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International versions of popular baby names

Tired of the same top ten? Find out what they are calling Sophia and Jacob around the world.

If names like Matthew and Elizabeth tickle your fancy but you fear your child’s last initial will be forever tacked to his name, take a peek across the pond. Many of the highest-ranking names in the U.S. enjoy similar appeal on a global scale. We rounded up some of our favorite international variations of popular names. While a few might sound pretentious to American ears, many have already crept into the top 1,000. Check out what we found.


Did you know this number three name shares its roots with James?

Diego: Spanish
Giacomo: Italian
Hamish: Scots Gaelic
Iago: Portuguese
Jacques: French
Seamus: Irish


Still in the top five, this name is now outranked by its Irish Gaelic diminutive.

Guillaume: French
Guillermo: Spanish
Liam: Irish Gaelic
Viliam: Slovak
Wilhelm: German, Polish and Swedish


Michael has remained in the top ten since the 1940s. Only its Spanish version has ever ranked in the U.S.

Michel: French
Miguel: Spanish
Mikael: Swedish
Mikhail: Russian


We love that most international variants of Alexander still let you call him Al.

Alastair: Scots Gaelic
Alejandro: Spanish
Alessandro: Italian
Alexandre: French
Alika: Hawaiian
Leander: Albanian
Sikadara: Punjabi


Over the last twenty years, Elijah has made a steady climb toward the top ten. We think some of its other variations deserve a shot.

Elias: Spanish
Elie: French
Elijas: Finnish
Ilya: Russian


This biblical name has dropped a bit in the last few years, but remains solidly top 20. Many of its variants read more like alternate spellings.

Mateo: Spanish
Mathew: Welsh
Mathieu: French
Matthias: Dutch and German
Matteo: Italian
Matyo: Hungarian
Motka: Russian


Combined with its alternate spelling Sofia (ranked thirteenth), more than 30,000 sets of parents chose this classic name for their baby girls last year.

Fia: Swedish
Safiye: Turkish
Sofia: German, Italian and Spanish
Sonja: Norwegian
Sophronia: Greek
Zosia: Polish


A shining example of how international variants can become U.S. hits, Isabella began as an Italian version of Isabel.

Bela: Russian
Isa: German
Isobel: Scots Gaelic
Izbel: Russian
Ysabel: Spanish


Since the names share roots, you can also use any of these variations for Emma, currently the second most popular baby girl name in the U.S.

Aimil: Gaelic
Amelia: Spanish
Amma: German
Emeline: French
Emiliana: Italian


Elizabeth loses none of its beauty and elegance when translated to other languages. Also use these as alternatives to Ella.

Elisa: Turkish
Elisabeth: French
Elisabetta: Italian
Elsapet: Armenian
Elsbeth: German


Many of these names already hold prominent spots on the U.S. charts.

Natalia: Italian and Spanish
Natasha: Russian
Nathalie: French
Noelle: French


Common for both first and middle names, try out another country’s take on Grace to give an overused name some added flair.

Arete: Greek
Graciela: Spanish
Gracja: Polish
Graziella: Italian
Kalake: Hawaiian

More baby name ideas

Classic baby names with a modern twist
Unusual Irish baby names
Unique spellings for common baby names

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