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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Geoffrey

Number of Babies Named Geoffrey

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Geoffrey

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.

French Pronunciation + French Names

AU: 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.

CH: The letter combination “CH” is typically pronounced sh.

  • Charles, in French, is pronounced shahrl.

D, P, S, T, X, Z: 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.

Ë: 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.

É: 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.

G: 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.

H: The consonant “H” is silent.

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

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

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

J: The consonant “J” is pronounced zh.

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

LL: 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.

OI: 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.

OU: The vowel combination “OU” is pronounced oo.

  • Lilou is pronounced lee-loo.

R: 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).

TH: 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.

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

  • Laëtitia is pronounced lay-tee-sya.

W: 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.


Male Names in the Domesday Book

Male Names in the Domesday Book

I listed all the female names in the Domesday Book a while back, so today I thought I’d complete the project by listing all the male names.

The male names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (For the record, I overlooked entries in which one person’s name was used to refer to another person, e.g., “Aelfric’s uncle.”)

The most-mentioned name within each letter group is in bold.

If you make it all the way to the bottom, your reward is a top ten list. :)

A

  • Abba (2)
  • Abbud
  • Abel
  • Abraham
  • Acard (2)
  • Acwulf
  • Adam (4)
  • Adbrei
  • Adelard
  • Adelelm (4)
  • Adelo
  • Adelulf (3)
  • Adelund
  • Adulf
  • Aedi
  • Aefic (3)
  • Aelbert (4)
  • Aelfric (88)
  • Aelgeat
  • Aelhard (2)
  • Aellic (2)
  • Aelm
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  • Aelod
  • Aelred
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  • Aelsi
  • Aeschere
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  • Aescwulf (2)
  • Aethelhelm
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  • Aethelmund
  • Aethelred
  • Aethelric (2)
  • Aethelsi
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  • Aethelwin
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  • Agenet
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  • Agneli
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  • Aiulf (5)
  • Akeli
  • Aki (3)
  • Akile
  • Alan (6)
  • Albert (5)
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  • Alcolm
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  • Amalfrid
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  • Ani
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  • Austin
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B

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C

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D

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  • Dedol
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  • Durand (12)
  • Dynechaie

E

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F

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  • Freond
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  • Froger
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  • Fulbric
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  • Fulco (7)
  • Fulcran
  • Fulcred
  • Fulcric
  • Fulcwald
  • Fulcwin
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  • Fursa

G

  • Gamal (9)
  • Gamalbarn
  • Gamalkarl
  • Gamas
  • Gamilo
  • Garthulfr
  • Garwine
  • Gelder
  • Genred
  • Genust
  • Geoffrey (48)
  • Gerald (5)
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  • Gerbert
  • Gerbodo
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  • Gest
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  • Gifard (2)
  • Gilbert (33)
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  • Gilleandrais
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  • God
  • Goda (3)
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H

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I

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Y

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And now it’s time for the…

Top Ten Male Names

Which male were mentioned most often in the Domesday book? The #1 name was William, followed by Robert and Ralph:

1. William (166)
2. Robert (127)
3. Ralph (124)
4. Aelfric (88)
5. Alwin (76)
5. Hugh (76)
7. Roger (73)
8. Godwin (72)
9. Walter (64)
10. Godric (59)

Though the names in the book aren’t necessarily representative of name usage in England overall, it does make sense than William took the top spot. The Domesday Book was created a couple of decades after the Norman Invasion, at a time when the name William was very fashionable, thanks to William the Conqueror.

First Names from King Henry III’s Fine Rolls (1200s)

Henry III of EnglandI’ve got some 13th-century English names for you today!

They come from the fine rolls of King Henry III (1216–1272). The fine rolls were basically financial records. King Henry III wasn’t the first to keep them, but they “expand[ed] considerably in size and content during Henry’s reign.”

The Henry III Fine Rolls Project has translated the fine rolls from Latin to English, if you want to check them out.

Even better for our purposes, though, is this nifty database of given names in the Fine Rolls of Henry III, which shows us the most-mentioned male names and female names in the rolls.

(These lists aren’t the same as the single-year, society-wide baby name popularity lists we’re accustomed to — they cover a wide range of birth years, and a small segment of society — but they do give us a general idea of which names were the most popular during the 1200s.)

Of the 8,423 male names in the fine rolls, these were the most popular:

  1. William (1,217 mentions)
  2. John (669)
  3. Richard (495)
  4. Robert (434)
  5. Henry (376)
  6. Ralph (365)
  7. Thomas (351)
  8. Walter (346)
  9. Roger (337)
  10. Hugh (297)
  11. Geoffrey (261)
  12. Simon (218)
  13. Adam (200)
  14. Nicholas, Peter (180 each)
  15. Gilbert (157)
  16. Alan (110)
  17. Phillip (109)
  18. Reginald (88)
  19. Stephen (83)
  20. Elias (66)
  21. Alexander (65)
  22. Osbert (52)
  23. Eustace (44)
  24. Andrew, Matthew (42 each)
  25. Ranulf (40)

Other names on the men’s list: Hamo, Fulk, Payn, Waleran, Drogo, Engeram, Amfrid, Ratikin, Walkelin, Bonefey, Fulcher, Hasculf, Herlewin, Joldwin, Lefsi, Marmaduke, Orm, Albizium, Cocky, Deulobene, Gwenwynwyn, Markewart.

Of the 1,314 female names in the fine rolls, these were the most popular:

  1. Alice (140 mentions)
  2. Matilda (138)
  3. Agnes (76)
  4. Margaret (69)
  5. Joan (62)
  6. Isabella (60)
  7. Emma (37)
  8. Beatrice (34)
  9. Mabel (33)
  10. Cecilia (32)
  11. Christiana (30)
  12. Hawise (29)
  13. Juliana (27)
  14. Sibyl (25)
  15. Rose (21)
  16. Sarra (16)
  17. Helewise (15)
  18. Avice, Eleanor, Eva, Lucy (14 each)
  19. Leticia (13)
  20. Felicia (12)
  21. Isolda, Margery, Petronilla (11 each)
  22. Ascelina, Edith (10 each)
  23. Phillippa (9)
  24. Amice, Elena, Katherine, Mary, Sabina (8)
  25. Basilia, Muriel (7)

Other names on the women’s list: Albrea, Amabilia, Eustachia, Idonea, Egidia, Millicent, Amphelisa, Avegaya, Barbata, Comitessa, Frethesenta, Wulveva, Alveva, Dervorguilla, Deulecresse, Elizabeth (just 1!), Flandrina, Oriolda.

See any names you like?

Source: The Henry III Fine Rolls by David Carpenter

Need Two Cat Names? Try Gib and Tib

Cat Names Gib and Tib

Looking for a pair of cat names?

During the last centuries of the Medieval era, the most common cat names were Gib (hard G) and Tib.

Typically, Gib was used for male cats and Tib for female cats.

Gib is a diminutive of the name Gilbert. Tib is either a play on Gib or a short form of Tibert, as in Tibert the Cat, a feline character found in Reynard the Fox stories.

Geoffrey Chaucer mentions a cat named Gibbe in his The Romaunt of the Rose, written in the late 1300s.

The play Gammer Gurton’s Needle, written during the 1550s, features a (female) cat named Gib:

My nee’le, alas! Ich lost it, Hodge, what time Ich me up-hasted
To save the milk set up for thee, which Gib our cat hath wasted.

The name Gib was so ubiquitous that male cats were called Gib-cats. We might still be using that term today if not for “The Life and Adventures of a Cat” (1760), a popular tale that featured a cat named Tom. Tom inspired the term Tom-cat, which eventually replaced Gib-cat.

Sources:

Spelling Tip for Creative Baby Names – Hard G vs. Soft G

Gordana Gehlhausen was a contestant on Project Runway this season. Before the season began, I assumed her first name would be pronounced with a hard G, like Gordon. I was wrong. She pronounces her name with a soft G. I wonder how many other people also got it wrong?

Typically, when the letter G is followed by E, I or Y, it’s soft. Otherwise, it’s hard. Gentle and giant have soft G’s, while gargoyle and gurgle have hard G’s.

The rule can also be applied to names. Geoffrey and Gillian have soft G’s; Gavin, Goldie and Gus have hard G’s. (Exceptions like Gertrude and Gideon do exist.)

If you want to personalize a name that features the letter G, or substitute a G for a J, pay close attention to the vowels that follow. Taking an E out of George turns the name into a geological formation. Forcing a G into James gives you Games. (And playing Games with baby names is usually not a good idea.)