The baby name Blaise marries a modern, fiery sound with deeply traditional roots.
Thanks to Mariuccia for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
In Latin, blaesus means to stutter or stammer, to lisp. From this root came the given name Blasius.
Like many an ancient name, Blaise endures thanks to a saint.
Saint Blaise was born in Sebastia, part of modern day Turkey. He served as bishop, and may have had some medical training.
Legend tells us that he healed the sick – people and animals, be they domestic or wild – and famously saved a boy from choking to death on a fishbone. Naturally, this makes Blaise the patron saint of throats.
His healing powers made him especially popular during outbreaks of plague, and Blaise is considered one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers to invoke against illness.
The saint’s popularity spread the name throughout Europe. This includes The Gate of Blasius in Basel, Switzerland, and Bristol, England’s Blaise Castle, named for nearby Blaise Hill. And, of course, the baby name Blaise spread across the continent, too.
French poet Robert de Boron included a priest called Blaes or Blaise in his poem Merlin, penned around the year 1200. Others continued the tale.
He’s a mentor to the young Merlin.
It’s not clear if his name relates to the saintly Blaise, or if it has another origin.
Way back in the seventeenth century, we find towering French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal.
Pascal was a whipsmart kid, fascinated by science and math from his earliest days. His first major piece of work – still known as Pascal’s Theorem – was completed when he was just sixteen. Rene Descartes dismissed it as far too sophisticated to be written by one so young.
His final work was Pensées – thoughts – an incomplete document, meant to be the philosopher’s comprehensive defense of Christianity. Despite its unfinished state, it remains widely influential.
The scholar’s reputation lends a brainy edge to the baby name Blaise. And while the name is biggest in the francophone world, it’s broadly familiar elsewhere.
BY THE NUMBERS
The baby name Blaise peaked in France around the year 1900.
In the US, it’s a slightly different story.
In 1953 and 1962, the baby name Blaise briefly appeared in the Top 1000. But those aren’t outliers. They represent a tiny increase in births, just enough to tip the name very slightly into 900s from the 1000s.
Beginning in 1996, the baby name Blaise charted most years, up to and including 2017. It briefly dipped out of the rankings in 2018, only to return in 2019.
But – mostly – the numbers represent small changes in use. Blaise has danced on the edge of the US Top 1000 for years.
If the baby name Blaise represents an old school saint and a French mathematician, then what to make of the baby name Blaze?
It’s a different story entirely.
Blaze refers to a flame – and not just a little flicker of heat and light. A blaze is more of a roaring fire. It’s the saintly original, dressed up in a superhero cape.
Fiery Blaze comes from the Old English blaese – a torch or bright flame. It can also mean to lead the way, to blaze a trail, probably a word meaning mark. The trailblazer was the first to travel a path, cutting marks on trees to show the route.
That makes Blaze a modern virtue name of sorts, an active verb name that fits with Dash and Chase.
Interesting, the baby name Blaze has fallen over the last few years. Other epic boy names, like Maverick, Legend, and Ace, are all climbing dramatically.
FIERY & THOUGHTFUL
While pop culture gives us a handful of uses of the name, none seem to be big enough to re-shape the image of the baby name Blaise … or Blaze, for that matter.
There is a minor Harry Potter character named Blaise Zabini – he’s a Slytherin – but, much as we love our Wizarding World names, this seems too obscure to make an impact.
Instead, the baby name Blaise might represent the best of both worlds. It mixes the spiritual and the academic, a modern sound with deep roots.
Parents seeking daring boy names could be every bit as attracted to Blaise as those after something with a modern sound but traditional sensibility.
And the good news? The baby name Blaise remains nicely rare, even as it returns to the Top 1000.
What do you think of the baby name Blaise? Which spelling do you prefer?
Originally published on January 3, 2009, this post was revised and re-published on December 22, 2014 and again on October 14, 2020.
My son’s name is Blaise (2006). We love it! It’s unique, bold, masculine, confident, and invokes lots of questions. Many people have personally asked me for more information because they wanted to use the same name for their child. My son absolutely loves his name. He says it’s like a nickname at the same time and most people question if it’s his real name. NO ONE forgets this name.
Frances Boone Wilder says
For me, there’s something about Blaise that needs to be used with a second name, and that it’s a fantastic “anchor name” for more uncommon names. I think it’s because a deceased friend of mine’s name was Blaise Wafo Ndetatsin, and we all called him by his first and second names.
Wendy Nimmo says
I called my dog “Blaise”….he’s nearly ten now…..and I’ve never heard anyone else using the name….x
Blas is really fun explaining to americans that the latin version means to lisp or stutter…I guess there’s a cool sain I can mention…
Love Blaise!! It has been on our short list for a long time but we have friends with a young Blaze. I love the sound and its unexpected history.
Maarten van der Meer says
In the Netherlands Blaise is known as Blasius or Blaas. Since ‘blaas’ means ‘bladder’ in Dutch he is traditionally invoked against bladder disease.
Now that’s interesting – and potentially awkward! Is Blaas/Blasius used as a given name?
Judy M says
My current name crush (and name for baby #6 if we have a boy) is Benedict Blaise ♡ .
I *love* that combination! I’m a sucker for alliteration, and how great is the serious, scholarly Benedict with the fiery Blaise?
Blaise is a great name that I’ve loved since I was a child. In parochial school, we celebrated St. Blaise’s feast day on February 3rd with the ceremonial blessing of the throats (one of the more mystical Roman Catholic feast days, in the eyes of a child). The Spanish form of the saint’s name is “Blas” and pronounced “Bloss.” In Gallego, my father’s first language hailing from the region of Galicia in northwest Spain, the variant is “Brais” and pronounced “Bryce.”
There is also a Blaise in the Harry Potter books….
Nice point, DT. But I can’t quite remember – Blaise Zambini or something, right? I usually re-read all the HPs over the summer, but somehow I haven’t even cracked open book #1 yet, and here it is … almost August!
I know this post is a little old, however I had to comment because my son’s name is Blaise. My mom hated the name at first but it really grew on her as it did for a lot of people. And now his name is “cool.” He’s pretty popular at school-everyone seems to know him if only by his name a lone and in a good way. So there’s my two cents. BTW my husband has a great french name as well….
CM, it is always good to hear that a name like Blaise is wearing well on a real kid! And I think you’ve just landed on one of the advantages of unusual choices. It might take longer for our kids’ names to be remembered – and spelled correctly – but once others have them, their names really stand out. I’m pretty confident that Clio will never be “Clio S.” or “Tall Clio.”
Fuss, you’re right – most parents aren’t consulting their Lives of the Saints to find Blaise.
Bizzy, I went to college with a Blaise. I think he was French Canadian. Shannon, it did sound better when he said it in French!
What a difference a spelling can make. Blaise seems old and Blaze appears new. I really don’t like Blaze at all.. makes me think of the fire department coming to put out a blaze.. I do agree that the Western image rather than the saintly one is what most parents today would be going for with this name. I’m not sure how I feel about Blaise… I know I wouldn’t use it myself. Not certain how Blaise is pronounced in France, I don’t think it’s like Blaze.. (just remembering my high school French here, maybe it’s more like Blez… )
I rather like Blaise – never Blaze though.. he’s just TOO ‘nouny’ for my liking! He just seems very carefree, whilst still rather subtle; very airy.
As Lola expresses, I’d fit him into the end of a combo if I have another boy and the first 2 names suit – it’d go in seemlessly, as Rae, Finn & Belle have with my kids names!
My sister dated a Blaise in high school. His parents were of French ancestry, so he said. I like it, but I probably wouldn’t use it for fear of the hypermasculine, superhero-ish associations many would have with it. Like Fuss said, many people wouldn’t be thinking of the saint or the scholar…although they are cool links to the name!
Here’s more info on the Blaze and Beau thing:
Turns out it’s Blaze Autumn and Beau Dakota. They were both born around 1980 and apparently they also have a BROTHER named Sky Ashley.
I guess the parents were very forward thinking for the early ’80s.
The Fuss (Jennifer) says
Unfortunately, most of the parents that choose “Blaise” aren’t going for an antique saint’s name. They’re going for a rootin’-tootin’, over-the-top cowboy, tough guy name.
And if you’re a Roger Zelazny fan, there’s Bleys, too. . 😉 I’ve liked Blaise since I was a kid. (yes, i was raised Roman Ctholic, you get exposed to all sorts of odd Saints names then). Blaze is too horsey for me but I am charmed by Blaise & Bleys, in turns. In fact, I have Linus Willem Bleys floating around somewhere.
Ii like his strong sound but soft feel. he strikes me as creative or artsy, in turns and yes, I like Blaise, very much indeed. I really dig that he’s one syllable, even with all those letters! I keep trying to fit him in somwhere. I think he’s a snazzy answer to my pattern of multiple syllable, multiple syllable one syllable pattern I seem to have going. He’s very cool, indeed.
Thanks for sure to Mariuccia for suggesting Blaise and Thanks for covering it! Can’t wait to see what sort of reception Blaise gets!
Blaise is a name I’m not sure about – I like and and I don’t at the same time. I like it’s zesty, snappy, one syllable with the z sound. It’s fiery and fun. Blaze is a little to literal for me and I picture roller derby or something with that spelling. Blaise works, it’s not like it’s difficult to figure out how to say it from that spelling. At the same time, it kind of sounds too super-hero for me. It also reminds me of Blaine – the name of a close friend’s brother in law who was just awful. And although the sound isn’t similar, the look on paper is so much so that my first reaction was ick. But that’s very personal. So, in all I think I’m landing on the like it side of things, as long as it’s Blaise (or even Bleys) and not Blaze.
Sarah Hall says
My son’s name is Bleys. We pronounce it like Blace.
A friend of mine had two friends, twins actually, named Blaze and Beau. They were girls. ‘Nuff said, I think.