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French First Names

Prénoms français

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There are hundreds of common French first names. Some of them look just like their English counterparts, others are fairly similar, and still others may be uniquely French. These pages include more than 200 of the most popular French names, along with their pronunciation and English equivalents. When looking at these names, please keep the following things in mind:

1. Hyphenated names are very popular in France. They are usually composed of two names from the same gender; i.e., Jean-Pierre, Paul-Henri, Anne-Laure, or Marie-Élise. Less commonly, they are composed of one boy name and one girl name, with the "correct" gender name first, as in Jean-Marie for a boy or Marie-Jacques for a girl. Note that hyphenated names are considered a single unit - together, they are the person's first name, not a first and a middle. In other words, if you are introduced to Pierre-Louis Lefèvre, be sure to call him Pierre-Louis, not Pierre.

2. Many masculine names can be made feminine with the addition of one of these suffixes: -e, -ette, or -ine. Note that when the consonant at the end of the masculine name is silent, the addition of the -e causes it to be pronounced for the feminine, such as Arnaud (silent d) and Arnaude (pronounced d). However, when this occurs with a boy name that ends in é or a pronounced consonant such as l, the male/female distinction is apparent only in spelling, not pronunciation. For example, Aimé (masculine) and Aimée (feminine) are pronounced the same way, as are Daniel and Danielle. (Learn more about French pronunciation)

3. The diminutive French suffixes -et and -ot may be added to boys' names, while -ette and -otte can be added to girls' names.

Without further ado, click on the following links to discover some of the most popular first names in France:

1. Introduction to French Names
2. French Names for Boys
3. French Names for Girls
4. French Unisex Names
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