Lucius, Lucien, Luka: Getting to Luke

Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of MindorLuke is a big name.

Not only is he a major figure in the New Testament, but there’s Cool Hand Luke and Luke Skywalker.  From athletes and artists to musicians and politicians, it is tough to list all of the many accomplished Lukes.

Their number is sure to increase, too.  Luke has ranked in the US boys’ Top 100 since 1992, and he currently sits at #37 – an all-time high.  He is similarly popular throughout the English-speaking world.

But let’s say that you prefer a longer name for your son.  Maybe your last name is super-short, or maybe you’re just into longer given names

Options abound.

Read on for some ideas about how to get to Luke.

Luca, Luka – Chances are that most parents who opt for Luca aren’t going to shorten it.  But you could – and if you’re ambivalent about a boys’ name ending with ‘a’, the presence of the rock solid Luke as a possible short form might feel like a safety net.

Lucan – Ancient Roman poet Marcus Annaeus Lucanus was better known as Lucan.  He was BFFs with Emperor Nero until the pair quarreled and things ended badly for the poet.  Perhaps that’s part of the reason little of his poetry survives.  There’s also a Knight of the Round Table in Arthurian legend called Lucan.  Despite being rare – just 11 boys received the name in 2012 – he’d fit right in, somewhere between the very popular Luke and other familiar names like Logan.

Lucas, Lukas – The logical formal name for Luke, and a very popular choice, too.  At #27, Lucas slightly outranks his brother Luke in the US.

Lucero – A Spanish surname from luz – light, Lucero is also a celestial reference.  Lucero del alba is the morning star.  The only trouble with getting Luke from Lucero is that the ‘c’ in Lucero makes an ‘s’ sound – LOO sehr oh.

Lucian, Lucien – Two of my favorites, related to Lucius but without the Harry Potter villain link.

Lucianus – Looking for something elaborate?  Lucianus – a Roman family name worn by a second century writer – is probably the longest name on this list.

LuciferDon’t do it.  Yes, I have Lucifer on this list.  And yes, he’s derived from lux – light.  And yes, his sound is incredibly appealing.  But all of that said, even if you’re not a person of faith, this is the kind of jaw-dropping name that results in too much attention.  For life.

Lucius – Worn by two early kings of Rome, plus many a distinguished Ancient Roman.  Today he’s better known as the patriarch of the Malfoy clan in the Harry Potter universe, a bad guy whose kiddo torments Harry starting with Book One.  But Lucius is no Lucifer.  With history aplenty aside from the fictional character, Lucius is wearable in 2012, along with Julius, Atticus, and lots of other ends-with-us names for boys.

Gianluca, Jean-Luc –  Double names like John Luke are possibilities, but some of the most appealing possibilities are imports.  I love the sound of Gianluca, the Italian equivalent of John Luke.  Jean-Luc brings to mind Star Trek: The Next Generation, but it is a perfectly possible name.  Still, Gianluca strikes me as the better possibility in our age of celeb sibsets like Matteo and Luca.

Are there other names that belong on this list?  Would you consider any of these names to get to Luke, or do you think that Luke stands on his own?

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  1. Jeannine says

    Thanks for the shout-out to Lucien. 😉 We just returned home today with our new little Lucien. — On the topic of famous Lukes, there’s also Lucky Luke, the Belgian comic strip character.

  2. says

    I like Lucian, but I would call him Lucian and not Luke or Luc. There are so many little Lukes, Lucas, and Lucases running around my neighborhood that I would like to avoid the confusion.

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