Covering a vast swathe of South America, Brazil boasts a culture that’s both diverse and fascinating. And with influences from Portugal, Spain, and even some French and Latin, Brazilian baby names are just as inspiring.
We’ve found 85 of our favorites, from Ademir to Zina, to give you some name ideas for your future little filho or filha.
How do surnames work in Brazil?
First off, you might have noticed that Brazilian last names tend to be pretty long.
Why do Brazilians have two names? Because children take both their mother’s and their father’s surname (usually their mother’s comes first).
So, if your mother’s surname was Silva Dominguez, and your father’s was Oliveira Ramos, your surname would be Dominguez Ramos (i.e. a combination of the surnames of both your grandfathers).
When women get married, it’s traditional to replace their mother’s surname with their new father-in-law’s part of their husband’s surname.
What are some popular names in Brazil?
You’ve probably already heard a lot of the most popular first names in Brazil because they’re used all over the world.
For girls, the current top 10 includes:
And for boys, the list showcases some of the most common Brazilian names, which are often Portuguese forms of biblical names like John (João), Mark (Marcos), and Peter (Pedro).
- Luiz (sometimes spelled Luis)
Brazilian girl names
Brazilian female names can be the perfect combination of beautiful and strong, and often have a musical feel. Here are some of the best:
- Alandra: Meaning “protector of mankind”.
- Alazna: The feminine form of Alonzo.
- Alice: It sounds English, it has German origins, and it’s on the rise in Brazil.
- Augustinha: Meaning “to increase”. This is one of many names on the list which can trace its roots back to Latin.
- Aurea: Meaning “golden”, and related to Aurora, meaning “dawn”.
- Amanda: A Latin name meaning “worthy of love”.
- Beatriz: Meaning “the one who brings joy”.
- Belmira: This is a place in Columbia, and also a Brazilian first name meaning “beautiful voyage”.
- Constancta: A strong girl’s name meaning “steadfast and persistent”.
- Benigna: An Italian name that’s more popular in Brazil. It means “kind-hearted”.
- Brazilia: The new capital of Brazil would make a great name for a baby girl.
- Bruna: Meaning “dark-haired”.
- Camilla: A Latin name from the term for a temple servant. In Arabic, it’s also related to the word for beauty.
- Clara: Meaning “bright and clear”.
- Daiane: The Portuguese version of Diane.
- Edite: A Brazilian version of Edith, meaning “blessed”.
- Eloa: Meaning “sun warrior”.
- Iara: This name is gender-neutral in Brazil, and it means “cheerful and happy”.
- Jessica: A name that goes back to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
- Julia: Meaning “youthful”.
- Kiania: Meaning “new dawn”.
- Lecia: Another name that means “joyful”.
- Luciana: Related to names like Luca and Lucia, this Italian name means “light”.
- Manuella: A feminine name related to Emanuel, meaning “God is with us”.
- Sandra: AKA “protector of man”.
- Sophia: Originally a Greek word for wisdom, this name is popular around the world.
- Teressa: A variation on Theresa.
- Valentina: The meanings include “love”, “strength”, and “health”.
- Vanessa: A name related to butterflies.
- Vittoria: Meaning “victory”.
- Yara: A traditional name that means “mother of the water”.
- Zina: A cool Z name for girls that’s related to Zeus.
Brazilian boy names
One of the most common names for boys in Brazil is actually Junior, when they’re named after their father, or Neto, when they’re named after their grandfather. But if that doesn’t float your boat, there are plenty more to choose from:
- Ademir: Meaning “glorious” or “war-like” depending on whether you trace it back through German or Portuguese.
- Alexandre: A French form of Alexander, meaning “defender”.
- Alexio: Another version of Alexander.
- Anastacio: Meaning “resurrection”.
- Bernardo: For boys who’re going to be “as strong as a bear”.
- Bruno: This name means “brown”.
- Daniel: A popular Biblical name.
- Davi: Another name from the Bible, this time a Portuguese version of David.
- Eduardo: Meaning “wealthy guardian”.
- Faren: A gorgeous gender-neutral Brazilian name that means “handsome”.
- Felipe: A Spanish and Portuguese version of Phillip.
- Gabriel: An angelic name meaning “God is my strength”.
- Gaspar: This version of Jasper means “treasure”.
- Gomes: A surname that’s also used as a first name, this simply means “man”.
- Gustavo: Meaning “protected by God”.
- Hayle: A name that dates back to the Portuguese colonization of Brazil. It means “someone who lives in a hollow”.
- Jaren: A Hebrew name meaning “he descends”.
- Lucio: Meaning “light”.
- Marcelo: Another elegant variation on the classic Mark or Marcos.
- Miguel: The Spanish and Portuguese form of Michael.
- Neymar: This is the name of a famous Brazilian soccer player. Apparently, it’s a combination of the planets Neptune and Mars.
- Pascoa: A name in the same family as the French Pascal – this would be perfect for a child born around Easter.
- Quim: A unique Brazilian boy name that’s actually a shortened form of Joaquim.
- Rafael: Meaning “God has healed”.
- Raimundo: Meaning “wise defender”.
- Rio: In Spanish and Portuguese, Rio means “river”. It’s also a cool reference to Rio de Janeiro, one of the most famous cities in Brazil.
- Rodrigo: Meaning “powerful”.
- Santos: Saint names are popular in Brazil, and Santiago means “St James”. Why not just Santos (“saints”)?
- Salvador: Both a geographical name (in reference to El Salvador) and a name meaning “savior”.
- Silva: This traditional Brazilian surname means “by the forest”.
- Thiago: Meaning “May God protect you”. It shares its origins with the name James.
- Tristao: Meaning “outcry”.
- Valentim: A variant on the classic name Valentine.
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And if you’re still on the hunt for a name with a South American flavor, check out these articles:
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