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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Anatole

Number of Babies Named Anatole

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Anatole

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.


What Would You Name the Two Frenchmen?

The image below, of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, was captured in early 1838 by Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype.

It may be the earliest surviving photograph of a person. Two people, actually. Both are in the lower left:

Daguerreotype: Boulevard du Temple

Here’s a close-up:

Boulevard du Temple, detail

The standing man is getting his shoe shined, and the other man (partially obscured) is doing the shoe-shining.

Of all the people on the sidewalk that day, these were the only two to stay still long enough (about 10 minutes) to be captured in the image.

Now for the fun part!

What would you name these two Frenchmen?

Let’s pretend you’re writing a book set in Paris in the 1830s, and these are two of your characters. What names would you give them?

Here’s a long list of traditional French male names, to get you started:

Abel
Absolon
Achille
Adam
Adolphe
Adrien
Aimé
Alain
Alban
Albert
Alexandre
Alfred
Alphonse
Amaury
Amroise
Amédée
Anatole
André
Anselme
Antoine
Antonin
Apollinaire
Ariel
Aristide
Armand
Arnaud
Arsène
Arthur
Aubert
Aubin
Auguste
Augustin
Aurèle
Aurélien
Baptiste
Barnabé
Barthélémy
Basile
Bastien
Benjamin
Benoit
Bernard
Bertrand
Blaise
Boniface
Bruno
Calixte
Camille
Céleste
Célestin
Césaire
César
Charles
Christian
Christophe
Clair
Claude
Clément
Clovis
Constant
Constantin
Corentin
Corin
Corneille
Cosme
Cyril
Damien
Daniel
David
Denis
Déodat
Désiré
Didier
Dieudonné
Dimitri
Diodore
Dominique
Donat
Donatien
Edgar
Edgard
Edmé
Edmond
Édouard
Élie
Eloi
Émeric
Émile
Émilien
Emmanuel
Enzo
Éric
Ermenegilde
Ernest
Ethan
Étienne
Eugène
Eustache
Évariste
Évrard
Fabien
Fabrice
Félicien
Félix
Ferdinand
Fernand
Fiacre
Firmin
Florence
Florent
Florentin
Florian
Francis
François
Frédéric
Gabriel
Gaël
Gaëtan
Gaspard
Gaston
Gaubert
Geoffroy
Georges
Gérard
Géraud
Germain
Gervais
Ghislain
Gilbert
Gilles
Gratien
Grégoire
Guatier
Guillaume
Gustave
Guy
Hector
Henri
Herbert
Hercule
Hervé
Hilaire
Hippolyte
Honoré
Horace
Hubert
Hugues
Humbert
Hyacinthe
Ignace
Irénée
Isidore
Jacques
Jason
Jean
Jérémie
Jérôme
Joachim
Jocelyn
Joël
Jonathan
Joseph
Josse
Josué
Jourdain
Jules
Julien
Juste
Justin
Laurent
Laurentin
Lazare
Léandre
Léo
Léon
Léonard
Léonce
Léonide
Léopold
Lionel
Loïc
Lothaire
Louis
Loup
Luc
Lucas
Lucien
Lucrèce
Ludovic
Maël
Marc
Marcel
Marcellin
Marin
Marius
Martin
Mathieu
Mathis
Matthias
Maurice
Maxence
Maxime
Maximilien
Michaël
Michel
Modeste
Narcisse
Nathan
Nathanaël
Nazaire
Nicéphore
Nicodème
Nicolas
Noé
Noël
Norbert
Odilon
Olivier
Onésime
Pascal
Patrice
Paul
Philippe
Pierre
Placide
Pons
Prosper
Quentin
Rainier
Raoul
Raphaël
Raymond
Régis
Rémy
René
Reynaud
Richard
Robert
Roch
Rodolphe
Rodrigue
Roger
Roland
Romain
Rosaire
Ruben
Salomon
Samuel
Sébastien
Séraphin
Serge
Sévère
Séverin
Simon
Sylvain
Sylvestre
Télesphore
Théodore
Théophile
Thibault
Thierry
Thomas
Timothée
Toussaint
Urbain
Valentin
Valère
Valéry
Vespasien
Victor
Vincent
Vivien
Xavier
Yves
Zacharie

For some real-life inspiration, here are lists of famous 19th century and 20th century French people, courtesy of Wikipedia. Notice that many of the Frenchman have double-barreled, triple-barreled, even quadruple-barreled given names. (Daguerre himself was named Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre.)

Source: The First Photograph of a Human

One-Hit Wonder Baby Names from the 1880s

The names below are “one-hit wonder” names that ranked among the 1,000 most popular U.S. baby names only once–sometime during the 1880s.

This list is much longer than the 1940s and 1950s lists, but it’s also probably a lot less reliable. Why? Because the SSA‘s baby name data for the late 1800s and early 1900s is pretty skewed. As a result, a lot of random names (and not-quite-names) managed to rank among the statistical “top 1,000” during this period.

Girls

  • 1880 – Adina, Almyra, Chanie, Chrissie, Clemie, Cordella, Dayse, Delina, Delle, Elmire, Elzada, Estie, Fronnie, Lovisa, Lucina, Manerva, Manervia, Minervia, Neppie, Nolie, Orilla, Rillie, Sybilla, Tella, Thursa
  • 1881 – Achsah, Ala, Alabama, Amey, Chestina, Chloie, Crissie, Daisye, Dema, Dollye, Eithel, Mila, Senora, Siddie, Sylvania, Tiney, Zilpah
  • 1882 – Affie, Arah, Artelia, Birdella, Cathern, Cilla, Elizbeth, Fannye, Francina, Genevra, Iza, Jerusha, Loda, Lucetta, Lucindy, Luda, Mahalie, Modena, Nanna, Nelie, Olena, Sinda, Vicy
  • 1883 – Almina, Argie, Beatrix, Cappie, Caro, Cloe, Deetta, Dorathea, Ermine, Felicie, Icey, Junia, Lovey, Marianita, Mattye, Pearla, Simona
  • 1884 – Alzina, Annice, Georganna, Leala, Lurana, Milly, Nealy, Olivine, Oney, Savilla, Sussie, Theodocia, Violetta
  • 1885 – Aurilla, Dosia, Emmy, Essa, Ica, Ilma, Lolla, Medora, Octa
  • 1886 – Alwilda, Angele, Betha, Clytie, Ermina, Hilah, Louisiana, Metha, Oline, Pricilla
  • 1887 – Alwine, Anice, Clemma, Eppie, Gustie, Octavie, Orelia
  • 1888 – Francies, Margretta, Orra, Pairlee, Pallie
  • 1889 – Chessie, Erla, Herma, Lulah, Noemie

Boys

  • 1880: Agustus, Baldwin, Candido, Ceylon, Clemente, Firman, Friend, Hays, Hence, Hunt, Isam, Jabez, Obed, Rafe, Redden, Salomon, Sannie, Tilden
  • 1881 – Ambers, Cas, Casimiro, Dixon, Elonzo, Emry, Erving, Esequiel, Manly, Marius, Marrion, Mercer, Obe, Philo, Primus, Prosper, Pryor, Roll, Wiliam, Wing, York
  • 1882 – Alanzo, Alby, Alcee, Auguste, Caswell, Clabe, Ell, Greene, Hansford, Lone, Marsh, Pearley, Wenzel
  • 1883 – Blanchard, Bose, Charle, Emett, Grove, Hanson, Jep, Jeptha, Linzy, Lute, Milas, Thurlow
  • 1884 – Blain, Bowman, Bunk, Donaciano, Ebenezer, Ignatz, Odin, Oley, Osborn, Shep, Vollie
  • 1885 – Drury, Elon, Fielding, Fleet, Fount, Lark, Lim, Nim, North, Orvis, Reason, Virge, Worley, Zenas
  • 1886 – Acey, Algernon, Amasa, Amil, Calhoun, Colbert, Elby, Fuller, Ham, Lilburn, Lovett, Pratt, Ruffin
  • 1887 – Bliss, Dorr, Ethelbert, Gilford, Gilman, Graves, Hillery, Shepherd
  • 1888 – Benjman, Celestino, Hart, Hilmer, Le, Liston, Lott, Nils, Vere
  • 1889 – Abie, Alver, Anatole, Boone, Branch, Bush, Claiborne, Edw, Fed, Governor, Hjalmar, Levin, Redmond

All one-hit wonder lists: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s.