Best Bilingual Baby Names for Multicultural Families
Choosing a baby name isn’t easy. And if you’re having a child in a multicultural family, choosing a bilingual baby name can be even more complicated.
Luckily, we came up with a list of some of the best bilingual boy names and girl names that translate well between English and the various Romance languages, especially Spanish, French and Italian.
Using popular baby name catalogs — that is, Nameberry, BabyCenter and the U.S. Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of baby names — we narrowed it down to our favorite common and unique names for your bilingual babe.
Sophia, or Sofia, is a Greek name meaning “wisdom.” An eternally popular name, Sofia, currently ranks near the top at No. 17 on the SSA list. Sofia is also popular worldwide in Mexico, Russia, Denmark and Italy, where it ranks No. 1.
Of course, you could always go with the variation of Sofie, which is currently Norway's No. 1 choice for girls.
Adrian, which translates to "man from Adria" or "dark one," comes from Latin. It ranked No. 62 on the SSA list of most popular names for boys in 2018.
Adrian is an easy-to-pronounce name in several languages, especially English and Spanish, and is a popular but not too popular name for the times.
The female version of Adrian is also Latin and has the exact same meaning. Another variant of Adriana is Adrienne.
It’s a common name in Latin America and ranked No. 240 on the SSA list of most popular names for girls in 2018.
Samuel is a Hebrew name meaning “told by God.” It comes from the Old Testament, and it’s female version, Sam, is also popular for girls. In the Old Testament, Samuel was a prophet, the last judge of Israel and the first prophet after Moses.
Ranking No. 28 in 2000 to now No. 21 in 2018 on the SSA’s list, Samuel is only growing in popularity.
Originally a Spanish name meaning “noble,” Alicia ranked No. 391 in terms of popularity in 2018 on the SSA list of most popular kids’ names.
Actress Alicia Silverstone, and singer and songwriter Alicia Keys both bear this name.
A Greek and Latin name meaning “man from Sebasta,” the name Sebastian has been popular for decades.
In 2018, it was the 18th most popular baby name in the U.S. It’s so popular, in fact, that actress America Ferrara gave her son this moniker last year. However, she’s planning on using the sweet nickname, Baz.
A variation of the classic name Caroline, which means “free,” it can also refer to the popular American states. In 2018, Carolina ranked No. 425 in terms of popularity on the SSA list.
In English, Carolina has a nice Southern feel to it, while in the Romance languages, it sounds melodic, powerful and feminine.
A biblical favorite and a Hebrew name meaning “God is my judge,” Daniel was at the top of the list in terms of name popularity, according to the SSA website. It came in at No. 15 for baby boy names in 2018.
Daniel was the name of the of the biblical hero who’s trust in God saved him when he was thrown into the lion's den by his royal master, Darius — which also happens to be another nice bilingual baby name for a boy that didn’t make this list.
The male version of Daniel, Daniela remains a relatively popular name. It ranked No. 195 on the SSA list of most popular baby girl names in 2018.
Daniela is a classic, beautiful name for a girl that will never go out of style in both English and the Romance languages.
The name of the archangel Gabriel that heralded the birth of the baby Jesus appears in Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious texts.
Gabriel ranked No. 35 in popularity among baby boy names for 2018, according to the SSA.
The name Elena claims Spanish, Latin and Greek roots and means “bright shining light.”
A pan-European version of Helen, Elena is a classic name, coming in at No. 66 on the SSA's top 1,000 baby names list. It's currently very popular in Spain as well.
Ian, a Scottish-Gaelic name, it is the Scottish form of John, which means “God is gracious.”
In 2018, the boy’s name ranked No. 79 on the SSA’s list. This name is also popular in the U.K., especially since the 1970s when Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, gained notoriety.
The feminine form of the Latin name, Julius, as in the famous Roman ruler Julius Caesar, it also means “youthful.”
A popular name on the SSA list, Julia comes in at No. 93. But it's even more popular in places like the Netherlands, Spain, France and Germany. Other variations of the name you can try are Juliet, Juliette, Juliana or the Italian spelling, Giulia.
The male version of Julia, Julian also has Latin roots and means “youthful” or “downy.”
Julian has remained steadily popular in the U.S., as the 36th most popular baby name for boys in 2018. It is also highly popular in the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden.
“Renowned warrior,” or Luisa, is a classic Italian name. The name Luisa hasn’t made the SSA’s most popular baby names list since 2006, when it ranked 998th in terms of popularity.
But it’s a pretty and feminine bilingual name for baby girls and one that will make her unique among her peers.
However, the male variation of Luisa, which also means “renowned warrior,” continues to be a very popular Hispanic name in the U.S.
Luis is currently No. 126 on the SSA list, after falling from the No. 49 spot in 2000.
Natalia, a Russian girl’s name, means “birthday of the Lord.” As such, it is a favorite name for girls born around Christmas.
The name Natalia has remained popular throughout the years, coming in at No. 114 on the SSA list.
Olivia, or “olive tree,” is a Latin name and one of the most popular names on this list.
From ranking No. 16 on the SSA list in 2000 to No. 2 in 2018, this name is all the rage these days. That's also the case in Canada and the U.K., where it ranks No. 1. But if you’re looking for a more unique bilingual baby name, this probably isn’t the right one for your new babe.
Meaning “God spear, champion warrior or deer-lover,” Oscar is of English-Irish origins. It is also a Swedish royal name, which makes it very popular in Sweden.
It is also common in Spanish-speaking countries and is growing in popularity in the U.S. The name ranked No. 206 on the SSA list in 2018.
A beautiful name of Russian and Scandinavian origin meaning “wisdom,” Sonia is a beautiful, yet remarkably uncommon name, coming in at No. 981 on the SSA list.
But it’s a good choice for parents looking for a unique, yet traditional, feminine name for their baby girl.
Meaning, “man from Lucania,” Lucas is of both Greek and Latin origins. In 2018, the name Lucas was tremendously popular among parents in the U.S., coming in at No. 8 on the SSA list. It is another name that's very popular in Sweden and the Netherlands.
“American Idol” alum Josh Gracin gave his son the shortened version, Luka, when he was born on Jan. 13, 2020.
Ranked No. 215 on the SSA list, this Spanish, Portuguese name means “grace.”
However, Anna, the Hebrew variation of the name, ranks No. 54.
This name has fallen off the top 100 list to No. 163 in recent years.
The boy’s name of Spanish and Italian origin means “priceless one.” Tony and Anthony are other common variations.
Andrea means “strong and manly” and is of German, English and Italian origin.
While it’s considered a feminine form of Andrew, it was originally the Italian male form of Andrew and is considered a gender-neutral name across many European cultures.
The name David is a classic that never goes out of style, having consistently been ranked in the top 25 boys’ names for the past 20 years.
The name of Hebrew origin means “beloved,” and the Star of David is the symbol of Judaism.
With the popularity of “Frozen,” you better believe Elsa is a popular name across several cultures, making the top 100 lists in places like Spain, France and Sweden.
In the U.S., however, it’s still relatively uncommon, ranking only No. 888 in 2018.
Derived from the Latin “leo,” which means “lion,” Leo has always been popular among the Latin languages as a nickname for Leonardo. In Germany, it’s a nickname for Leon and Leopold.
Thirteen popes have donned the name, and, of course, Leonardo DiCaprio has made the name popular again. It currently ranks No. 50 on the SSA list.
A name of Spanish, Italian and Hungarian origin, Emilia means “rival.”
Several new parents are considering it as a popular variation of Emily. Of course, “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke could be to blame for its recent surge in popularity. In just three years, it jumped from No. 145 in 2015 to No. 58 in 2018.
Marco means “warlike” and is a boys’ name of Spanish, Italian origin.
Of course, the great Italian explorer, Marco Polo, is likely what comes to mind for most parents-to-be. Other variations include Marc or Marcus.
This name has been climbing the SSA girls’ list for the past 20 years, rising from No. 294 in 2000 to No. 75 in 2018.
This Hebrew name for girls, meaning "life," has become especially popular due to actress Eva Longoria. Other variations include Ava and Eve.
Mateo means “gift of god” and is of Spanish, Italian and Latin origin.
It is a particularly popular Spanish name and currently ranks No. 37 on the SSA list.
This name of Latin origin means “bitter or wished-for child” and is a variation of the ever-popular Mary.
Popular throughout history, the name Maria was given to several movie characters, including the leads in “West Side Story” and “The Sound of Music.”
A Latin name that means “conqueror,” Victor is especially popular in Denmark, Belgium and Spain.
The female version of Victor, Victoria has a Latin origin meaning of “victory.”
The name became especially popular in the English-speaking world after the reign of Queen Victoria. Tory or Tori make excellent nicknames.
This boys’ name has been in the Top 100 list for 20 years, currently ranking at No. 60.
Of Hebrew origin meaning “high mountain; exalted, enlightened,” this name dates back to the Old Testament. Aaron was the older brother of Moses and was appointed by God to be his brother’s spokesman. Popular actors Aaron Eckhart and Aaron Paul keep this name ever-so-cool.
A beautiful girls’ name of Irish origin meaning “handsome, cheerful,” Alana is a name that can be pronounced easily in most languages.
Alanis (as in singer Alanis Morisette) is another variation.
Felix has a Latin origin meaning of “happy, fortunate.”
It’s growing in popularity abroad and in the U.S., where it currently ranks No. 231.
The name of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty has a Latin origin meaning of “dawn.”
It has quickly climbed the popularity charts, too, currently ranking No. 44, after just entering the top 100 in 2015. The nickname “Rory” also makes this name quite unique.
Another classic boys’ name that never goes out of style, Benjamin currently ranks No. 6 on the SSA list after holding a spot in the top 30 for the past 20 years.
This biblical name has several nickname options, too, including Ben, Benny and Benji.
It’s hard to not think of the Simon and Garfunkel song when uttering this Latin name that means “blind.”
Celia and Cecily are other popular variations for new parents to use.
Especially popular among Hispanic families, Edgar is of English origin and means “wealthy spearman.”
This name has fallen in and out of the top 100 names list in recent years, but it’s been steadily popular for the past 10.
Of Latin origin, Clara means “bright, clear.”
Often deemed a Spanish or French name, Nicolas is actually of Greek origin and means “victory of the people.”
Of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian origin, Cristina is a variation of Christina, which means “a Christian” in Greek.
A Latin name meaning “citizen of Rome,” Roman has climbed the baby name charts in the past decade, from No. 205 in 2008 to No. 85 in 2018.
Elisa is considered a variation of Elizabeth and is of Spanish and Italian origin.
It means “pledged to God.”
This name of Latin origin means “warlike.”
Popular in Chile, Spain and Austria, the name, Martin, has been given to great leaders including the founder of Protestantism Martin Luther and, of course, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
The No. 1 girls’ name on the SSA list, Emma is also incredibly popular in countries like France, the U.K. and Australia.
Rather fittingly, it means “universal” and is of German origin.
Hugo is of German, Spanish and Portuguese origin and means “mind, intellect.”
It’s wildly popular in countries like Spain, France and the U.K. However, it currently only ranks No. 422 on the SSA list.
Zoe is another name with mass appeal and has been for some time. It currently ranks No. 40 on the SSA list, but has been in the top 100 since 2000.
It is of Greek origin and means “life.”
Beau is a French baby name meaning "beautiful." It's the boy version of Belle, like from "Beauty and the Beast."
It's an old name, but it has been making a comeback lately.
Gabriella is a feminine form of the name Gabriel, which is derived from Hebrew words meaning "strong" and "from God."
Gabriella is a popular name in several cultures, particularly the Italian-American and Latino communities.
Marshall is a French name that means "one who watches over horses."
The name has risen 14 places on popularity charts since 2020.
Every baby is as sweet as a a pearl, and that's just what Marguerite means.
It's also the French word for Daisy, and a popular name for babies born in the French countryside.
Alfonso, is a baby boy name with Italian origins, meaning noble.
It's an uncommon bilingual baby name, which might be a plus if you have a family full of Mateo's and Luca's.
Mila is a bilingual baby name with ties to multiple countries. It's both a form of the Spanish name "Milagros," and a nickname of many European names, like Camila and Emilia.
It's currently ranked No. 60 in popularity.
Jaime is a form of the common baby boy name James, but with a different pronunciation. It's actually pronounced "HI-may," but most people pronounce it "JAY-mee" at first glance.
It can also be a name version of "j'aime," which is French for "I love."
The bilingual baby name Maya has Hebrew roots meaning "water," and Greek roots meaning "mother."
It has been a popular name for decades. Just ask poet Maya Angelou and actress Maya Rudolf.
The baby boy name Lorenzo is the Spanish and Italian version of Lawrence.
The name is centuries old. Babies named Lorenzo share their name with Lorenzo de Medici, a patron of the arts in the era of da Vinci and Michelangelo.
The name Carmen comes from the Hebrew word for garden.
It has since become a popular Spanish name for both boys and girls. George Bizet even named his famous opera "Carmen."
Felipe is an excellent bilingual baby name that's very similar to Philip, just with a broader cultural background.
It's derived from the Greek name Philippos, meaning "lover of horses." It's particularly popular in Spain and Portugal.
This wholesome bilingual baby name has a simple meaning: farmer.
The Italian name Giorgia is typically a baby girl name, and it's much more rare than similar names like Gianna.
When you hear the bilingual baby name Remy, your first thought might be the main character of Disney's "Ratatouille."
The name actually means "oarsman" in Latin, and has been a beloved French name for over a thousand years.
Margot began as a shortened form of the French name Marguerite, meaning pearl.
Margot can also be spelled "Margaux." As the story goes, Ernest Hemmingway's daughter was named Margot, but she changed the spelling to Margaux to match the name of the wine her parents indulged in on the night of her conception.
Henri needs no explanation. It's the French version of the baby boy name Henry, and it's actually the original.
It means "ruler of the home," which is a pretty accurate name for any infant, if you ask us.
Michelle is one of those bilingual baby names that's almost universally adored. Michelle is a popular name in France and Italy before it flourished in the states.
Michelle's share their name with some pretty famous folks, including makeup guru Michelle Phan and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Baby boy name Michel shares its meaning with the more commonly known feminine form, Michelle.
It's pronounced "mee-SHELL," and it's a popular bilingual baby name in France.
Alec is a punchy nickname for Alexander, which means defender of men.
This fresh take is often thought of as a British baby boy name, but it's actually a popular Greek name for boys.
Nadine is a bilingual baby girl name with French origins, and it has a particularly beautiful meaning: Hope.
It was in style for much of the 1920s and 30s, before being overtaken by the more Russian version, "Nadia."
Contrary to popular belief, Adan is not just Aidan without the "i."
Baby boy name Adan is more akin to Adam, drawn from the Hebrew word meaning "earth." It's a common Spanish-American name ranked 894 in popularity.
Carina is a bilingual baby name with Latin roots and a touching meaning. It means beloved.
Carina has grown in popularity since the mid-1960s, tapering off over the past decade. If you want a name that's not obscure, but not overdone, Carina is a good choice.
Similar to other long-lived baby names, Mathis means "gift of God." This bilingual baby boy name is pronounced "mat-tees," similar to the last name of the famous painter, Matisse.
It's a fun departure from the common American name "Matthew," and it's most popular in Switzerland, Germany and France.
Ella is one of the top bilingual baby names of 2021. Ranked No. 14, it's a short version of the name Eleanor.
In English, it means "fairy-like." That's probably why it was used as the name of the main character of the popular book "Ella Enchanted."
Andres is like a debonair version of Andrew. It's a Spanish baby name meaning "warrior."
The name has gradually risen in popularity since the 1950s, and it currently ranks close to the top 200 most popular baby boy names in the U.S.
Chloe is a Greek baby girl name meaning "blooming" and "green."
This bilingual baby name is currently ranked No. 24 in the U.S., so don't choose it if you're hoping for something unique.
Anima has a fairly ambiguous sound to it, but that's a good thing. It works well in numerous languages, and its roots are just as lovely.
In Latin, it translates to "soul," and in Sanskrit it means "tiny."
Admittedly, Arya became popular in the U.S. almost single-handedly due to "Game of Thrones." Long before it was used in the series, however, it was a beautiful unisex name meaning "noble."
It can also be spelled "Aria" to imbue it with a melodious, musical message.
The sweet, soft-sounding name Asha is popular in two different cultures.
In India, the girl name Asha comes from the Sanskrit word for "wish."
Meanwhile in Africa, Asha is a variant of the name Aisha, meaning "life."
Caris is a name with both Welsh and Greek roots. The Welsh version of the name is Carys, which means love.
In Greek, the similar name Charis means "kindness" or "grace." The same special roots are behind the name Charity.
The melodic name Kala is commonly used in Hawaii as a version of the name Sarah, meaning princess. The strong name also means "virtue" in the Tamil culture.
Both meanings are fantastic, but the best part is how easy Kala is to pronounce.
Laila might seem ordinary, but it's actually tied to several different cultures. The Arabic name Leila means "night," and in Finland, it's used as a variation of the name Helga.
To most Americans, Leila is a better alternative. The name has reached the top 200 in the U.S., including variations like Layla and Leyla.
You've probably heard the name Harrison once or twice, but the shorter "Haris" is worth consideration for a multicultural name.
Haris can be considered a shortened version of Harrison, and it's also a Bosnian name that translates to "cultivator."
Malik is one of the most popular bilingual baby names ever, and it's not tough to see why. Thanks to its Arabic roots, the name means "king" or "ruler."
Most people don't realize it's also a name in Greenland meaning "wave."
Maybe baby Malik will be a water bender?
Ken sounds like a pretty average American name, but its roots are more interesting than most people are aware.
In English, it's a nickname for Kenneth, which means "born of fire" in Gaelic. If that's not cool enough, in Japan, Ken means "healthy and strong."
Move over, Barbie. We're taking back Ken.
Short names tend to be the best at bridging multiple languages and cultures. Just take Nia. It's almost impossible to mispronounce it in any language, and it has a fabulous meaning in more cultures than one.
In Swahili, Nia means "resolve," while in Welsh it means "bright." Nia is also the name of the fifth day of Kwanzaa.
Samir, or Samira for girls, is a common Arabic name that means "companion in evening talk."
It'll be a while before any new baby has the vocabulary for a deep, philosophical evening chat, but no worries. Samir also means "air" in Sanscrit.
You can do the talking while baby Samir enjoys the cool night air in peace.
Lina is commonly used as a nickname for names like Carolina and Celina, but it can easily stand all on its own.
In India, Lina comes from the Sanskrit word meaning "united," while in Arabic, it means "tender."
The idea that girls have to choose between being feminine or being strong is extremely outdated, not to mention incorrect.
Thanks to its bilingual roots, the name Raisa captures both. In Yiddish, Raisa means "rose," while in Arabic it means "leader."
Raisa was also the name of a Russian martyr in the fourth century.
Popularized by the abundantly talented Idris Elba, Idris is a great choice for someone who wants to empower their child to achieve.
It means "to study" in Arabic, while in Welsh culture it translates to "lord."
Education and leadership. Perfect.
For those who would prefer to choose a multicultural name that's familiar and easy to spell, consider Jayden. Also spelled Jaden and Jaiden, the name means "thankful" in Hebrew.
So many celebrities have boys named Jayden that it's hard to keep track of them all, but Will Smith's son Jayden is likely the most famous, alongside Britney Spears's son Jayden Jaymes.
Jesse is a Hebrew name meaning "gift," but it also has special ties to the African-American community thanks to two legendary figures.
Jesse Jackson is a renowned civil rights activist and politician, and Jesse Owens was a record-breaking runner who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games.
The meaning and origins of the name Alisha depend on how you spell it, so take your pick.
In Spanish-speaking countries, the name is spelled "Alicia," meaning noble.
In South Asian countries, it's usually spelled "Alisha" or "Aleesha," meaning "protected by God."
Dion, also spelled Deon, has both French and Greek origins. It translates to "child of heaven and earth."
Every baby is miraculous, so we think this short and sweet baby name is a winner.
The baby girl name Jasmine was popularized by Disney's animated movie "Aladdin." The name comes from the Persian word "yasmin," referring to the jasmine flower.
The name is also popular in Latin cultures, and the name is just as sweet as the scent of the Jasmine flower's prized perfume.
Last but not least, we have the short, punchy name Pax. It's like Max, but with two incredible meanings. In Vietnamese, Pax means "sky." In Latin, it means "peace" or "peaceful."
Naming a baby Pax seems like a desperate plea for him to finally sleep through the night, but maybe you'll luck out, and he'll be a great sleeper from day one.