Monday, November 30, 2015

Top Baby Names in Brazil

Olá, leitores!

For the next installment in my Global Names series, we'll be headed to lovely Brazil!

Name trends in Portugal show compound names are declining, but I'll focus on one popular set in my girls' name list. The US doesn't include compound names in trends, but I think that data could be very helpful!

Again, I'll include English equivalents to the right. 

Male names

Davi - David
Take away the last letter of an English classic, and what appears but a name with its own personality! Pronounced "Dah-vee", it could be an excellent cousin of Levi or Ravi, with a beautiful meaning to match - "beloved". There are also quite a few Brazilian soccer stars with the name! It's currently at #2 in Brazil, and ranks at #58 in Portugal. 

Bernardo - Bernard
Bernardo dropped off the US top 1000 in 2007, so it's not too dated or unheard of. But it does update the fussy Bernard - the "o" adds a more cross-cultural element. One famous Bernardo is the brother of Maria in West Side Story, and cute nickname Bernie is adorably retro (and culturally relevant). It means "strong as a bear". 

Matheus - Matthew
English variation Matthew has been in the top 20 since 1971 - let's see if we can't find some more unique alternatives! Matheus means "gift of God" and is pronounced "Mah-TAY-oos". It's never ranked on the US top 1000, but there were 50 Matheus' born in the US last year. Other great variants include Matthias, Mateo, and Mathieu

Heitor - Hector
Currently at #10 in Brazil, Heitor is a nice Latin alternative to Hunter or Hayden. It means "to hold", and has a few historical precedents - Hector, in legend, was a Trojan warrior who fought the Greeks. One drawback - it's pronounced "Ay-TOR", but it might elicit a "hater" sound. 

Enzo - various
It's a nickname-name, the short form of others like Vincenzo and Lorenzo. On it's own, I like the tone - a bit like Ezra. It also has a stylish "o" ending, and is easy for Americans to pronounce. It's the most popular name on the boys' list: #369 in the US, #11 in Brazil, and #3 in France. 

Female names

One of the feminine forms of Emmanuel, Manuela left the US top 1000 in 1953. But its pretty sound and religious meaning - "God is with us" - could bring it right back up the list. There's been more than a few Manuela's on TV and in the movies, and the international aspect is a major plus. Short form Nelia is also a cool option. 

Maria Eduarda - Mary Edward
A compound name still high on the list in Brazil - currently at #10 - I'm drawn to it based on current trends in the US. While the SSA doesn't count second names in compound names as part of the first, the whole sound fits in with the long name trend - Lilianna, Evangelina, Isabella. And Eduarda is a very unique choice in the US that adds an element of maturity to the whole name. 

Beatriz - Beatrice
As Beatrice begins to climb the list in the US - #601 in 2014 - why not try some international variations? It means "blessed" and has the cute Bea nickname - the "z" at the end adds some extra pizazz. Other nice choices include Beate or Beatrisa

Heloísa - Eloise
With Eloise at #300 and Helena at #502, Heloísa would fit in perfectly. It offers dozens of nickname options - Lou, Louise, Lois, Lisa, Isa - and is feminine and classic without being old-fashioned. Heloise might not have the same effect, depending on your age, but it's also a nice option. 

I've reviewed Isadora before, and I can't get enough of this name - especially next to overdone Isabella. Meaning "gift of Isis", Isadora has a lovely melodic sound and a few cute nicknames. It's easy to pronounce, and is recognizable without being too popular - need I go on?

What are your favorites?

Source: List of most popular given names

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