Where did the baby name Jeanluc come from in 1987?

The character Jean-Luc Picard from the TV series "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987-1994).
Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek

The compound French name Jeanluc first appeared in the U.S baby name data in 1987:

  • 1993: 63 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1992: 65 baby boys named Jean-Luc [peak usage]
  • 1991: 46 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1990: 26 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1989: 21 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1988: 14 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1987: 8 baby boys named Jean-Luc [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Captain Jean-Luc (pronounced zhon look) Picard of the starship Enterprise.

Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, was the central character of the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, which premiered in late 1987 and ran until mid-1994.

The character, though born and raised in 24th-century France, was a native English speaker. How? According to the show, French had become an obscure language by the 2300s. And yet, interestingly, the people of English-speaking future-France were still getting very traditional French names. Picard’s parents were named Maurice and Yvette, for instance. (Do you think this is a believable scenario?)

The names Geordi and Riker also debuted during the years TNG was on the air. They were likely influence by the characters Will Riker (the first officer) and Geordi La Forge (the chief engineer, played by LeVar Burton).

The only other Star Trek name I’ve blogged about so far is Uhura, but there are more on the way…

In the meanwhile, what do you think of the name Jean-Luc?

Sources: Picard – Star Trek, SSA

Image: Screenshot of Star Trek

5 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Jeanluc come from in 1987?

  1. We still give our children ancient Greek and Roman names even though, two millennia later, no one speaks those languages any more. I can see people still clinging to history in naming their children in another two millennia from now!n

  2. Hearing the name Jean-Luc, I think of the French film director Jean-Luc Godard. But I agree that the Jean-Luc debut in 1987 is probably due to the Star Trek character.

  3. If the Jean-Lucs were disproportionately from Florida, then Haitian immigration may also have contributed to this trend.

  4. @Sara – I could certainly see that as well! No doubt that many of the traditional/historical names we use today will continue to see use long into the future. It just seemed odd to me that, in this hypothetical 3-name sample we have from future-France, all 3 names are so traditionally French. I guess that’s the part that seems unlikely to me. I would expect there to be an incredible amount of diversity in first names at that point, but this sample doesn’t reflect anything but traditionalism.

    @Frank B. – I think Haitians in Florida may have been an influence, but a bit later on. Five babies were named Jean-Luc in Florida for three years in a row — 1995, 1996, 1997 — but that’s the only time the name is on the Florida list.

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