How popular is the baby name Achilles in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Achilles and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Achilles.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Achilles

Number of Babies Named Achilles

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Achilles

How to Pronounce French Names – Anaïs, Étienne, Guillaume, Hélène

how to pronounce French names like anais, etienne, helene, guillaume

At first glance, Guillaume always looks like gobbledygook to me. It’s the French form of William — that much I know — but it takes a few seconds for me to remember that it’s pronounced ghee-ohm, not not gwill-awm or gwee-awm.

And it’s not just Guillaume that trips me up. I find many other French names (Étienne, Edwige, Anaïs, etc.) equally tricky to pronounce.

So for those of us who struggle with French names, here are some simplified rules of French pronunciation, plus names to illustrate each rule.

This list is far from comprehensive, and my pronunciations are just approximations, but hopefully my fellow non-French speakers out there will find it helpful nonetheless.

Rules of French Pronunciation + French Names

The vowel combination “AU” is pronounced like a long o.

  • Paul, in French, is pronounced pohl.
  • Margaux, a French form of Margaret, is pronounced mar-goh.

The letter combination “CH” is typically pronounced sh.

  • Charles, in French, is pronounced shahrl.

The six consonants “D,” “P,” “S,” “T,” “X” and “Z,” when at the end of a word, are typically silent.

  • Arnaud, the French form of Arnold, is pronounced ar-noh.
  • Denis, the French form of Dennis, is pronounced de-nee (remember the Blondie song?).
  • Lucas, in French, is pronounced loo-kah.
  • Louis, in French, is pronounced loo-ee (think Louis Vuitton).

They’re not always silent, though. Here are some exceptions:

  • Alois, the French form of Aloysius, is pronounced ah-loh-ees.
  • Anaïs, a French form of Anna, is pronounced ah-nah-ees.
  • David, in French, is pronounced dah-veed.

The pronunciation of “Ë” (E with a trema) is like the e in the English word “bet.”

  • Gaël and Gaëlle are pronounced gah-el or gai-el.
  • Joël and Joëlle are pronounced zhoh-el.
  • Maël and Maëlle are pronounced mah-el or mai-el.
  • Noël and Noëlle are pronounced noh-el.

The pronunciation of “É” (E with an acute accent) is somewhere between the ee in “see” and the e in “bet.”

  • Noé, the French masculine form of Noah, is pronounced noh-ee.
  • Salomé, in French, is pronounced sah-loh-mee.

The consonant “G” is soft (zh) when followed by “E” or “I” but hard (gh) otherwise.

  • Georges, the French form of George, is pronounced zhorzh.
  • Guy, in French, is pronounced ghee.

The consonant “H” is silent.

  • Hélène, the French form of Helen, is pronounced eh-lehn.

The vowel “I,” and the forms Ï, and Î, are all pronounced ee.

  • Loïc, a French form of Louis, is pronounced loh-eek.

The consonant “J” is pronounced zh.

  • Jacques, the French form of Jacob, is pronounced zhahk.

The letter combination “LL” is typically pronounced like an l.

  • Achille, the French form of Achilles, is pronounced ah-sheel.
  • Lucille, the French form of Lucilla, is pronounced loo-seel.

But in some cases “LL” is pronounced like a y.

  • Guillaume, the French form of William, is pronounced ghee-yohm or ghee-ohm.

The vowel combination “OI” is pronounced wah.

  • Antoine, the French form of Antony, is pronounced an-twahn.
  • Grégoire, the French form of Gregory, is pronounced gre-gwahr.

The vowel combination “OU” is pronounced oo.

  • Lilou is pronounced lee-loo.

The consonant “R,” when at the end of a word, is typically pronounced.

  • Clair, the French masculine form of Claire, is pronounced kler.
  • Edgar, in French, is pronounced ed-gahr.

When the “R” is preceded by an “E,” though, it is not pronounced.

  • Gauthier, the French form of Walter, is pronounced goh-tee-yay or goh-tyay (remember Gotye?).
  • Olivier, the French form of Oliver, is pronounced oh-lee-vee-yay or oh-lee-vyay (think Laurence Olivier).

The letter combination “TH” is typically pronounced like a t (which makes sense, since “H” is silent).

  • Thibault, the French form of Theobald, is pronounced tee-boh.

The letter combination “TI” is sometimes pronounced like an s or sy.

  • Laëtitia is pronounced lay-tee-sya.

The consonant “W” is pronounced like a v.

  • Edwige, the French form of Hedwig, is pronounced ed-veezh.

And finally, just a few more French names that I tend to have trouble with.

  • Anatole is pronounced ah-nah-tohl.
  • Étienne, the French form of Stephen, is pronounced eh-tyen.
  • Geoffroy, the French form of Geoffrey, is pronounced zho-fwah.
  • Ghislain and Ghislaine are pronounced either ghee-len or zheez-len.
  • Ignace, the French form of Ignatius, is pronounced ee-nyas.


Those aren’t too hard, right?

That’s what I tell myself…and then I come across Guillaume in the wild and my mind goes blank all over again. :)

If you know French and would like to add to the above (either another rule of pronunciation or a more precise pronunciation for a particular name) please leave a comment.

If you’re not a French speaker, here’s my question: Which French name gives you the most trouble?

Sources: Beginning French Pronunciation, French e, è, é, ê, ë – what’s the difference?, Google Translate

P.S. Interested in seeing how popular the French names above are in the U.S.? Here are some popularity graphs: Alois, Achille, Anaïs, Anatole, Antoine, Arnaud, Clair, Denis, Edwige, Étienne, Gaël, Gaëlle, Georges, Grégoire, Guillaume, Guy, Hélène, Ignace, Jacques, Laëtitia, Lilou, Loïc, Lucille, Maël, Maëlle, Margaux, Noé, Olivier, Salomé, Thibault.

Baby Boy Names Outside of the Top 1,000

[UPDATE: Check out the Popular Baby Names page to see lists of the top 2,000 since 2000!]

Kelly recently clued me in to something extremely cool: the SSA has released lists of all the baby names that were given to 5+ babies in the U.S. every year since 1880. You can download the lists directly from the SSA.

I was going to publish all of the 2009 names here in a single post, but WordPress couldn’t handle it. So instead I’ll start where the top 1,000 left off and give you all the names that were given to 100+ babies last year.

Let’s start with boy names. The 1,000th most popular boy name last year was Mustafa, given to 194 babies. After Mustafa comes…

  • 193: Eddy, Edison, Jovany, Rayden, Ulysses
  • 192: Cordell, Leroy
  • 191: Brecken, Clarence, Dimitri, Immanuel, Nathanial
  • 190: Benson, Coby, Jedidiah, Joziah, Legend, Yehuda
  • 189: Kohen, Milton
  • 188: Brennon, Jayvon, Pierre, Sheldon, Simeon
  • 187: Bernard, Donavan, Taj, Thaddeus
  • 186: Eliseo
  • 185: Kamren, Kelton
  • 184: Jacobi, Rocky, Theo
  • 183: none
  • 182: Braylin, Turner
  • 181: Jaylan, Yousef
  • 180: Cristobal, Marcello, Maximillian, Santana
  • 179: Anish, Dariel, Gaven, Gordon, Lamont
  • 178: Darion, Daylen, Ephraim, Joan
  • 177: Domenic, Harvey, Javen, Major, Miller
  • 176: none
  • 175: Gibson, Iker, Johann
  • 174: Bishop, Glenn
  • 173: Cayson, Leif, Leighton, Lionel, Rishi
  • 172: Braedyn, Gonzalo, Jericho, Langston, Treyton
  • 171: Armaan, Jesiah, Lathan, Marquez, Menachem, Oswaldo, Truman
  • 170: Andreas, Estevan, Kooper, Reilly, Ryley
  • 169: Kamarion
  • 168: Coen, Eliot, Hank, Kyan, Markell, Miguelangel, Mikah, Otto
  • 167: Dion, Landry, Marques
  • 166: Anson, Geovanny, Jaedyn, Jai, Jullian, Maxton
  • 165: Aleksander, Bernardo, Channing, Darrius, Destin, Emory, Hendrix, Tayden
  • 164: Ameer, Dereck, Dwight, Enoch, Forrest, Nazir, Stephan
  • 163: Cornelius, Lucca, Mikel, Shimon, Tyce, Yisroel
  • 162: Carmine, Dontae, Jaleel, Keanu, Lennox, Shiloh
  • 161: Augustine, Dhruv, Perry
  • 160: Colter, Eamon, Thiago
  • 159: Boden, Presley, Rowen, Tegan, Treyvon
  • 158: Jan, Kenji, Zakary, Zyon
  • 157: Adin, Baron, Maksim, Nestor, Norman, Sammy
  • 156: Corban, Drayden, Ely, Mariano, Shamar, Tavion
  • 155: Arlo, Garret, Jamil, Keven, Shea, Vladimir, Zaden
  • 154: Elvin, Gannon, Guadalupe, Kavion, Kayleb, Kylen
  • 153: Camdyn, Devonte, Jael, Karim, Koby, Mayson, Nixon, Trenten
  • 152: Deshaun, Kenton, Milan, Siddharth
  • 151: Alexavier, Arman, Kannon, Lachlan, Zeke
  • 150: Abner, Arian, Efren, Jariel, Javian, Jordin
  • 149: Alexandro, Dandre, Francesco, Izaac, Kalvin, Stephon
  • 148: Amarion, Bayron, Caeden, Dewayne, Kennedy, Mordechai
  • 147: Alton, Bilal, Geoffrey, Jermiah, Kye, Lucien, Neel, Om, Tavin
  • 146: Barry, Beck, Blayne, Campbell, Ever, Gino, Haven, Ishan
  • 145: Benny, Brad, Emil
  • 144: Austen, Austyn, Briggs, Canaan, Crew, Dev, Emmitt, Guy, Jakub, Jarvis, Shannon, Trevion
  • 143: Clifford, Keller, Travon
  • 142: Kyree, Markel, Merrick
  • 141: Aarush, Ajay, Denis
  • 140: Aubrey, Daveon, Harlan, Sami, Sebastien
  • 139: Bryton, Clyde, Kelly, Khalid, Landan, Shlomo
  • 138: Bodhi, Briar, Fredy, Irving, Kalen, Rylen, Sabastian, Taven
  • 137: Baylor, Brantley, Chayse, Courtney, Cristiano, Dallin, Earl, Fidel, Jeshua, Judson, Korey, Lonnie, Marek, Oakley, Trae
  • 136: Anders, Coy
  • 135: Chevy, Cian, Don, Ewan, Jordy, Nery, Oskar, Ridge, Tatum, Vince
  • 134: Avi, Dezmond, Masen, Princeton, Syed, Tahj, Tristyn, Tylan
  • 133: Daryl, Johnpaul, Karsen, Kurt, Wilmer, Xavion
  • 132: Britton, Grayden, Rowdy, Tevin, Yahya
  • 131: Brandt, Clifton, Evin, Finnian, Gian, Kaidyn
  • 130: Coleton, Denver, Freddie, Gianluca, Jaren, Korbyn, Phineas, Yash
  • 129: Alexandre, Grey, Haden, Jakari, Leeland, Lloyd, Titan
  • 128: Alek, Aven, Ayan, Terence
  • 127: Bowen, Desean, Jeff, Jonatan, Kevon, Kollin, Lucius, Malakhi
  • 126: Demetri, Gerard, Hagen, Jaedon, Jaheim, Jeremias, Raymundo
  • 125: Avraham, Heriberto, Ira, Lester, Stetson, Tye
  • 124: Abdul, Arnold, Bodie, Broden, Canyon, Edmund, Gus, Keandre, Latrell, Rico, Shmuel
  • 123: Amar, Azariah, Braulio, Ervin, Otis
  • 122: Ayush, Brighton, Dyllan, Kent, Magnus, Myron, Nate, Nevin, Ramses, Torin
  • 121: Brysen, Daquan, Donnie, Jakai, Josef, Keyshawn, Mauro, Morris, Raheem, Rian, Rickey, Royal, Thatcher, Yaakov
  • 120: Benicio, Bryden, Colson, Emir, Fred, Izaak, Kurtis, Osmar, Sutton
  • 119: Harris, Jet, Juancarlos, Omarion, Rashawn, Treyson, Zahir
  • 118: Abhinav, Benito, Brooklyn, Leyton, Mikhail, Viktor
  • 117: Anakin, Darey, Duane, Johnnie, Kegan, Mikael, Osman, Pierson, Talen
  • 116: Azael, Dashiell, Devlin, Diesel, Dylon, Giovany, Jameer, Javien, Jaylyn, Kiran, Marion, Massimo, Obed
  • 115: Amauri, Deion, Gerson, Ishmael, Jarell, Nikita, Xavi
  • 114: Dan, Foster, Glen, Kaysen, Kyran, Rayyan, Tariq, Tiago, Tzvi
  • 113: Arya, Isidro, Kaison, Musa, Syncere, Uziel, Vihaan, Yariel
  • 112: Amani, Andrei, Carlton, Dameon, Demari, Deonte, Joseluis, Justyn, Karon, Manny, Neal, Patricio, Sahil, Shaan, Shayne, Stuart, Tobin, Vernon
  • 111: Damarcus, Darrin, Daylon, Hussein, Isac, Lazaro, Tyron, Zev
  • 110: Aayan, Angus, Benton, Brayson, Darrion, Jacorey, Kirk, Lyndon, Yurem
  • 109: Dashaun, Dayne, Jaysen, Jayven, Josias, Kaedyn, Linus, Maddix, Zephaniah
  • 108: Ahmir, Antwon, Deondre, Hans, Jahir, Khristian, Nolen, Rogan, Shia, Teegan
  • 107: Braydin, Clint, Daron, Gabe, Graysen, Jacari, Kain, Kayne, Khamari, Louie, Tavian, Trever, Westley, Zakaria
  • 106: Daylin, Eliel, Filip, Jahmir, Javonte, Kamdyn, Koda, Mykel, Rick, Zayd
  • 105: Canon, Darin, Gregorio, Kaine
  • 104: Adyn, Cadence, Chayce, Demarco, Eliyahu, Javin, Jimmie, Karsten, Ken, Travion, Xavior
  • 103: Atreyu, Ismail, Jackie, Kahlil, Marko, Paolo
  • 102: Athan, Christofer, Eleazar, Floyd, Henrik, Hyrum, Idris, Isael, Jamaal, Jelani, Kentrell, Maison
  • 101: Ashtyn, Emmet, Izak, Jaelyn, Jakobi, Jayshawn, Keshaun
  • 100: Achilles, Avrohom, Brant, Corbyn, Cormac, Imran, Javan, Kris, Osiel, Yaseen

Girl names coming soon!

Update – Here are the girl names.

Popular and Unique Names in England and Wales, 2008

Don’t get too excited — these aren’t the top names for 2009. (If only!)

Why am I posting old news? Because I recently found a more complete version of the 2008 list that goes all the way down to baby names used in England and Wales just three times. So, the top-ranked names may be old news, but the rest are new. (New to me, anyway.) Here goes:

Boys Girls
Popular Names Jack
Unusual names
(# of babies)
Spike (23)
Willoughby (22)
Ziggy (20)
Ptolemy (19)
Zidane (13)
Zinedine (12)
Kal-El (10)
Hendrix (9)
Humphrey (8)
Elan (6)
Gruff (6)
Legend (6)
Achilles (5)
Amen (5)
Bright (5)
Jesse-James (5)
Tennyson (5)
Darlington (4)
James-Dean (4)
Courage (3)
Freedom (3)
Messiah (3)
Remus (3)
Riquelme (3)
Seven (3)
Bluebell (20)
Primrose (17)
Temperance (13)
Breeze (11)
Cleopatra (11)
Sorrel (11)
Tigerlily (9)
Tirion (9)
Comfort (8)
Peaches (8)
Pebbles (8)
Beyonce (7)
Miami (7)
Zinnia (7)
Godiva (6)
Mercades (5)
Panashe (5)
Tulip (5)
Wednesday (5)
Magenta (4)
Boadicea (3)
Cayenne (3)
Kimora-Lee (3)
Plum (3)
Rejoice (3)

And now, just for fun, let’s compare usage in England to usage in America:

Name # UK* Boys # UK Girls # U.S. Boys # U.S. Girls
Avery 4 6 1,731 5,758
Harper 18 20 244 1,108
Riley 2,201 63 4,076 5,701
Total*** 363,000 346,000 2,150,000 2,060,000

*By UK, I mean England and Wales. Not an accurate substitution, I know. But “England and Wales” is just way too long for that spot.
**The 1,000th name on the U.S. top 1,000 was used for 192 baby boys. So the question marks represent some number between 0 and 192.
***Update: Kelly has astutely pointed out that raw numbers can be misleading. I’m not going to change the chart — I’m just too lazy — but I’ve thrown in some rough totals, for context.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Welsh Family with Unusual Names – Romeo, Isis, Achilles, Caesar

There’s a family in Cardiff, Wales with children named:

  1. Romeo Casanova Valentino (age 12)
  2. Venus Valentine (11)
  3. Angel Aphrodite (10)
  4. Isis Ise (3)
  5. Achilles Spartacus Mars (2)
  6. Caesar Augustus Constantine (due in 4 weeks)

The parents are Tony and Elaine Romaeo (making son #1 “Romeo Romaeo,” of course). Elaine had this to say about the names:

We knew we wanted to give our children unusual names from the start. My husband used to be a male stripper and his stage name was Romeo so we decided to call our first son after the three greatest lovers of the world.

I think that about sums it up. :)

Source: Our children are gods, legends and great lovers, South Wales Echo

Edit (3/22): BBC News has just published a piece on the family: Mythology inspires six baby names