Lulu: Getting to Lulu from Lucienne, Tallulah & More

Formal Names for Lulu

A few weeks ago, we looked at Coco, a spirited short form of … what, exactly? You can visit that post to consider your options.

Today, we turn our attention to another of the names so nice you say them twice: Lulu.

First, if you’re inclined to add the alliterative “Little” before this name, that’s thanks to Marjorie Henderson Buell’s cartoon character from the 1930s and 40s, and periodically revived ever since. The adventurous Little Lulu Moppett could get herself into trouble, but she was generally a good egg, virtuous and prone to day-saving.

Inclined to call your kiddo Lulu Lemon? That’s thanks in part to the Vancouver-based yoga and active wear company now rapidly expanding in the US.

There’s also Scottish singer Lulu – born Marie – best known for singing the theme songs to 1960s flicks. “To Sir With Love” was her biggest hit, but if you’re a James Bond fan, you might also know “The Man With the Golden Gun.”

There are oodles of ways to get to Lulu.

Louisa, Louise, Luisa, Luise – The classics, and the obvious choices. Louisa has all the literary elan of Miss Alcott, while Louise Brooks was the silent film star nicknamed Lulu. Luisa and Luise are the Spanish, Italian, and German variants, and equally valid ways to arrive at the short form.

Tallulah – A Hollywood appellation from leading lady Tallulah Bankhead to starbabies Tallulah Belle Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, and Tallulah Fyfe, daughter of Patrick Dempsey. Perhaps the most daring name on this list, Lulu is a means to tone down the extravagant Tallulah. Lula would work equally well.

Lucinda – A lovely literary elaboration, she leads to the nickname Lucy or Lulu.

Lucienne – Another potential way to reach Lucy or Lulu, this time with a stylish French twist. Also a great choice if you’re disappointed that Vivienne, Genevieve, and other French names for girls are gaining in popularity.

Lucille – Just as French as Lucienne, Lucille had fallen out of favor by the 1970s. But since the turn of the 21st century, she’s been back. Just as Lillian was revived by parents seeking a formal option for Lily, Lucille ranked #482 – and climbing – thanks to moms and dads interested in Lucy and Lulu.

Lucasta – If Lucille is back, Lucasta was never there. Invented by a seventeenth century poet who loved a Lucy, the name comes from the phrase lux casta – pure light. Then there’s Anna Lucasta, a little 1949 film rebooted a decade later with Eartha Kitt in the starring role. She’s a rarity, but she could be a pleasing one.

Lucretia – There’s a Goth vibe to Lucretia, thanks to the Borgia and the Sisters of Mercy. It’s an ancient name, and a heavy one. Lulu almost feels too insubstantial to come from Lucretia. First Lady Lucretia Garfield answered to Crete. Still, it is an option – and an intriguing one.

Ludovica – Few names are as fascinating as Louis, an appellation directly related to Aloysius and Clovis and Ludovica, too. The simplest explanation is that a Germanic name, worn by an early Frankish ruler and then many other European monarchs, was Latinized in various forms. Ludovica is an Italian feminine version from the same soup. She’s obscure in the Uhttp://appellationmountain.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=12940&action=editS, but what’s not to love? She fits in with Francesca and Victoria and Isabella, too – a strong, no-nonsense name that sacrifices none of her flowing, feminine qualities.

Eluned – She looks like she belongs on this list, but this obscure Welsh saint’s name isn’t a great fit. Despite the “lu” visible in the middle, her pronunciation is probably el EE ned. Still, she’s so obscure in the US that you could probably get away with it.

Luna – The Harry Potter heroine’s night-sky name doesn’t require a short form, but you could consider Lulu. There’s also Lunette.

Laura, Lauren – Also a stretch, but maybe not an unthinkable one, especially since Lori is so solidly in mom-name territory circa 2012.

Lucia – A fast-gaining favorite, and rival to Lucille, Lucia has the makings of a name that could replace Olivia in the US Top Ten. She ranked #265 in 2010 – not overwhelmingly popular – yet. Elaborations like Luciana and Lucilla are possibilities, too.

Guadalupe – A wolfish appellation with ties to the Virgin Mary, she’s an awful lot of name to give to a 21st century American girl. Lulu would make Guadalupe wearable.

Luvenia – Lulu feels like a first-wave hipster name. Now that she’s surfacing in the ‘burbs, what’s a Park Slope parent to do? Luvenia was invented in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and feels more like Lorna or Dolores – still clunky enough to be considered cool by trendsetters.

Luella – Not willing to go quite as far as Luvenia or Ludovica? Luella – the middle name of blogger Rebecca Woolf’s second-born, Fable – has just as much indie spirit, but is slightly more restrained. Luella also appeared in the US Top 200 as late as 1910, and those extra Ls make Lulu feels like an obvious nickname.

Are there other names you would put on the birth certificate in hopes of getting to Lulu?

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53 Comments

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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?