The land of cheese, wine, and fashion, France is well-known for its delicious cuisine and passionate people, who are renowned for their pursuit of finer things in life, be it art, food, or the language. Also, the French are very proud of their language and lay great emphasis on using the correct pronunciation and form, especially when it comes to names.
Did You Know?
~ French last names are different from regular English last names and can be difficult to pronounce.
~ The concept of last names, or descriptive names, can be traced back to the eleventh century France, where the concept of last names was born.
~ The introduction of last names became extremely important, because it was getting very difficult to distinguish between individuals with the same first names.
~ Today, the French generally have one, two, or more names. Only the first name is used on a daily basis, and the remaining two are only used when the individual is dealing with social documentation.
~ According to some sources, a child’s last name, until recently, was his father’s. In some cases where the father’s identity was unknown, or for some reason, the father’s name could not be discussed, the child inherited the mother’s name.
~ A new law introduced by the French allows both the parents to choose a last name, which they can use for all their children.
~ In most cases, the child is given the father’s or mother’s name, but some parents also use two last names, which are also known as double-barreled names.
The Origin of French Last Names
~ Most French last names were picked from the parent’s name.
~ Some names were occupational last names; meaning, the names were based on the occupation of the person.
~ Many others were decided on the unique personality traits of an individual.
~ Lastly, geographical locations played a very important role in deciding an individual’s last name.
Common French Last Names
~ Martin – From Saint Martin, a patron saint of the French Land
~ Bernard – Saint Bernard, bold as a bear
~ Dubois – Belonging to the woods
~ Thomas – From Saint Thomas, the famous disciple of Jesus
~ Robert – This last name is derived from the German language and it means bright flame
~ Richard – This royal name means a hard rule which should be followed
~ Petit – Small in size
~ Durand – It’s derived from the term Durandus which means everlasting in Latin language
~ Leroy – This name symbolizes a warrior
~ Moreau – Medium dark complexion
~ Simon – From the world-famous saint Simon
~ Laurent – derived from Saint Laurent
~ Michel – Derived from Hebrew language which means someone similar to God
~ Garcia – A very popular last name in the Spanish language, it means grace
Popular French Last Names
~ David – It comes from the Hebrew language, the term in Hebrew means beloved
~ Bertrand – Term from the German language which means bright and energetic
~ Roux – One with red hair
~ Vincent – From saint Vincent, in Latin it means a winner
~ Fournier – A baker by profession
~ Morel – Someone with a dark complexion
~ Girard – From the German language, it means as bold as a spear
~ André – Giant or manly
~ Lefèvre – A Smith
~ Mercier – A shopkeeper
~ Dupont – Derived from the Latin word “Pons” meaning bridge
~ Lambert – Land of the light
~ Bonnet – One who makes bonnet
~ François – The one from France
~ Martinez – Son of Mars
Interesting French Names
In France, the word ‘surnom‘ (surname) means above the first name.