Today, it’s the turn of the boys.
Arda. Turkish boy’s name meaning “stake” and “chisel,” which has started to take off in the last couple of years. A good example of how the modern French collect names from everywhere.
Côme. French form of Cosmo.
Joris. Dutch form of George.
Kenzo. Anywhere but France, this is a Japanese boy’s name, with numerous meanings depending on the kanji used to write it. In the case of Takada Kenzo, the owner of the Kenzo brand, it combines “wise” and “three.” Its use in France, however, is perhaps inspired by the feminine Kenza, an Arabic girl’s name meaning “treasure,” which is also popular.
Keziah. Names change gender in France too, but why the biblical Keziah “cassia” has gone baby-blue in France is definitely one to pass a few idle hours over.
Lilian. No, you didn’t read it wrong. It really is Lilian. Keziah isn’t the only name which is feminine in the English-speaking world and male in the French, but even my laissez-faire jaw hit the floor when I saw this. It first appeared in the 1920s, growing in popularity since the 60s. Even French websites say it was probably coined as a “masculine” form of Lily.
Others include Alix, Andrea (Italian form of Andrew), Ange (French for “angel”), Eden, Jessy, Joan (Catalan form of John), Lois (Galician form of Louis), Mae and Marley. They almost deserve a post all of their own…
Loan. A shorter form of Elouan. Loann and Lohan are variants.
Lubin. The name of an obsucre sixth-century French saint. The Latin form of his name is Leobinus, and is probably from the Old Germanic name Leobwin, cognate of the Old English Leofwine “dear friend.”
Merlin. Officially more popular in France than anywhere else, where it ranked 427th in 2009. In the UK, it was 1911th in 2010, and in the US, I don’t know exactly, but I do know there were only 22 of them.
Nolan. The Irish surname, weirdly also spelled Nolhan and Nohlan in France, as well as Nolann. Other Irish names also in vogue in France include Aidan, Donovan, Kevin, Kylian, Liam/Lyam, Logan, Malone, Oscar, Ronan, Ryan and Sullivan.
As may be becoming apparent, the ending -an is the must-have ending for French baby boys these days; with the traditional -en is distinctly languishing. Others, of various sources, often foreign, include Adrian, Alan/Allan, Alban, Ayman/Aymane, Brayan, Bryan, Christian, Dan, Dorian, Dylan, Elouan/Eloan, Erwan/Erwann, Esteban, Ethan/Etan, Evan/Evann, Ewan, Florian, Gaétan, Ilan/Ilann/Ylan/Ylann, Iban, Ilhan, Ilian/Ilyan, Imran/Imrane, Ivan/Yvann, Johan/Johann/Yohan/Yohann, Jonathan, Jordan, Julian, Kenan, Kylian, LILIAN, LOAN, Lohan, Maelan, Marouane/Marwan/Marwane, Milan/Mylan, Morgan, Nathan/Natan, Noan/Nohan, Rayan, Roman, Sean, Sevan, Sofian/Sofiane, Soan/Soane/Sohan, Souleymane, Stan, Stéphane, SWAN, Titouan, Tristan, Yann, Yoan/Yoann.
Octave. Actually, the French form of Octavius, rather than the musical term. Popular a hundred years ago, and on the rise once more.
Swan. Believe it or not, more than one French baby name website lists the origin of Swan as the English “swan” — i.e. the beautiful but somewhat unfriendly large bird. Since its use is modern, this really might be the truth of it, but the variant Swann, hints at the English surname, which actually comes mostly from the same source as the modern Scandinavian Sven “boy.”
Timeo. Seems to be treated as an adoption of the Greek for “I honor God.” , Timeô is a variant of the more usual timaô “I honor”; while in Latin, timeo means “I fear.” Very, very au courant, only registering on the French radar since the millennium. Var: Tymeo.
Tom. English Tom ranked 12th in France in 2009 — five places above multi-lingual Thomas. The French fascination with names popular in the English-speaking world applies to boys’ names as well as girls. Others in the charts include: Aaron/Aron, Alex, Andy, Angel, Anthony/Antony, Aymeric, Brandon, Calvin/Kalvin, Cameron, Cedric, Charlie/Charly, Chris, Christopher, Colin, Dany, Eddy, Edgar, Elijah, Eliot/Eliott/Elliot, Ewen, Gregory, Hayden, Hugo, James, Jason, Jeremy, Jimmy, Kenny, Lenny/Leny, Lucas, Marcus, Marlon, Matt, Matthew, Melvin/Melvyn, Michael, Nelson, Neo, Noah, Owen, Rudy, Sam, Sacha/Sasha, Steven, Teddy, Tim, Tony, Warren, William, Wesley, Zachary. Like the Girls, there are also French forms of “English” names, such as Léo and Théo.