Lulu names range from traditional Louise to obscure Eluned. If you love a playful, sparky nickname, but want something more substantial for your daughter’s birth certificate, this list is for you.
In the 1930s and 40s, the Sunday comics chronicled the adventures of Little Lulu Moppett. Marjorie Henderson Buell created the character. Miss Moppett found her way into scrapes and adventures, but she was generally virtuous and day-saving.
Scottish singer Lulu – born Marie – scored a string of hits in the 1960s. “To Sir With Love,” from the Sidney Poitier movie, was her biggest hit. She also sang the theme song to James Bond movie “The Man With the Golden Gun.”
And if you’re into yoga – or just athleisure – clothing brand Lulu Lemon almost certainly comes to mind.
But none of those famous Lulus suggest formal names for a daughter, so let’s get to the Lulu names!
LOUISE AND LOUISA
Classic girl names Louise and Louisa naturally lead to Lulu. They’re buttoned-up traditional picks. Nickname Lulu lends them all sorts of spark. Luisa and Luise are options, too.
A pilgrimage site of deep significance to Catholics, Lourdes has sometimes been used as a given name. Madonna chose it for her firstborn back in 1996, with the nickname Lola. But Lulu works every bit as well.
Inspired by the phrase lux casta – pure light – Lucasta was invented by a seventeenth century poet in love with a Lucy.
Romance language Lucia fits right in with Olivia and Sophia. Built-in nicknames like Lucy, Lou, and Lulu are a bonus.
If you love French feminine names like Genevieve, Josephine, and Vivienne, Lucienne might appeal. It’s a sleek, sophisticated member of the Lulu names club.
Most Lucilles shorten to Lucy, but Lulu works nicely, too.
A lovely literary elaboration, Lucinda first appeared in Don Quixote way back in 1605.
Gothic and rare, Lucretia belongs to a Borgia. Nineteenth century US First Lady Lucretia Garfield shortened her name to Crete. But Lulu takes the name in a different direction.
The Germanic Chlodovech became Clovis, then Louis … but with a pit stop to become Ludovicus. That makes Ludovica one of the rarest feminine forms of the classic name. It sounds aristocratic, dramatic, and just a little bit intimidating. But if we can call our girls Isabella “Izzy” and Francesca “Frankie,” then Ludovica “Lulu” fits right in.
An avian name, Luscinia refers to the family of birds including the nightingale. It’s the Latin name, in use since at least 70 AD, and translates roughly into “famous songster.” The name is associated with the Roman goddess Minerva, goddess of wisdom, too.
Invented in the late nineteenth century, Luvenia and Louvenia ranked in the US Top 1000 into the 1930s and 40s. If you’re seeking an undiscovered vintage pick, these might work.
A mix of Lulu names, and that -ella ending we all love, Luella sounds rich with potential. The extra Ls make Lulu an even more intuitive nickname.
If Louise shortens to Louise, then the similar-sounding Eloise seems like a possible formal name for Lulu, too.
An obscure Welsh saint’s name, Eluned looks like it has the “lou” sound right there. Except the correct pronunciation is closer to el EH ned or el EE ned in Welsh. Still, it’s so very obscure that American parents might get away with the unconventional pronunciation that leads to Lulu.
Lourdes made the list above, so why not another Marian name? Often given in combination with Maria, it honors a Marian apparition in Guadalupe, Mexico. Despite the sacred nature of the name, it has a certain rhythm that makes bouncing, upbeat Lulu feel like a natural fit.
LAURA, LAUREL, LAUREN
Laura belongs with the classic girl names, a timeless choice well-used across the centuries. Laurel makes it a straight-up nature name. Lauren feels a little different, more tied to the 80s, but tailored and just right for the age of Harper and Maren, too.
A Hollywood appellation from leading lady Tallulah Bankhead to celebrity daughters Tallulah Willis and Tallulah Dempsey. It shortens nicely to Lulu.
Are there other possibilities for Lulu names you’d add to this list?
Originally published on December 15, 2011, this post was revised and re-posted on May 14, 2020.
There’s Ludmilla, Lucilia, Lucy, Luciana and Luna.
Also, the Busbys from “Outdaughtered” use Lulu as a nickname for their Olivia.
I really like Lulu, and lots of Lulu names as well. In fact I think I like most names in this post!
People have mentioned so many names so I may repeat some of them, but here are some other names I think would be brilliant to get from them to Lulu that have come to my brain while reading:
All the Slavic names with lub- and lud- element, like Lyubov, Lubomira or Ludmila. Germanic names like Lutgard. The likes of Milou, Malou, Marylou. All the Lil- names, maybe except of those that only have vowels and L’s like Lily, Lila, Lili, but for example Lilianna, Lilibeth, Lilac…
Luc(c)a, Lucania, Lucina, or the Armenian Lucine, Luigi(n)a, Luljeta (I know one Albanian immigrant called Luljeta and the J in her name is pronounced as Y, though I don’t know if it is really because that’s how it’s pronounced in Albania, or because that’s how we pronounce J here in Poland), Lumi, Lumina, Luna, Lupita (I know you’ve already mentioned Guadalupe in the post but I love Lupita so much lately, probably even more than Guadalupe itself, and I think it would be cute as a full name though perhaps not in a Spanish-speaking country, and then could of course be shortened to Lulu as well), Lux, Luz, Llewella, Lydia, Loretta/Loreto, Hallelujah, Linda, Ursula. I’m thinking that Dolores is often shortened to Lola, but why not Lulu? I much prefer Lulu to Lola. Here in Poland Karolina can be shortened to Lola, so why a Caroline couldn’t be a Lulu? Also Lavinia, Bluma, Pluma, Bluebell, Liselotte, Leocadia. I know a little Julia who calls herself Lulia, so I think Julia, Juliet, Julianne would be fabulous options. I can see Eloise and Elowen work too. There is a Welsh name Fflur which is a form of Flora, and, just like Eluned, it is read with that i/ee sound (depending on a region), so wouldn’t feel natural for Lulu in Wales, but perhaps would in the US. And if Fflur would and Laura does, then I’m sure Flora or Florence would too. Lleucu is a Welsh form of Lucy and the Welsh sound ll isn’t the same as L, but if someone would feel quirky enough to call their daughter Lleucu outside of Wales (I’ve heard about a Lleucu fron Finland who pronounces it as LAY-kee) then Lulu would be a nickname option for sure.
So, I think Lulu is one of those nicknames that could work with almost any name if you stretch it in the right direction, or at least, in the case of Lulu, any name that contains L.
Georgy Girl says
Our friends have Alouette nn Lulu 🙂
I would use Lulette as it was my great-grandmother’s name and I love it (even though no one here will). If my first had been a girl he was going to be Lulette “Lula”. It’s still on the list for a future girl. I’m a fan of a ton of the names on this list. I think really any L names lends itself to Lulu, though. I’ve been Lyndsay Lou to certain family members my whole life, never actually Lulu but it would have been pretty natural I think.
My MIL is Lucretia nn Creety. She hates both and I always wondered why she didn’t change it to Lulu or Lucy. But I think you may be right about it being too heavy to use Lulu.
Lucy like the blogger form Mer de noms except she goes by Lou
This is what Nameberry gives us: http://nameberry.com/search/?gender=F&starts_with=&ends_with=&contains=lu&syllables=&language_id=&mg_id=
I just thought of Melusine (pronounced May-lu-zeen in French)- quite scarce even here in France, but still. Nameberry does feature it, so… I think it’s lovely – that feminine ‘ine’ ending, and the possible nicknames: Mel, Lulu, and even Lucy.
Funny. I didn’t know I had to “get to” Lulu. 😉 I call all my children, Loulou. As someone else said, I think, it’s along the lines of “cutie pie”. Maybe it’s a French thing.
Interesting to hear about Lulwa in Arabic. Years ago, I was in a long taxi ride in Cairo with a very friendly driver. He asked my name, and, feeling a bit concerned about privacy (he knew where I was staying and working), I said my name was “Lulu”. It was the first thing that popped out of my mouth (much to the surprise of the colleague who was travelling with me!). The taxi driver waxed on about what a beautiful name that is in Arabic and how it means “pearl”. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him. Good to know, in retrospect, he was just another great Egyptian and not a weirdo!
The Name Station says
The options don’t stop! Lillian, Lauren…Lulu’s so simple, it’s unbelievably versatile! I kinda like Lulu, too, and always have. I’m not sure I’d ever use it, but I like it!
I’ve been seriously contemplating Louisa recently, to replace Daphne for our theoretical future daughter. My mother’s cousin, a spunky, vibrant, funny lady, recently passed away, and her name was Mildred Louise, but went exclusively by Louise. I’ve been drawn to Louisa, nicknamed Lulu, for awhile now, but I have to convince the huz that it isn’t too ‘ethnic’ sounding for us. He prefers names that won’t be confused as Hispanic, because he’s not Hispanic but gets mistaken for it a lot.
What about getting to Gigi? 🙂
I’m replying to this ten years late. My cousins name is Gabrielle but we call her Gigi.
A Lucia here, who sometimes is called Lulu.
I know a Lucero who goes by Lulu. I like the contrast
Alouette would be an awesome way to get to Lulu! Both are fabulously French 🙂
Others: Louisiane, Luca, Lux, Lucine, Luigia
I love Louisa, Luella, Lucia, and Tallulah. All stunning names! I might use Lou, Lula, or Lucie as a nickname for some of these. Lulu really isn’t for me, but cute for someone else.
My only caveat about Alouette is the traditional French song of the same name about killing “gentille Alouette” and the teasing possibility.
I know a little girl called Lulabelle, and one of her nicknames is Lulu. It seems awfully cute to me.
seems too cutesy-pie for me too
In a similar vein, have you done Mimi yet?
Charlotte Vera says
I have positive associations with the name Lulu, although it’s not one that I’d choose myself. For a while the closest association Roseanna had with anyone whose name began with L was our friend Lulu, thus there was a time when my friends Lulu, Louise, Lily, and my aunt Luella were all referred to by her as “Wuwu”.
A sweet name: Lubov (anglicized pronunciation: loo BOVE – long O sound on the end there – like rove rather than love) – Slavic/Russian origin – means love. Could be a great heritage choice with a more accessible nickname in Lulu than the more traditional Luba.
Well, don’t go with Luba as a nn, whatever you do. Kids are cruel! :p
Sarah A says
Lulwa (prn. Lu-lu-a) means “pearl” in Arabic and is a fairly common name, with Lulu as a nickname. One of the princesses in Saudi Arabia is Lulwa. Anyway, I have toyed with the idea of using Pearl and calling the kid Lulu and Lulwa. It’s a long stretch but it would be a great way to use two awesome names 😉
I also love Ludivine for Lulu; Ludivine Sagnier is a terrific actress.
I love the Lulwa-Pearl idea 🙂
I have a niece named Lulu. Yes, just Lulu.
When I was in university I met a French exchange student named Ludivine (Loo-dee-veen). I always thought it was really pretty. She went by Ludi, but Lulu could also work.
A friend just had a baby Lillian who they are calling Lulu.
oh sorry just saw you did mention Luciana!
I love Luciana 🙂
Luciana Werner says
My name is Luciana 🙂 but everyone calls me Lulu, and I love it!
Lucasia, Luciana, Louisiana…
Lucetta is another Lu name.
Also, I love the French name Lilou (see also: The Fifth Element). I don’t know why that one vowel change makes all the difference, but it does…
My great grandfather Llewellyn had twin sisters name Lula and Lela who died in infancy, I guess this would be in the 1920s but I’m not exactly sure. Isn’t that fantastic? My great-great grandparents must have really had a thing for L’s.
We just found out we’re having a boy (its our first yay!) but if it had been a girl her name would have been Louisa (Lulu, and Lou). We’re keeping it in our back pocket though, for next time if it’s a girl, as it is a family name and we love it 🙂
I have a 9 month old neice named Luci (Lucy) who is often called Lulu. My sister decided to go with a more unique spelling much to my disappointment. When she was first considering the name she said she wanted something a bit different…I suggested Lucienne, Lucille and Lucia, which was my favorite.
I also really like Luna, and the traditional pronounciation of Eluned is beautiful.
Also, I know a Lula, I assume its a spin off of Luella. I think it has spunk and is another great option.
It’s a nickname I personally hate, but I’ve been called Lulu — so I guess anyone else with a Juli- name could be called Lulu.
There are two unusual Lou- names I love, Lovisa (loo-VEE-sah) and Luzia (loo-ZEE-ah). They don’t work with my surname, so I’m sending them out into the AppMtn universe hoping someone else falls in love with them.
I’m intrigued by Lulu as a nickname for my own name! I’m often called Lala, but that’s as much for being spacey as it is for my name.
I had a stuffed animal bear that I got on a camping trip that I named Lulu. We were camping near and toured the beautiful Luray Caverns in Virginia. As a child’s name, Luray is not my style, but if you’re outdoorsy and have a connection there, I think it’s a nice choice
My mom is Luana.
Do not like “Lulu” though I like several of the names that “get you there.” It’s too cutesy by half, and I think any name that a child might be inclined to carry outside the house (unlike “pumpkin face” or “cutie pie”) should be something more dignified than the kind of thing you’d use on a dog. “Lulu” seems like a dog’s name to me.
And “lulu lemon” makes me think only of the horrific murder that recently occurred at our local store and the founder’s obsession with Ayn Rand. Yoga and Rand? Strange bedfellows indeed!
However, in general, I’m pretty loose on the foundation of nicknames. My family’s nickname for me has nothing to do with my own name, and the nickname we use for my daughter is not any of the five or six “established” nicknames that “belong” to that name.
Yoga and fascism go hand in hand, no? 😉
I am having a Lu phase this winter. Loving names Like Louisa Lucille and Luna.. I love Lulu as a kids name, but you probably need a full name to fall back on, it is a little cutesy for 40 year old, but could come back when she has grandchildren .. granny Lulu would be such a cute grandma name.. This is another subject I am fascinated by.. grandmother names.
I think you could use Lulu for Eloise.
Raquel Somatra says
I know a Lourdes called Lulu and Luly on occasion.
British American says
We were going to have a Lucy (possibly Lucinda) earlier this year, if we’d had a boy. I fancied Lulu for her nickname – especially as we knew another baby Lucy, so we’d need something to differentiate between the two.
Meagan Kittle Autry says
Olivia is often shortened to Lulu!
I know an Olivia and everyone calls her Livvi Lulu
thank you for mentioning Lucasta!! (I didn’t know that before about the “lux casta” either, makes me love the name even MORE).
I know a Japanese woman named Luna who was born in 1969 shortly after the moon landing. I also knew a Ludovica who was super cool and artistic and used to go by “Lou” as a short form.
You left out Lucina as another possibility – we named our daughter Lucina (pronounced loo SEE na) because we are a French/American couple & it can be pronounced similarly in both languages. However, we found pronunciation was tough for the US relatives who call her anything from Lucinda to Lucretia. My husband’s French relatives have had their own issues with it too. Apparently there are a ton of Lucinas in Armenia. Anyway, she has become Lulu to anyone who looks puzzled when we tell them her name, and also as an endearment for us as parents- how could a nickname get much cuter than Lulu?
My old friend Luzanna used to go by Lu and Lulu, though Lulu was just to be silly, I think.
I wonder what name origins lie behind Luzanna – never heard of it before!