Basque baby names becoming more popular in the U.S.
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More and more often, Basque-American parents are choosing names for their babies that reflect their unique ethnicity. Among the more popular Basque names for boys are Xabier, Aitor and Mikel and for girls, some of the top choices are Amaia, Maialen and Maite. Click here for a history and list of names from the North American Basque Organization.
This popularity has led Amazon to sell an e-book for the Kindle with over 60 pages of Basque names, which include the meaning of the names.
For a short online free version of about 90 fairly common Basque names, go to the website She Knows.
Another short but comprehensive list including meanings is at Behind the Name.
The Baby Name Guide creates personalized gifts with many names, including a long list of Basque names.
The names are in Euskera, the language of the Basque Country in France and Spain. The language dates back to prehistoric times and has no known linguistic relatives.
The Royal Academy of the Basque Language has a super comprehensive list of all men and women’s names in Basque. Spanish translations are provided for many of them.
Top 10 favorites:
Aitor – name of a legendary ancestor of the Basques; possible reference to good father (aita)
Ander – Basque form of Andrew, which refers to man, or manly.
Andoni, Antton – Basque version of Anthony, which originally was a Roman family name
Asier – the beginning
Eneko – possibly “mine”; ene = mine, ko = diminutive suffix.
Gorka – Basque version of George, a Greek name meaning farmer, earthworker
Iñigo, Iñaki – Iñigo and Iñaki, a version of Iñigo, come from San Ignacio of Loyola, whose given name was Iñigo. Inigo is also the name of the first king of Pamplona
Koldo – Basque version of Louis, the French form of Ludovicus.
Mattin – Basque version of Martin, originally a Roman name
Xabier – honors the surname of the famous Basque saint Francis Xabier. Originally from the place name Etxeberri, meaning “new house.”
Amaia – the end
Ane – Basque form of Ana
Arantxa – nickname for Arantzazu, reference to the town with a sanctuary of the Virgin Mary. Also refers to arantza, thornberry
Edurne – snow
Josune – feminine version of Josu, meaniesus
Maialen – Basque version of Magdalene, a reference to Mary Magdalene
Maite – lovable
Miren – Basque version of Maria
Nekane – sorrows; Basque version of Dolores
In the Basque Country, a 2016 report notes that the most popular girls names were Ane, June and Irati. For boys, the most popular names were Markel, Jon and Ander.