Boys, Girls

12 European Baby Names About to Blow Up in the U.S.

When you’re pregnant for the first time, you feel an overwhelming combination of pure bliss fused with simultaneous anxiety, fear, and excitement—an overwhelming mix of emotions words cannot describe. Aside from preparing yourself (and your home) for this magical new arrival, you also have to choose a name. For some parents, this is an easy decision: They’ve either had it picked out their whole life or they want to honor a family member.

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 baby names we think will soon be big in the U.S. Since we’ve already uncovered some of our favorite French baby names (including under-the-radar ones), here are a few more picks from Italy, Poland, 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 French baby name can’t be shortened into anything else. So classic 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 among the most sought-after male models.

Meaning: We’re 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 will be in your lives and for many others throughout her own.

Meaning: This gorgeous 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 and 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. He and his girlfriend, Patricia Manfield, are carving a name for themselves as global street style stars.


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Meaning: According to SheKnows, Èlena translates to “shining light” or “the bright one,” which is exactly what your child will be in your life. Take a page from the Greeks and give your newborn this European baby name.

Meaning: With its powerful meaning (“defender or helper of mankind”), this Greek baby name will be a strong and bold choice. According to SheKnows, people with this name “are excited by change, adventure, and excitement.”

Meaning: The English translation of this beautiful name is “emerald” in both Spanish and Portuguese. We have a hunch this name will blow up in the U.S. since Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling named their little girl Esmeralda. Turns out the doting parents are big fans of by Victor Hugo, in which Esmeralda is the Gypsy girl loved by Quasimodo.

Meaning: According to Baby Names, Luis means “famous warrior,” making it a solid European baby name for your newborn. The spelling is a variation of Louis, and it was the name of famous Spanish 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.”


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Meaning: The name translates to “bitter,” according to Name Berry, but the sound of it is anything but. Virtually unknown in English-speaking lands, this sweet German baby name is a variation of Mary or Mariah. Its pronunciation is varied, but we think the U.S. version will be read “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 name for your child to bear.

Meaning: In Polish, Marek means “warlike,” so this is a strong choice for any child. According to SheKnows, people with this name tend to be “creative and excellent at expressing themselves. They are drawn to the arts and often enjoy life immensely.”

This story was originally published on October 12, 2015, and has since been updated.


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