Wednesday, February 3, 2016

10 Portuguese Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

Nilo Sadi via Dribbble
Portuguese is the third most common language in the world, yet compared to other cultures, they have relatively few uniquely Portuguese names. Many names have roots in both Spain and Portugal, neighboring countries with somewhat similar languages. However, these names are used all around the world, mostly in the countries that speak Portuguese natively. Go to Brazil, Mozambique, or even some parts of India, and these names will not seem so rare. But the U.S. hasn't quite jumped on the Portuguese name bandwagon yet, so I have a few suggestions to get us started.

Bento- Ask any American what they think of when they hear the word "bento" and they will respond with "bento box." While this Japanese style of lunch might inspire a few Bentos (though, it's more commonly heard on pets), chances are, if you meet a Bento, his name is the Portuguese variation of Ben.

Breno- Breno is the Portuguese form of Brennus, a Celtic name that insinuates royalty. He's a little less foodie than Bento, but more exotic than Ben. Breno Borges is a Portuguese footballer, and probably the namesake for many a Breno.

Carmo- In Portugal, Carmo is a unisex name, although it does come from the female name Carmel. The -o ending makes it read masculine to me, so I would choose to use Carmo on a boy. The original name, Carmel, means "garden" in Hebrew, and has ties to the Virgin Mary.

Isdro- Is- names are heating up for boys (possibly the next mini-trend?) and Isdro is a great one to add to that list. He's a more contemporary-sounding variation of Isidore, a name that hasn't been in the top 1000 since the 1920s. You could call your Isdro by the unisex nickname Izzy, but I also like the sound of Dro.

Leandro- Most American readers will want to pronounce Leandro the Spanish way--lee-ANN-droh. The Portuguese version varies only slightly--lee-AHN-droo--like adding an extra syllable to Andrew. He currently ranks at #784. I'll be curious to see if that number goes up this Spring.

Matteus- Matthew is one of those names that has a variant everywhere you go, and Portugal is no exception. Matteus is one of my favorite ones. He's short, easy to say, and a global pick--that's right, he also has roots in Norway and Sweden.

Nilo- Bored by the dated and frankly overused nicknames for Daniel? Use Nilo instead. He's a Spanish/Portuguese (and possibly Finnish?) diminutive, and the perfect length for a nickname. So there's no confusion, he does not rhyme with Milo, he sounds like NEE-low.

Rui- Speaking of global names, how about Rui? Surprisingly enough, he's used in Portugal, Japan, and China. However, he's most popular in Portugal, where he's ranked #52 (but falling). The Portuguese version is a variation of Roderick, which means "famous ruler."

Sansao- Sansao is my favorite name of today's list. He's uniquely Portuguese--their version of Samson--and I think he'd make a great American import. With Samson rising in popularity, I can definitely see Sansao becoming a more mainstream choice--if only he can get on peoples' radar screens.

Urbano- The name Urban would be so appealing, but I fear it's one of those word names that will never catch on, simply because he's too "wordy." But I can picture Urbano being a hit. He has an exotic yet familiar sound, and the wordiness of Urban is cut by the extra syllable. Two thumbs up for Urbano.

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