20 Amazing International Baby Names

There are very few truly “American” baby names out there—unless you count some of those freshly invented names like Nevaeh. My daughters’ names, Margaret and Katharine, for instance, are both Greek. And mine? Well, it’s a nickname of that old Hebrew name, Elizabeth. But here’s the thing: While some baby names from far-flung places have hit it off here, there are plenty more still out there, just waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking for a slightly off-the-beaten-path baby name, you may want to look at the names that are popular in some other parts of the world. We’ve winnowed it down to a few cool international baby names that might be ready for the spotlight here in the U.S.



1. Asta

This pretty name means “divine strength,” and is currently in the top 20 in Iceland.

2. Camille

Consider this classic baby name a fun compound of popular names, Cameron and Ella. It’s currently in the top 10 in France.

3. Isla

Isla has been a top 10 favorite in the U.K. for several years, but has yet to break into the top 100 here.

4. Aurora

Maybe Disney gave this beautiful name too much of a princessy vibe, but it’s still a top 10 pick choice in Italy.

5. Valentina

This sweet pick, currently #2 in Mexico, means strength.

6. Poppy/Daisy

The UK likes their floral monikers more cheerful and colorful than here in the U.S.—where Poppy doesn’t chart, and Daisy is still hovering under the top 150.

7. Lucia

The top girls’ name in Spain means light—and could be a lovely pick here in the U.S. (and a wonderful way to get to the nickname Lucy).

8. Freya

The Nordic goddess name has been a top 20 pick both throughout Scandinavia and the U.K.

9. Genevieve/Ginevra

Perhaps Harry Potter’s beloved Ginny helped inspire the renaissance for this Knights of the Round Table classic. Both are top 20 picks elsewhere—Genevieve in Canada, Ginevra in Italy.

10. Alva

A top 20 pick in Sweden, Alva means white.


1. Hugo

A top pick throughout Europe, Hugo is just inside the top 500 in the U.S., and it has a brilliant meaning: intellect.

2. Oscar

Forget about the Grouch, and consider this charming Irish name that means warrior. (It’s in the top 10 all over Europe.)

3. Jules

This short-and-sweet name is red hot in France, and means young.

4. Maxim

The second most popular name in Russia, Maxim is a cool way to get to the nickname Max.

5. Ren

This Japanese classic name may get a new boost from the new Star Wars trilogy, as the surname of new big bad Kylo Ren.

6. Axel

Still outside the top 100 in the U.S., this top 10 pick in Sweden has a cool meaning—father of peace.

7. Isak

The Scandinavian take on Biblical Isaac is red hot there, but not really popular back home.

8. Thiago

A cool nickname from Santiago, Thiago as become a top baby name in its own right in Argentina.

9. Felix

With the fun “x” ending and it’s charming meaning (happy), it’s a top 20 baby name in Germany, U.K., and all over Europe.

10. Harry

We don’t understand how Harry hasn’t caught on here in the U.S., but it’s the third most popular pick in the U.K.

More Baby Name Ideas:

Photo: Getty