Monday, December 22, 2008

Brazilian Baby NamesChoosing a Brazilian baby name...

Brazilian baby names receive the influence of the Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, African, French and German languages, as well as from a rich indigenous culture. The latter being what some may arguably say are the truest Brazilian baby names.

Another interesting fact about naming a child is that often Brazilian parents give their child a middle name. For instance, in Brazil you will hear names such as “Paulo Ricardo” or “Maria Alice”.

I once met a guy who had four middle names! And he was very proud of it (as, in fact, most Brazilians are of their long list of names and family names).

According to Brazilian law (as far as I know) the child usually has to receive two family names: The first from his mother’s side, and the second from his father’s.

Unlike other Western countries, in Brazil it is extremely hard to change one’s name once the birth certificate is issued. Itwould take a whole court case (with lawyers, judges and all) to change that.

Funnily enough, despite having hundreds of thousands of Brazilian baby names to choose from, in Brazil you can hear names which are clearly of Anglo-Saxon origin, but that have been sort of “brazilianized”. Such names include: “Maikol” (for Michael), Uólaci (for Wallace), Uóshito (for Washington), and so on.

Below you will find a small list of Brazilian baby names and their origins. Mind you, this is not a list of the top, most popular Brazilian baby names. This list will provide you with the rythms and sounds of Brazilian pronunciation as Brazilians say them (after all, you are searching for a Brazilian baby name, right?)

I am soon to add more and include a video presentation teaching you how to pronounce them (remember: Brazilian Portuguese does not sound like Spanish at all!!).


Brazilian Baby Names for Boys

• Afonso (Germanic): noble and ready.

• Álvaro (Germanic): nobel guardian

• Anderson (English): André’s son.

• André (Greek): man warrior.

• Anselmo (Germanic): divine protection.

• Aquiles (Greek): terrible wolf.

• Armando (Germanic): army man.

• Arnaldo (Germanic): strong as an eagle.

• Aroldo (Germanic): army commander.

• Artur (Celtic): strong as a bear.

• Augusto (Latin): great, magnificent.

• Basílio (Greek/Latin): variant of basil, royal.

• Benício (Latin): to speak well of someone.

• Bernardo (Germanic): brave as a bear.

• Bruno (Germanic): armour, brown.

• Caetano (Italian): variation from ‘Gaetano’, the one from the Gaeta region .

• César (Latin): the one who has long hair, comes from the name Caesar.

• Cristiano (Greek): follower of Christ.

• Daniel (Hebrew): God is my Judge.

• Davi/d (Hebrew): beloved.

• Enzo (Germanic): home ruler, conqueror.

• Fábio (Latin): variant form of ‘Fabius’, broad bean.

• Fabrício (Latin): craftsman.

• Felipe (Greek): the one who likes horses.

• Fernando (Germanic): intelligent and brave.

• Francisco (Latin): variant of ‘Francis’, meaning Frenchman or free one.

• Frederico (Germanic): peaceful ruler.

• Gabriel (Hebrew): the one who was sent by God.

• Guilherme (Germanic): the protector.

• Gustavo (Swedish): royal staff.

• João (Hebrew): God is gracious.

• Joaquim (Hebrew): the one who Lord exalts.

• José (Hebrew): the one who will enlarge.

• Júlio (Latin): full of energy, youth.

• Levi (Hebrew): combined, united.

• Lourenço (Latin): man from Laurentum, honoured.

• Lucas (Greek): variant form of the biblical name ‘Luke’, meaning light.

• Luis (Germanic): famous warrior

• Marcelo (Latin): Hammer

• Marcos (Latin): Protected by the planet Mars

• Mateus (Hebrew): gift of God.

• Otávio (Latin): the eighth son.

• Patricio (Latin): variant form of ‘Patrick’ meaning noble.

• Paulo (Latin): short man, humble.

• Pedro (Latin): stone, rock.

• Raul (Anglo-Saxon): variant form of ‘Ralph’ meaning wolf council.

• Rodolfo (Germanic): Spanish form of ‘Rudolph’ meaning famous wolf.

• Rodrigo (Germanic): famous ruler.

• Ronaldo (Germanic): variant of ‘Ronald’ meaning ruler with counsel.

• Rubens (Hebrew): son of God.

• Sílvio (Latin): from the Latin word for ‘tree’.

• Vinícius (Latin): wine producer.

• Vitor (Latin): conqueror, victory.

Brazilian Baby Names for Girls

• Alice (Greek) : noble kind, true person.

• Amanda (Latin): worth to be loved.

• Ana (Hebrew): full of grace, beautiful.

• Anabela (Spanish): very gracious.

• Andréa (Greek): feminine version of ‘Andrew’ meaning manly, warrior.

• Andressa (Latin): feminine, brave.

• Angélica (Greek/Latin): pure as an angel.

• Alina/e (Latin): noble.

• Antônia (Latin): feminine form of ‘Antonio’ which means beyond praise.

• Araci (Tupi - Brazilian Indigenous language): Mother of day

• Beatriz (Latin): the one who makes people happy.

• Bela (Latin): beautiful, good-looking.

• Camila (Latin): altar server, noble.

• Carolina (Latin): feminine form of ‘Carlos’ meaning strong, manly.

• Cintia (Latin): woman of Kinthos.

• Cristina (Greek): follower of Christ.

• Daniela/e (French): “God is my Judge”.

• Débora (Hebrew): bee.

• Elisabete/th (Hebrew): “My God is a vow”.

• Eloisa (French): variation of the name ‘Louise’ meaning hale and wide.

• Emmanuelle (French): feminine form of ‘Emmanuel’ meaning ‘God is with us’.

• Estela (Latin): star.

• Gabriela (Hebrew): the one who was sent by God.

• Gisele (Germanic): pledge.

• Graziela (Italian): gracious, happy.

• Helena (Greek): torch, light.

• Iracema (Tupi - Brazilian Indigenous Language): Born from honey.

• Isabel (Hebrew): “my God is a vow”.

• Isabelle (French): French version of ‘Isabel’ bearing the same meaning.

• Isadora (Greek): gift from the Greek goddess Isis.

• Janaína (Tupi - Brazilian Indigenous Language): Queen of the home.

• Jaqueline (French): French adaptation of ‘Jacob’ meaning winner.

• Júlia (Latin): full of energy and youthfulness.

• Juliana (Latin): variation of the Latin ‘Júlia’.

• Karen (Greek): abbreviation of the name ‘Katherine’ which means pure.

• Laura (Latin): laurel tree or sweet bay tree symbolic of honor and victory.

• Letícia (Latin): full of happiness.

• Luana (Italian): from the word ‘moon’.

• Luisa (French): warrior.

• Luzia (Spanish): gifted woman.

• Madalena (Latin): magnificent person.

• Mariana (Latin): Latinized form of ‘Marian’ meaning bitter.

• Rafaela (Hebrew): “God has healed”.

• Raquel (Hebrew): innocent person.

• Rebeca (Hebrew): the one who unites the others.

• Renata (Latin): the one who was born again.

• Rita (Latin/Greek/Sanskrit): pearl, righteous.

• Rute (Hebrew): companion, friend, full of beauty.

• Sara (Hebrew): princess.

• Sofia (Greek): wisdom.

• Vitória (Latin): conqueror, victory.

• Yara (Tupi - Indigenous Brazilian Language): Mermeid, mother of the waters.

Brazilian Baby Names of Indigenous Origin

Although Brazil abounds in indigenous names for places, towns, cities, animals, plants, rivers, etc. there are relatively few native names given to children, even fewer for boys. Most brazilian baby names listed below derive from the Tupi language (one of the once most widespread tribal language of Brazil).

• Araci (girl) = star of the day.

• Cauã (boy)= Eagle

• Guaraci (girl) = Sun, summer

• Irani (girl) = Small bee

• Jaci (girl or boy) = Moon

• Juçara (girl)= Name of a palm tree

• Maiara (girl) = The wise one

• Ubirajara (boy) = spearman

Brazilian Baby Names and their Nicknames

Before considering any name for a child, a parent should also take into consideration the nicknames (or simple abbreviations) associated with that name. For example, most Brazilian baby names have a "nickname" to them. Here is a small list of the most common ones:

For boys...

• Eduardo = "Dudu"

• Francisco = "Chico"

• Roberto = "Beto"

• Fernando = "Nando"

• José = "Zé"

For Girls...

• Alícia = "Lícia" or "Lí"

• Fátima = "Fafá"

• Elisabete = "Bê" or "Beti"

• Andréia = "Dedéia"

• Tatiana = "Tati"

Brazilian Baby Names and Trends

As in any other culture, Brazilian baby names trends change with time. A name that was hugely popular in a generation, might sound "old fashioned" in another.

Names such as Basílio (on the list above) and Madalena (also on the list above)were once very popular (never hugely, though), but today I doubt many Brazilian parents would pick these names out for their babies.

I've heard that many parents today in Brazil are "reviving" some names (mainly "double names") that were falling in disuse. This includes names such as:

For boys...

* Paulo Ricardo

* João Victor (or Vitor)

* Sérgio Luiz

* Antônio Augusto ("Algusto" seems to be an all-time favorite middle name for boys in Brazil)

For girls...

* Maria Alice

* Maria Antônia

* Ana Catarina

* Eleonora

* Beatriz

And in case you were wondering what the too most popular names in Brazil are, here is the asnwer: José (for, er, boys) and Maria (for...really need to know?). But I must say that, to the best of my knowledge, these are not currently the most popular Brazilian baby names.

You will also hear popular male Anglo-saxon family names being used as first names in Brazil. For example:

* Nelson (very popular)

* Wilson

* Kennedy (not so popular, but yes, I've met a few)

* Milton

* Nilton (from Newton)

I am soon to place another list on this post, selecting the most current popular names in Brazil. It takes some research, but I am getting there...(:-)

Related Posts

Portuguese Verbs | Portuguese Language Resources | Facts of Brazil | Flag of Brazil | Brazilian Portuguese Alphabet

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What is your favorite Brazilian baby name?

Leave your answer in the comments below!


  1. My favourite brazilian baby name for girl is Isadora and for a boy I like Fernando.

  2. My favourite brazilian baby name is Estela, which is my daugther´s name. Well, as far as I know it means "star".

    As for a boy´s name, I don´t have a favourite one, but I think that Gabriel is a beautiful name.

  3. My favourite brazilian baby name for girl is Valentina and for a boy i love Romeu

  4. Hey there!

    Thanks for participating!

    Does anyone know the meanings of the names suggested above?

  5. My favourite brazilian baby name for girl is Clarissa and for a boy i love Rafaelo

  6. My favorite brazilian baby girl name is Maiarah because it means "the wise one" and for boy is Royce name after the famous jujitsu legend champ Royce Gracie.

  7. my favorites for a girl are Katryny, Mikaela, Thaís, Scarlett (pronounced Scalech),
    for a boy, Marquim, Michael (Mishael), Marcio, Emmannoel,
    but none are on here!

  8. I like Manoela ( for girls) and Pedro ( for boys).

  9. Actually, José and Maria are the most common names in Brazil since 1500.