Remy is a medieval name transformed by the long-tailed hero of 2007’s Pixar hit Ratatouille.
Thanks to Lola for suggesting our impeccably French Baby Name of the Day.
Around the year 500, King Clovis united the Franks, founded the Merovingian dynasty, and converted to Christianity.
Saint Remigius was the Bishop of Reims who baptized Clovis.
It started out as a Roman family name, meaning oarsman.
Drop the -gius, and you have the vernacular form of the name. It was used steadily in France over the years, and Saint-Remy is a popular place name.
Even earlier, when the Romans arrived in Gaul, they became allies with a tribe already there: the Remi.
Some say that the tribe took their name from Remus – one of the mythical co-founders of Rome.
What we do know is that the city of Reims – where Clovis converted, where future kings of France were often crowned, the seat of Bishop Remigius – took its name from the tribe.
Remy: Famous Bearers
It’s also found as a surname, and in other European languages. Other Rem- names, like the Spanish Remedios – can also lead to Remy.
It was the surname of one of the most zealous – and notorious – of the sixteenth century witch hunters.
Remy Martin was a winemaker who switched to cognac back in 1724 and has been going strong ever since.
Characters in The Da Vinci Code and The Fairly Odd Parents have worn the name. It’s also the given name of the X-Men character better known as Gambit. Gambit has appeared in several of the series’ big screen adaptations. Now Channing Tatum is set to take on the role in a stand-alone movie – which could be a big boost for the name.
Remy: Ratatouille and Ma
The name owes its rise to an unlikely combination of events.
Disney-Pixar’s 2007 Ratatouille gave this name to an aspiring French chef – who happened to be a rat. Patton Oswalt voiced the unlikely gastronome.
But it wasn’t just Disney boosting the name.
There’s also female rapper Remy Ma, born Reminisce Smith, who had her first big successes around 2006.
Hip hop also gives us Remy Boyz – most famous thanks to their successful former member, the rapper known as Fetty Wap.
Either way, the name’s ties to music gives it an edge, while the Disney connection makes it feel playground-ready.
Speaking of edge, the name also owes its success to the rise of Remington.
A surname name borrowed from a English place name, Remington is best known as a firearms manufacturer. Eliphalet Remington founded the business in 1816 in upstate New York. It remains a major manufacturer of guns and ammunition, the oldest gun maker in the US.
Remington has risen dramatically in the twenty-first century, going from a sometimes-heard family name to a mainstream favorite. Kelly Clarkson recently chose it for her son. As of 2015, it was given to over 450 girls and nearly 1,200 boys. It’s definitely part of the ready, aim, name trend that has appealed to parents in recent years.
From animated family-friendly flicks to rising rap stars, from early medieval France to an Americana pick with ties to weaponry, Remy is a name of contrasts. Maybe that’s why it appeals to so many parents today – and is quickly becoming a go-to choice for boys and girls alike.
Do you like Remy better for a boy or a girl? How about Remington?
This post was originally published on January 23, 2009. It was substantially revised and re-posted on June 6, 2016.
Bay Mom says
We named our son Remy and it was a great decision. There are no other Remy kids around so it is special. It is easy to pronounce in all languages. He loves it and it suits him perfectly. He is a kid who loves art and music but is also super athletic.
Remy was my front-runner name for a boy for years (my kids’ dad is French), but in the end we used Jules instead. I love both names for similar reasons: they’re short and a little bit different without being obscure.
I knew a girl named Remy, but I like it on a boy. I never even really thought about it, but it’s definitely worth considering. I do love Ratatouille so much:D
I’m a girl and my name is Remy. However, I also hope this name doesn’t become tainted!
Remy entered the top 1000 (in the U.S.) in 2009 at number 969, and was still there in 2011 at 881. Both are lower than 2010 at 868th (and all for males, not females).
It wasn’t the most pleasant name to have as a kid, but it’s aged nicely.
I have a friend who adopted twin boys one named Remy, I met a 6 yr old black Standard Poodle named Remy last weekend. He’s soon to be put up for adoption and I want him. The day I met Remy I did a “quantum physics” leap and willed to meet the poodle. My fish monger at Whole Foods had a dog named Remy and my niece has a girlfriend named Remy. I love this name!
lisa martin says
It had never occured to me that a girl could be named remy. until i read a book were the heroine’s name is remy. this book is over 20 years old so someone thought this name was a good idea for girls a long time ago. now i want to name my girl remy too.
I really like this name. Simple but memorable, and not overly popular or trendy. My wife thinks of the X-Men (she’s a big fan) and is partial to Logan (aka Wolverine) for much the same reason. Me, I just think R
I really really REALLY want to love this name! I’m a fan of Remy LeBeau/Gambit and love the look and sound. The only problem: my least favorite high school teacher was a Mr. Remme, pronounced REH-mee. The first few times I heard the name I didn’t make the connection, but I do now and fear I always will. I hate it when an awesome name is ruined by an association, whether personal or public. Sigh.
We’re having a boy soon and started looking for names a few months ago. I realized that there are far more girls names, especially cute ones than there are good boy names. I’m tired of seeing the -Ayden sounding names and dislike the whole trendy twilight names Jacob, Jasper, Edward thing. So I came upon Remy and love that it’s a non trendy name, it’s easy to spell and pronounce and that it’s masculine, or so I thought. In doing research I found in France it’s not used as a girl name however here in the U.S it’s being used as such. Apparently its so masculine over there it’s like calling your girl Henri or Pierre, names that one would never find on a girl on this side of the world. As much as I like Remy I’m thinking twice about using it for my soon to be born son because of the unisex name possibility… Parents of girls have so much to choose from, why fish from the male side of the name pool?
Alicia Parr says
My husband and I picked the name Remy for our now 18 month old well before he was born. In fact, it was our preferred male name even prior to pregnancy. Interestingly, we picked it as shorthand for Remarkable, but went with just Remy on the birth certificate. We didn’t consider Remington, nor were we aware of the cute Pixar rat character. Also, knowing this to be a more common name for boys in France, it hadn’t occurred to us that this would be adopted for the girls, but stranger things have happened. We love the name and it seems masculine to us and just perfect for our little guy.
I know a brand new baby girl named Remy. She’s a dolly but I would have preferred Romy for her. I still think Remy is a great name….for boys!
Baby Name Brainstorm says
Remy certainly is interesting; though I find myself a little ambivalent about it. I don’t dislike it, but I wont be a champion of it either. It brings to mind a couple associations including ‘Remington’ which is a brand of aftershave and also a manufacturer of firearms. And, if you will entertain another reference to British comedy, the other phonetic association I get is ‘Remoulade’ (a popular French condiment) which was is satirically compared with a performance enhancing drug in a Monty Python sketch ‘Men’s being eaten by a crocodile contest’. Good for the French Chef, but not for any child of mine.
I like Remy! He’s more masuline than Avery, Ashley, et all in my opinion, and the fact that Remy from the blockbuster Ratatoille is a male probably boosts its image as male name.
I prn it REMM-ee rather than the French prn of rem-EE.
Here’s hope that dashing Remy will remain mostly in the boys’ camp.
There’s a female Dr. Remy Hadley on House, but she usually goes by Thirteen. Don’t think that taints the name too much; the Ratatouille association is probably stronger for most people.
I like him masculine, but (please, please don’t hurt me, guys) wouldn’t mind Remy going to the girls, personally. There are a select few traditionally masculine names that I think really do sound better on girls; Shirley and Bailey, for instance. It’s better than the obviously masculine Madison/Addison/Emerson, and I’d much rather meet a little girl named Remy than another Isabella, but that’s just me. I still prefer him on a boy, though; I think he sounds quite dashing in a way.
I LOVE Remy, no matter how he’s said and since I’m on a short name kick again, he’s definitely fitting the bill for me. (And let’s face it, Remy MacKenzie sounds pretty darn awesome) Remy Edward Xavier, in fact.
He likes Remy becauseof the “superhero” Gambit. I like him because he fits with my boys quite nicely but still sounds smashing with my daughter! And if I’ve already got Cosmo on the list (one FairlyOddparent name) why not Remy too? At least he’s a real overboard sort of He-man. (yeah, I watch the cartoon, don’t care, it won’t be around forever) Now, Otto, that’s been runed forever! 🙁
I’ll do my part to keep him a boys name, but honestly, Once I use something, I don’t care if it goes to the girls. Like my friend Kelly’s mom, “It just is him. Who cares about the rest of them”? Of course, his brothers are Stacy, Morgan & Shannon! And if Remy’s anything like Leo, he will be the life of the Frat party anyway. *sigh* I love my guys but wow are they making me gray fast. 🙂
I really dig Remy and don’t care if people say reh-MEE or REH-mee. Me, I fall into the English camp with REH-mee. But could at least get Reh-MEE once in awhile. But I’m verbally lazy *and* a Yank. I don’t expect any more than REH-mee, really. At least not in my neighborhood. And I have to admit, I love that little rat, he’s my favorite of the Pixar creations to date.