Baby Name of the Day: Roux

Chocolat (2000 film)

Chocolat (2000 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rue is among the Hunger Games names most likely to catch on.  Roux was launched more than a decade ago by a very different movie.

Thanks to Night for suggesting Roux as our Baby Name of the Day.

The first time I heard Roux as a given name was in 2000’s dreamy Chocolat, a movie adapted from a novel.  A dreamy romance set in a fictional French village circa 1959, the story centers on a woman named Vianne and her young daughter Anouk.  Vianne has come to the village from parts unknown to open a chocolate shop.  It’s a wild success, but it also puts Vianne at odds with the village elders.  As for Roux, well, he’s a gypsy and just as much of an outsider as Vianne.  All ends well, with Roux and Vianne making a life together.  In the movie, Vianne is played by Juliette Binoche, and Roux by Johnny Depp.

Depp’s dashing character put the name on the radar, but only just.  After all, Roux was a nickname in the story, given in honor of the gypsy’s hair color.  And the very look of the name is off-putting, inviting English-speakers to pronounce it rux, rhymes with trucks.

Even if we get it right, our thoughts are likely to turn not to chocolate desserts but to sauces.  A roux is a mixture of flour and butter, a key ingredient for several sauces and part of preparing gravies and soups, too.  It is a foundation of French cooking, but a similar process is found in other cuisines.  If we don’t name our children Sauté, then Roux is also likely to seem like a non-starter, unless you’re naming a restaurant.

Except that right now there are two forces converging to lift Roux as a possibility:

  • The roo sound, found in Rue and Ruth and Ruby, feels very current.
  • Roux is, ultimately a color term from the Latin russus – a reddish brown; russet.  With color names from Violet to Gray all the rage, any hue seems like a possibility, even an obscurity like Roux.

Six girls were given the name Roux in 2011, along with thirteen Rues.  It isn’t a blip on the boys’ side, though names like Ruben and Rufus could make the sound appealing across gender lines.

And yet, Roux skews feminine, both because of the gussied-up appearance of the spelling (Margaux, anyone?) and a host of pop culture associations, from the Hunger Games heroine to the bitter evergreen to Golden Girl Rue McLanahan.

So file this one as a maybe – a quirky color name with culinary overtones that just might work anyway.

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27 Comments

Roux is an absolutely beautiful name and the only thing that is slightly preventing me in going with it is its connotations with making a roux to thicken a sauce…although saying that to be honest there are many people that don’t even know what a roux is!…I think I would only go with this if I have a wee laddy as feel its more of a boys name personally…or maybe thinking Rudi shortened to roo/ rue / roux…my son is named Beau so would work really well…don’t know why I’ve gone the French route as my son is half Scottish and half English! Xxxx

I love the name Roux. I have been pretty much set on this name for a little girl since first watching Chocolat years ago. I’m a huge Johnny Depp fan. My husband is the only person to agree with me when it comes to loving this name. We will be trying to get pregnant in the next few months, and I’m wondering what would be a great middle name to go with Roux. Any suggestions? Kerrie, Roux Eden is very pretty.

I think Roux works well with something more classic or feminine in the middle space.

Roux Vivienne
Roux Isobel
Roux Celeste
Roux Cecily
Roux Elisabeth
Roux Coraline
Roux Marigold
Roux Katharine

Just a few thoughts …

Thanks Elizabeth.

I think both Roux or Ruth would be nice as a middle name. I think Ava Roux Coffey flows really nicely and if she could be a red head then it would be a lovely reference to her hair however I think Ruth would be nice as it’s a family name.

Let us know what you choose when your little bundle of joy comes along.

I just stumbled across this page today, article written 27/06/12….I had my little girl 2days later and we named her (as planned months in advance) Roux Eden Maltby.

My boss suggested the name after watching the Masterchef final (i.e. Michel Roux Jr) as I had said I love surnames for 1st names, French names and a name that no other child is likely to have in her class when she goes to school. Although I am not wanting to name her after the famous chef (and all the others associated mentioned above) we really love the name and how it’s spelt.

We also thought of if it works for her being all ages and thought as follows:-

For a baby / child – it’s cute
For a teenager / young adult – it’s quirky
For an older person – it’s elegant.

I can honestly say it has divided opinion with family and the people we know. The older generation or people who like traditional names they either haven’t passed comment or said they’ll get used to it. Whereas it has tended to be our peers or the younger generation who have said they don’t just like it, they love it.

Either way, we love it, no matter her name, friends and family will love her and if you ignore the other meanings of the name, it in isolation is just a really beautiful name which is both aesthetically pleasing to the eye when written and phonetically pleasing to the ear when spoken (in my opinion!).

I completely agree – ‘if you ignore the other meanings of the name, it in isolation is just a really beautiful name which is both aesthetically pleasing to the eye when written and phonetically pleasing to the ear when spoken’. Roux Eden is beautiful.

I am still completely torn between Roux and Ruth for our baby’s middle name – Ruth is a family name on both sides – part of me loves that old traditional feel and part of me really wants something different and unique that can also be a name option for her because Ava is a little more popular of a first name than I would prefer. Perhaps I will hold off on the decision until we meet her face to face.

I’m expecting in October and I’m considering Roux as a middle name: Ava Roux Coffey. We were loving Ruby and Rose, but a close friend’s daughter is named Rose already and Ava Ruby Coffey was too hokey with all the vowel – y sounds at the end. I like Ruth very much, but Roux is so much more fun and different- and I think a middle name should have some fun. She is most likely going to be red-headed, as her father is redheaded and I have red hair in my family as well. Any input would be greatly appreciated, we’re keeping the name a secret until her birth, so I’m not asking friends or family.

Hmm… As a French-speaking American, none of these seem plausible to me as names IRL. I do like the sound of rousse [rooss] as a name for a boy, but that’s the feminine form of roux [meaning “red, russet, ginger”]. Therefore I’d be more inclined to spell it Rus, like the Rus’ people, but then I’d be afraid of it being pronounced as Russ. Likewise, Rouquin [“redhead”] looks awesome, but its pronunciation would be butchered. Ooh, I forgot about Ruslan! I love that.

Anyway, I think I’d suggest using Ru as a nickname, instead of Roux as a given name.

My cousin has a dog named Roux, named because she’s the color of a brick Roux, the base for gumbo. It’s darling on a pet but I have a hard time seeing it on a person.

There’s also the British pop duo La Roux. My teen was OBSESSED with them a couple of summers ago, so she was shattered to learn that Roux was not pronounced “rocks.”

My nephew, Andrew, used to answer to “Rew”.

Roux will always be butter and flour to me, although the French Rouquin “redhead” feels like a possibility.

I like Rue, but Roux just looks too odd to my Anglophone eyes. Plus it doesn’t help that I know a dog named Rooh, who named himself, because he literally goes “Roooooooooooooo”

roux – a bit saucy

rue – were i french it would be right up my street.

laura rose – i rue to inform you that you cannot have anglophone eyes as anglophone means english-speaking.

I’d also prefer Rue, for several of the previously mentioned reasons but also because it was the name of a character in a retelling of Rapunzel by Cameron Dokey.

I love the name Rue because it has so many different facets, depending on the context (and spelling) it could be a cooking term, a street, or a feeling of regret. It has been on my guilty pleasures list for a while now but the Hunger Games renewed my interest and now I have been seriously considering using it as a girls name or possibly a nickname for a boy…maybe Rupert, Ruben or Rouen/Ruan?

I live FAR too close to Louisiana for roux to be anything other than the base for gumbo! Rue isn’t terrible, but I agree with C in DC that, if I heard either one yelled in the park, I would think they were saying Roo and assume it was a pet name.

@Charlotte Vera — But “rue” means “to feel sorrow, repentance, or regret”. Much more negative in my mind than being named after a food.

I know, and for that reason I wouldn’t go for it either. However, sorrow still feels more romantic than gravy! Plus there’s the plant. . .

We’ve been watching a lot of Winnie the Pooh lately, so my first thought is Roo. I think Roux/Roo could make a cute nn for Robert, Rupert, or other R boys name. I wonder if Russet has potential as a name, as an update to the dated Russell.

I agree. I see the Roo sounding names as quite plausible nicknames, but not as given names.

Russet is too much a type of potato for me.

That’s a great idea – I really like Roux/Roo for Robert … though my favorite Robert nn is Bo. Met one once and it has really stayed with me.

My first thought is the well known family of chefs – Michel Roux, Albert Roux, Michel Roux Jr & Alain Roux. I could see some wanting to use the name Rue, but spelling it Roux to get the trendy x.

I confess that when I see it spelt R-O-U-X I immediately think of a base for sauces. Rue is far more appealing.