – Pierre
It seems like as long as women have had little boys, the name Peter has been around. It is a classic name that does not have much creativity to it. If parents want to add some flair to this name, they should really opt for the French variation, which is Pierre.
Pierre has an air of royalty to and is bound to be the talk of the playground. The name means “rock.” The name Peter goes as far back as to be Greek in origin. Pierre is not ranked on the popularity list and it dropped another 15% this week alone.
14 Stephen – Stéphane
It doesn’t matter if you spell it Stephen or Steven, or even go with the short-form Steve, this name is one of the blandest names out there. Why not spice it up a bit and go with the French version, Stéphane. This name is pronounced slightly different. Instead of being STEE-ven, it is STAPH-on.
When you see the little accent above the ‘e’ it means that it is to be pronounced as an ‘a’ sound. The name means “garland, crown.” The name Stephen was ranked at #271 in popularity, but Stéphane is nowhere to be found.
13 Timothy – Timothée
Timothy is one of the cutest names out there for little boys, and it has so many different ways of saying it. It can be shortened to Tim or Timmy, or you can use the French version, Timothée. Again, this name is pronounced Timo-THAY.
The name goes as far back as being Greek in origin. It means “honoring God.” When we look at the name Timothy, it is ranked at #164 in popularity. The French version is not listed anywhere for popularity, so it is truly one-of-a-kind.
12 Amy – Aimée
We have now moved on to the names for all the little babies in pink that are on the way. Amy is already a name of French origin, but that is not how the name is pronounced in Paris. The name is pronounced Aimée. Meaning that it has an ‘a’ sound at the end of it.
The name means “beloved.” Which is definitely something our daughters are to us. In 2017, the name when used as Amy was ranked in at #174 so it is quite popular. However, the French version is still very uncommon on this side of the ocean.
11 Bridget – Brigitte
Bridget is already such a sweet name for a little lady, but the French version may be the sweetest name of all. The French variation of Bridget is Brigitte. It is pronounced BRIG-eat. The name can be traced all the way back to having origins in Gaelic.
The name means “strength or exalted one.” In 2017, the name Bridget was ranked in at #674 when it comes to popularity. Its French counterpart is not showing up, making your little one stands out in a very good way.
10 Cecilia – Céline
I am a true Canadian at heart, so this one has a special place inside of me. Céline Dion is a Canadian treasure, an award-winning singer full of class. Her name, Céline, is the French version of the name Cecilia as well as Celeste.
The name means “heavenly.” This holds true for Mrs. Dion; whose voice is something right out of the sky above. In 2017, this name was ranked in at #536 when it comes to popularity, but it did rise 2% this week alone. It is slowly rising to the top of the list.
9 Christine – Christelle
There is never such a thing as a bad name, everyone has different tastes. However, the name Christine could be considered one of the more ‘boring’ names on our list. There isn’t much in this name that excited people. It is about time we started using the French version, Christelle.
Christelle is not a very popular name at all, it is not on the charts and it dropped 86% further this week alone. The name means “anointed.” It's common version Christine, is hitting the ranks at #786.
8 Claudia – Claudine
Claudine is an interesting name, because it has an English version for both the female and male name. Its female English counterpart is Claudia, and the male counterpart is Claude. Either way, it is a name that is sure to start some conversation on the playground.
The name means “lame; enclosure.” The name Claudia is on the popularity charts, sitting at #829 in 2017. The name Claudine is not on the list at all, so it is not a name you will hear very often.
7 Joan – Jeanne
Joan is what a lot of people call a ‘grandmother name’ because it is often heard among the older generation. It is not being used by the younger generation anymore, but maybe the French version will catch on a little better. It is Jeanne.
The name means “God is gracious.” In 2017, the name was not ranked on the popularity charts, and it is even falling further behind. This week alone the name has fallen 13% lower on the charts. It is time to bring this name up a few notches.
6 Margaret – Marguerite
Margaret is a name that is making a comeback right now, more and more people are realizing how wonderful this name is. If that makes you a little worried as a parent, worried your daughter may end up with one of the most popular names, try the French version; Marguerite.
The name means “pearl; daisy.” In 2017, the name was not ranked when it comes to popularity. A bonus point is it may remind people of being on a vacation, thanks to the way this name sounds.
5 Sophia – Sophie
Sophia is probably the most popular name in the world right now for all the little ones in pink. It seems like everyone is naming their child this, and we can’t blame them the name is beautiful. The French version of the name Sophia is simply Sophie.
The only problem is, Sophie is very popular as well. It is sitting at #102 on the popularity charts. It may not be as popular as Sophia, but it is getting closer. The name means “wisdom.” So, time to start saving or college.
4 Victoria – Victoire
Royal names are all the rage right now, and Victoria is one of the top names for all the parents out there who are wishing to borrow names from the royal family. It has an elegant sound to it that can not be denied. The French version of this name is Victoire, and it is probably not pronounced the way you think it is.
The name is pronounced vic-TWA, very French sounding. The name means “victory.” There should be nothing in this world that will stop our daughters from winning.
3 Olivia – Olivie
Olivia is another one of the more popular names on our list, in 2017 the name came in at #2 on the list. This sweet name is already beautiful, but if it is too common for mom and dad, they may want to use the French alternative; Olivie.
The name means “olive tree.” Nature is beautiful, and any name that can directly lead back to mother earth is bound to be a winner. The name is not hard to pronounce, it is simply O-LIV-E, easy for your child and friends to say.
2 Susan – Susanne
Susan is a fine name, but there is not much there that omits excitement in people’s hearts when they hear it. If parent’s wanting to charm other people than they should definitely go with the French version, Susanne.
Pronounced SUE-ZANNE, this name is bound to have everyone’s heart skip a beat. The name means “lily.” While the name Susan may be ranking in at #963, Susanne is nowhere to be found on the popularity list. Their teacher will definitely be double-checking to make sure her role call list is correct when she stumbles upon this name.
1 Veronica – Véronique
Veronica has been a popular name for a while now, and some people may be getting bored with it and are looking for a catchier alternative. This is when we should be using the French version of the name, Véronique.
The name means “she who brings victory; true image.” The name Veronica was ranked in at #378 in 2017, but Véronique is not on the list, and is nowhere near the top spot. Meaning parents have a lot of time to jump on this bandwagon before it is too common to use.
References: Nameberry.com, confetti.co.uk