French First Names

What's in a Name? "Prénoms français"

Portrait of a 8 months old baby boy
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There are hundreds of common French first names. Some of them look just like their English counterparts, others are fairly similar, and still, others may be uniquely French. This list includes more than 200 of the most popular French names, along with their pronunciation and English equivalents. When looking at these names, please keep the following things in mind.

Hyphenated Names

Hyphenated names are very popular in France. They are usually composed of two names from the same gender; such as Jean-Pierre, Paul-Henri, Anne-Laure, or Marie-Élise. Less commonly, they are composed of one boy name and one girl name, with the "correct" gender name first, as in Jean-Marie for a boy or Marie-Jacques for a girl. Note that hyphenated names are considered a single unit—together, they are the person's first name, not a first and a middle. In other words, if you are introduced to Pierre-Louis Lefèvre, be sure to call him Pierre-Louis, not Pierre.

Masculine Names and Suffixes

Many masculine names can be made feminine with the addition of one of these suffixes: ​-e, -ette, or -ine. Note that when the consonant at the end of the masculine name is silent, the addition of the -e causes it to be pronounced for the feminine, such as Arnaud (silent d) and Arnaude (pronounced d). However, when this occurs with a boy name that ends in é or a pronounced consonant such as l, the male/female distinction is apparent only in spelling, not pronunciation. For example, Aimé (masculine) and Aimée (feminine) are pronounced the same way, as are Daniel and Danielle.

The diminutive French suffixes -et and -ot may be added to boys' names, while -ette and -otte can be added to girls' names.

First Names for Boys

Looking for a name to use in French class, or inspiration for naming your baby? This list includes more than 100 common French boys names, along with sound files, English equivalents in italics, and literal meaning in quotes, if any. The (parentheses) indicate any diminutives. When there are are two different spellings on the same line but only one is hyperlinked, the pronunciation for those two spellings is identical. Click on the links to hear how each name is pronounced.

First Names for Girls

Looking for a name to use in French class, or inspiration for naming your baby? This list includes more than 100 common French girls names, along with sound files, English equivalents in italics, and literal meaning in quotes, if any. The (parentheses) indicate any diminutives. When there are are two different spellings on the same line but only one is hyperlinked, the pronunciation for those two spellings is identical.

French Unisex Names

Looking for a gender-neutral name to use in French class, or inspiration for naming your baby? This list includes some common French names that are suitable for both boys and girls, along with sound files and English equivalents in italics. The (f) indicates that there is an equivalent English name only for girls:

Although they're not truly unisex, some names have different spellings for boys and girls which are pronounced identically: