The Name Game: Latin Lovelies

01/08/2010 at 04:00 PM ET

Some of the most rhythmic and romantic names around have Latin roots, but nameberry.com co-founder Linda Rosenkrantz says you need not be of Latin decent to choose one for your own baby-on-the-way.

What’s more — while Isabella and Sophia remain rampantly popular — there are a variety of other monikers which are worthy of consideration. With growing frequency, Linda notes, “parents are opting for Lucia over Lucy and Mateo rather than Matthew.” She adds,

“Other names, like Gianna and Giovanni, have started to rank high on popularity lists.”

Michael Williams/Startraks; Antonie Brzostoski/INF

Celebrity babies with Latin-influenced names can be divided into two groups, according to Linda: Those that reflect one or both of their parents’ ethnic heritage, and those chosen just for their appealing sound and/or image.

Among the former are Estela Ines, as chosen by Ali Landry and Alejandro Monteverde; Gia and Isabella, as chosen by Luciana and Matt Damon; Gianna Maria and Natalia, as chosen by Vanessa and Kobe Bryant; Gianni and Marco, as chosen by Jill Hennessy and Paolo Mastropietro; Giulia and Evelina, as chosen by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos; Lázaro, as chosen by Gael García Bernal; Luca and Matteo, as chosen by Livia and Colin Firth; Luca, as chosen by Vincent d’Onofrio; Lucia, as chosen by Amber and Rob Mariano; Luciana Bella, as chosen by Carnie Wilson and Rob Bonfiglio, Luna, as chosen by Constance Marie, Mattea, as chosen by Mira Sorvino; Mateo and Sophia Rosalinda, as chosen by Talisa Soto and Benjamin Bratt, Matteo and Valentino, as chosen by Ricky Martin, Natalia and Santino, as chosen by Adam Corolla, Paloma, as chosen by Ana Ortiz, Rocco and Lourdes, as chosen by Madonna; Valentina, as chosen by Salma Hayek, and Vida, as chosen by Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey.

As for the latter, we have Bianca, as chosen by Tia Carrere; Cruz, as chosen by Lleyton Hewitt; Enzo, as chosen by Annabeth Gish; Francesca, as chosen by Amanda Anka and Jason Bateman; Gabriella, as chosen by Josh Gracin; Giacomo, as chosen by Trudie Styler and Sting; Maria Adela and Eloisa, as chosen by Penelope Ann Miller; Romelo Montez, as chosen by Monica; Romeo and Cruz, as chosen by Victoria and David Beckham; Salvador, as chosen by Ed O’Brien; and Vita, as chosen by Bret McKenzie.

In addition to her work with nameberry.com, Linda has co-authored ten baby-naming books with Pamela Redmond-Satran. Their newest title, Beyond Ava & Aiden, is available now.

Which Latin-inspired names are your favorites? Which could you live without?

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Amy on

I’ve always kind of liked Enzo for a boy and love Lourdes for a girl and I liked Sophia and Isabelle/Isabella until they got very popular. Every other name on the list I could kind of live without.

Brooklyn on

I love Gia, Isabella, Luca, Matteo, Luna, Sophia, Valentina!

Natasha on

I guess I’m confused about the meaning of “Latin” because aren’t the names Rocco and Romeo both italian?

electra on

Italian is still a latin romance language so i guess it qualifies. I used to love the name Paloma but not its way over done. Latin names used here in the states do have a certain romantic quality.

Sonia on

It kind of pisses me of because before, anyone named Isabel, Valentina, Matteo, Marcos, Joaquin, Estela, Xochitl, etc…would be discriminated against and called a ‘beaner’ or a ‘wetback’. I saw it, it’s true. I grew up in Los Angeles and if the name wasn’t ‘white’ forget it, you were put in ESL classes and called names like this. I graduated high school in 1987 so it wasn’t that long ago. Now all of a sudden these names are ‘in’ and all the rage.I guess Hollywood has to give their babies latin names for mainstream America to appreciate them, but they’ve been around a long, long time. WHATEVER!!!

Sonya on

Natasha I’m confused also. How is a name that’s a Spanish word (Cruz) or Italian word (Vita) Latin? Do they mean names form Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan)?
Because a Latin name would be Juvenal or Cornelius for example.

Magda on

What about Stella Luna as chosen by Ellen Pompeo and Chris Ivery?

Liz on

Isabella or Isabel is crazy popular in NYC among non Latin people. My son has 3 little girlfriends named Isabella/Isabel in the same classroom!

ElenaS on

Love these names. In my country are used some of these names like Valentina, Isabella, Valentino, Marco, Luca, Natalia, Vida and these are used quite often and also Mateo and girly version Matea

galain on

In Italy we say that languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian (I’m forgetting a couple, I’m sure) are Latin languages, meaning they all originate from Latin.

I guess that’s what they mean in the post, as well.

kiwi2 on

Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Galician, Catalan and Rumanian are languages that come from latin so a lot of names can be from latin origin. Enzo is Italian, Lourdes is French, Paloma is Spanish…
I love Lola for a girl and Breogán for a boy.

Elizabeth on

It’s strange to me (as a Brit) how the USA’s view of “Latin” seems to equal “Mexican”. I’ve actually heard people say in the past that Penelope Cruz isn’t Latina because she’s Spanish, which is just bizarre to me.

Anyway, more on topic, I love Latin sounding names, especially Estela, Valentina and Sofia. I don’t really see Isabel as a Latin name though, probably because I’m more familiar with the Isabelle spelling which is quite popular in my family, which has no Latin roots whatsoever.

Luna on

I love Luna, Sofia, Isabella, Estela, Gia, Gianna, Lourdes, Romeo, Luciana, Mateo, Matea, Valentina, Valentino, Natalia, Paloma, Cruz, Garbriella, Vida, Lourdes, and Vanessa. Actually, I like all of these names. Weird. When i started to read this post i thought ‘I’m probably not going to like any of these names.’ But i love these names. I’ve always wanted a son named Romeo but no one but me likes that name it feels like. Almost all my kids have ‘Latin’ names.
Are there any other names that they missed?

suse on

Isabel is the Spanish name for Elizabeth

ReyesPhile on

I really love Enzo.

Luna on

Suse: Wow i never knew that.

MJ on

So don’t like “Vida” as a name. There are so many other beautiful names in Portuguese that they could have used.

debbie on

I love the name Gianni.

suse on

@Luna Yes, although the Spanish version of Elizabeth it’s Isabel, both names are used nowadays (in the form of ‘Elisabet’ o ‘Elisabeth’ – mute H, it’s not pronounced, so both versions sound the same: e/as bed/-lisa-bet/as bed ended with strong t sound).

Molly on

I love the Latin names. My favorites are Isabella, Gianni or Gian, Valentina, Matteo, Luca, and Giuliana. I work in a school and there are are little boys named Massimiliano (every one calls him Massi) and Cristiano which I love too.

Kate on

@Elizabeth #12, in the US we view Latina only as a woman coming from Latin America, not just Mexico. It doesn’t refer to just any country where they speak a Romance language, such as Spain or Portugal. Therefore, Penelope Cruz is not Latin, as she’s from Spain.

MaryJean on

#21: Wow. So much ignorance in one post. No wonder people have a dim view of the US people.

Magdalena on

Angelica, Adriana, Alma, Monica, Perla, Rosalinda, Veronica, Viviana, Valeria, Liliana, Raquel, etc…those are names that are also latin. Funny thing is that now OTHER nationalities are naming their kids something with a ‘latin flair’ but latinos are giving their kids more westernized names. I don’t know how many Puerto Rican kids I know here in New York that are named Jessica, Melissa, Stephanie, Tiffany, Ariel, Emily and what not! I have a co-worker who’s from Mexico and she just had twin girls. She named them Chantal and Evelyn. Go figure!

sil on

If u are talking about latin names then is not soPHia but soFia.
I used to like the names Isabella and Isabel, but now they are too popular.
I think it doesn’t matter where are u from or what language you speak, if you like a name then use it :) Me for example i love the name Michelle and Nicole (both french i think?) and i’m a peruvian living in italy.. I’m sure if i have a third daughter one day I’ll name her Nicole, even if my husband is italian and it should be Nicoletta, but i don’t like! :)

Alycia on

I Love the name Valentina

Yvonne on

I like Marco and Gianni.

brannon on

Loved a lot of these names until they became so popular. Enzo has always been one of my favorites. Olivier as well.

ObamaRocks on

MOST of those names are Italian. Latin refers to the South American Culture.

jessie on

i love most of the names on the list, i wouldn’t mind using isabela, or adriana of gabriela or thiago. i’m brazilian so it reflects my culture. and for the post above people from spain aren’t latino because they speak spanish, they are still european. most of the people i know from spain would never say they are latino

Annie on

Actually, Tia Carrere is Filipino where Hispanic/Latin names are very common (including the name Tia), so that’d put her in the former, not the latter.

Ali on

Well, I am italian and my girls have an italian name Elisa and a latin name Livia ( real latin). I guess here latin is used to group all the romance languages

Cece on

Many of these names are also Italian.

Luna on

I didn’t even realize that this post would make me learn so much. I never knew that a Latina is not someone who comes from a Spanish speaking country. I’m learning so much! :)

annalee on

#22… No, people have a “dim” view of us because we still hold traditional morals for the most part, and that makes people feel uncomfortable. Putting Americans down makes others (Americans included) feel better about themselves.

Mariana on

I’ve always loved Spanish/Latin names. I’m Mexican-American, born and raised in Los Angeles. I already have a 2 yr-old son named ‘Federico.’ We call him ‘Nico’. I’m presently pregnant with my 2nd child and if I have another boy, his name will be ‘Marco’. I like the sound of Marco Giovanni but my husband’s not old on the ‘Giovanni’ part just yet…lol The name ‘Sergio’ was also a consideration, but Marco won out. If I have a daughter, her name will definitely be ‘Alessandra’. Latin names are beautiful. Look at Leonardo Di Caprio and Benicio Del Toro. Latin names make statements and are remembered.

Alex on

I love Italian names.

Anon on

@ annalee: So you’re basically saying that non Americans have no morals…?

Catey on

@annalee: “#22… No, people have a “dim” view of us because we still hold traditional morals for the most part, and that makes people feel uncomfortable. Putting Americans down makes others (Americans included) feel better about themselves.”

Traditional morals? If only that was the reason why other countries have a ‘dim’ view of Americans. And getting on your moral high-horse about it doesn’t make you seem any more intelligent. If you think that is the reason why non-Americans feel that way about Americans you need to travel the world a bit more and actually find out.

Amy on

Having a baby boy in 3 days and naming him Luca! I adore this name and can’t wait to say it every day to my little love :-)

Emma on

My little boys are Milo and Enzo. I get mixed comments on their names as they aren’t very common in the U.K! I love their names and thats all that matters! I also love the names Alessandra, Allegra and Valentina for little girls!

Jeb on

Lourdes is French, so it doesn’t fit into the category. I honestly don’t understand why so many people like it. I find the spelling rather ugly. And the sound is…I just don’t know. I can’t stand it as a girl’s name, but that’s just my opinion and to each their own. I really like Estela.

Amanda on

I found this article while googling my sons name Enzo, I think the origin and or background of a name is important but people need to choose names that they love and think makes their children special. I have three boys; Ace a seven year old and twin one year-olds Enzo and Cassius. Ace=after a baseball pitcher, Enzo=after Enzo Ferrari, and Cassius=after Cassius Clay. We are avid sports fans and their names fit my little men perfectly. I also, like the other Mom of an Enzo, get mixed reaction. I love my boys, and their names and that is what really matters.

P.S. If I would have had a girl I would have named her Velencia a mix of two family names Alicia, Velia, and my name Amanda.

Kewky on

@ sil As an American also ling in Italy: just DON’T name her Nicola as that’s an Italian boys name!

@ Molly A shorter choice to get to Massi is Massimo. Which literally means Maximum but sounds better!

And I LOVE the name Evelina!

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