Choosing a name for your child can be a difficult task. That’s why we would like to present you with our choice of common Creole names.
In the article, you will find both female and male names (some are even unisex!). All of them have a unique meaning. Take some time to pick your favourites!
What does Creole mean?
Creole is a term that developed during the Colonial Era. It was used to depict people who were born to colonist parents in the Americas. Afterwards, a more profound meaning was added to it. Nowadays, many Americans from the Southern States of the USA (Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi) and the Caribbean use this name to identify themselves.
A bit of name’s history
Until the 1910s, Creoles used to give their children a Christian Saint’s name as a forename and a second name. The individual was usually known by the latter in his everyday life. The most popular names’ origins are classical Roman, ancient Greek or old German (in the vast majority gallicized). Most of them can be found in two or more versions, according to French or Spanish pronunciation.
Common Creole male names
Let’s take a look at the most beautiful Creole names for boys, their meaning and their origin. Most of them are used all around the world and developed different versions in local languages.
Achille/Achilles – the name of an ancient Greek hero who took part in the Trojan War. It derives from the word achos (“pain”).
Adonis – in ancient Greek, its meaning was “Lord” or “God’s Blessing”. The first Adonis was a human lover of the goddess Aphrodite. The name is often linked to masculine beauty.
Alexandre/Alejandro – a “defender” or a “warrior”. It has either Spanish or Greek origins. There have been many saints bearing this name, e.g., Pope Alexander I, Alexander of Rome, Alexander of Constantinople and Alexander of Jerusalem.
Alphonse/ Alfonso – originated from old German or French and means “noble” or “ready for battle”. Many kings from the Iberian Peninsula were given this name (e.g., Alfonso III the Great, Alfonso IV the Kind and Alfonso VI the Victorious).
Ambroise/Ambrosio – in ancient Greek, this name meant “immortal” or “divine”. Ambrosia was the food of Olympian gods.
Baptiste/Bautista/Batista – the name’s origins could be found in ancient Greek: “to dip”. The most famous bearer was John the Baptist. To commemorate him, some parents decide to give a child a double name: Jean-Baptiste.
Basile/Bazile/Basilio – in ancient Greek, this name meant “lord” or “king”. The most famous Basile was the Byzantine emperor Basil II, the Bulgar Slayer.
Blaise – this French name meant “to list, to stammer”. It was worn by a martyr Saint Blaise of Sebaste, a patron of throat diseases.
Buenaventura – an omen name with Spanish roots which means “good fortune”. It was assumed by an Italian cardinal, theologian and philosopher, Giovanni di Fidanza.
Calixte – the name’s origin is either ancient Greek (“most beautiful and lovely”) or Latin (“chalice”). It was worn by Pope Callixtus I.
Claude/Claudio – it derives from the name of a Roman clan; originally it meant “lame” in Latin. One famous bearer was the conqueror of Great Britain, Emperor Claudius I.
Cyrile/Cyrille/Cyril/Cirilo – this ancient Greek name meant “lordly, masterful”. It was worn by Saint Cyril who (together with Saint Methodius) devised the Glagolitic Alphabet, the oldest-known writing system of Slavic languages.
Delphin – this name commemorates the Greek sea god Delphin. In royal France it was used to refer to the Royal firstborn.
Dominique/Dominico – this French name derived from the Latin expression “of the lord”. Dominique can be used for both boys and girls. Saint Dominic, the founder of the religious order, is a patron saint of the Dominican Republic.
Etienne – the name originated in France from a Greek word, meaning “crown, garland”.
Eustache/Eustaquio – in its original ancient Greek form it meant “fruitful, productive”.
Félicien/Feliciano – the origin of this, quite popular, name can be found in Latin. Its meaning was “happy, lucky, fortunate”. It was worn by several Christian Saints, e.g., Saint Felicianus of Foligno.
Flavien/Flavio – in Latin, this name’s meaning was “yellow-haired”.
Gaspard/Gaspar – this popular French name means “treasurer”, “bringer of treasure” or “holder of the treasury”.
Gustave/Gustavo – its origins can be found in old German language. Its meaning is “staff or weapon of God”.
Henri/Enrique – the name derived from old German word “home-ruler”. It has been used by many kings from all over Europe (England, Spain, France and Poland).
Ignace/Ignacio – this name has a Latin origin. Its meaning was “fiery” or “passionate”.
Ireneo – in ancient Greek, this name meant “peaceful”.
Juste/Justo – “rightful, honest and equal” in Latin.
Lucien/Luciano – in old Greek, it meant “bringer of light”.
Marcel/Marcelo – the Latin version of this name is Marcelus (“belonging to Mars”). Mars was the Roman god of war, thus the meaning of Marcel can also be “fighter” or “little warrior”.
Matias/Matías – the name’s origin can be found in Hebrew, where it meant “a gift of God”. It arrived in France and Spain with the Germanic invaders.
Narcisse/Narciso – it is a Greek flower name meaning “daffodil”. Its mythological bearer was known for his beauty. He rejected all romantic propositions he was given and fell in love with his reflection.
Noël/Noel – this old French name means “born on Christmas”. It is unisex; can be used for both boys and girls.
Octave/Octavio – it derives from the Latin name Octavio. Its literal meaning is “eighth”.
Onésime/Onézime/Onésimo – the ancient Greek word onḗsimos, which gave the origin to this name, meant “the one who brings luck or benefit”.
Pascal/Pascual – the name derives from a Latin word, meaning “related to Easter”. In France, it can be used both as a name and a surname.
Paulin/Paulino – its archetype, the Latin name Paulus, meant “small”.
Raphaël/Rafael – its origin can be found in Hebrew, where it meant “he has healed” or “God heals”.
Rémy/Rémi – the same name is used for boys and girls. It comes from Latin Remigius. Its meaning is “oarsmen” or “remedy”.
Salvatore/Salvador – from Latin “saviour”. It is one of the titles given to Jesus Christ.
Sébastien/Bastien/Sebastiano – Latin word “Sebastianus” was used to depict people from Sebaste, a town in Asia Minor. It is also translated as “venerable” or “revered”.
Théodore – the French version of the Greek name Theodoros (“gift of God”). Thanks to its powerful meaning, it was really popular in Middle Ages.
Thomas/Tomás – its origins can be found in the Hebrew word ta’om (“twin”). Thomas is the name of one of the Twelve Apostles, and that’s why it became popular first in Europe and later in the Americas.
Ulysse/Ulises – the name of a Greek hero and one of the most famous mythological travellers. Its meaning is “wrathful”.
Victor – this powerful name derives from Latin. Its meaning is “winner” or “conqueror”. Although it is not a Biblical name, it has been used by many saints and popes in the begginings of Christianity.
Vincent/Vicente – this Roman name means “to conquer”.
Yves – this French name means “yew wood”. It has been used and popularized by the fashion icon Yves Saint-Laurent.
Zacharie/Zacarias – this primarily gender-neutral name appeared in the Old Testament. Its meaning can be translated as “the lord recalled”.
Common Creole female names
In the previous paragraph, we mentioned some male Creole names, now it is time to take a look at names for girls. Some of them are a feminine form of masculine equivalent, other ones are unique.
Adèle/Adelle/Adela – this name of Germanic origin means “serene” or “noble”.
Ambroisine/Ambrosia – the female version of Ambroise (Ambrosio). It derives from an ancient Greek word used to name the drink of immortals.
Aurélie/Orélie/Aurelia – “the golden one” in Latin. It is the feminine form of Aurelio (Aurelius). In ancient Rome, it has been used as a surname.
Bathilde/Batilda – a Germanic name which means “female fighter” or “battle”. Its famous bearer was a 7-th century English saint who, after being sold as a slave, eventually became a queen of the Franks.
Bernadette/Bernarda – this name has both German and French origins. It is a female version of Bernard (“brave bear”).
Camille/Camila – in ancient Rome camillus was a name of a position, and it meant “religious attendant” or “priest’s helper”.
Cécile/Cecilia – it derives from a Latin word, which meaning was “blind”. It has been worn by many French saints.
Denise/Dionisia – the origin of the name can be found in ancient Greek, where it meant “to be devoted to Dionysus” (the god of wine, ecstasy and vegetation).
Dorothée/Dorotea – it originates from dōrothéa, old Greek for “a gift of God”. It has been worn by two martyrs: Dorothea of Alexandria and Dorothea of Caesarea.
Émma – the name’s roots can be found in old German. Its meaning is “universal” or “whole”. It is sometimes used as a diminutive of Amelia or Emmeline.
Eunice – from a Greek word, meaning “good victory” or “great triumph”. The name is not extremely popular in the world; most Eunices can be found in the Southeastern United States and Nigeria.
Félicité/Felicitas – this name of Latin origin has a charming meaning: “lucky, fortunate, happy”.
Fleur/Flora – it derives from Latin florus. Its meaning is “flower”. It has also been a name of an ancient fertility and spring goddess.
Gabrielle/Gabriela – roots of its masculine version can be found in Hebrew. Its meaning is “God is my strength”.
Gertrude/Gertrudis – in old Germanic languages, this name meant “strong” or “spear”.
Hélène/Héleine/Elena – from the ancient Greek name Ἑλένη. Its meaning can be translated as “bright, shining one”. The most famous Helene has been the reason for the Trojan War.
Hyacinthe/Hiacinthe/Jacinta – a flower name with Greek origins. It is occasionally translated as “the colour purple”.
Irène/Irene – the first Eirene in Greek mythology was a goddess of peace. It has also been the name of several saints and Irene of Athens (an 8th-century Byzantine empress).
Isaure/Izora – this name in old Greek meant “gentle breeze”.
Jacqueline – the feminine form of Jacques, which derives from a Hebrew name, Jacob. Its meaning can be translated as “supplanter”.
Joséphine/Josefina – its masculine form is Joseph, from Hebrew Yosef (“Jehovah shall grow”).
Lisette/Lizette/Lisa – the name’s roots can be found in the Bible. In Hebrew, it meant “pledged to God” or “God is my oath”. It has been really popular in the USA during the 90s.
Lucrèce/Lucretia – this name derives from Roman surname Lucretius. It means “profit”.
Madeleine/Madelaine/Magdalena – it is the second name of one of the closest women to Jesus Christ, Maria Magdalena. It translates as “from the city of Magdala”.
Monique/Mónica – this name has Greek origins. There is a debate about its original meaning. Some ideas are: “advisor”, “warm”, “unique” or “hermit”.
Nathalie/Natalia – the roots of this name can be traced back to ancient Rome and the Latin expression natale domini (“birth of the Lord”).
Olympie/Olympia – the name’s origins can be found in Greek mythology. Its meaning is “from Mount Olympus” (the holy mountain, home of the gods).
Pauline/Paulina – it is considered a female version of Paulinus (Paulus), so it shares its meaning: “small”. It was one of the most popular baby names in the 20th century in France.
Prudence/Prudencia – a medieval name with Latin origins. Its translation is “good judgment” or “caution”. The most common diminutives are Pru or Prue.
Régine/Regina – in Latin, its meaning is “queen”.
Rosalie/Rosalia – it is one of the names derived from Latin rosa (“rose”).
Séraphine/Serafina – this name has been originally used in the Bible to describe winged angels. It is of Hebrew origin and can be translated as “burning ones”.
Susette/Suzette – its origins can be traced back to Hebrew and Egyptian. It is a flower name, meaning “lily”.
Thérèse/Teresa – it comes from the Greek theros (“summer” or “harvest”). As a name, it was first used in the Iberian Peninsula.
Valérie/Valeria – the name derived from Latin valere. Its meaning is “to be strong”.
Yvonne/Ivana – this name is of French origin. It is a feminine form of Yves. Its meaning is “yew wood”.
Which name do you like?
The above names are only a sample of the variety you can find in New Orleans or other cities in the region. Choosing a Creole name for your child is a beautiful way of honouring the past and your ancestors. However, always take into consideration its meaning, origins and connotations it may evoke.
French, English and Spanish languages are present in Creole culture. Although they share few similarities, it is difficult to understand texts written in them if you have never learned their vocabulary and grammar. Do you have any documents that need translating? Don’t hesitate to contact us!