As many of you guys probably know, I have an irrational love of big, clunky, German names. Of course, I can’t detail every German name in existence (especially when you consider that many of the most popular names in Germany are international hits and that many German names have crossed over into international use). Therefore, I’ll list off some names that are distinctively German to me, and that I love.We’ll do girls today, and boys either tomorrow or some other time.
- Adelheid -Alright, I can’t help it. Adelheid is beautiful. It encompasses everything I love about stereotypically German names; a clunkiness that is endearing, a direct lack of fluffiness. Of course, Adelheid is seen as unbearably old and clunky in Germany, as are most of its compound name cohorts. I wouldn’t saddle a kid with Adelheid (in front, anyway…), but I adore the name. Heidi is also cute on a small girl.
- Anneliese -Not my favorite, but is merited inclusion because it seems to be gaining ground with prospective parents. I’ve seen it all over the place on the internet, so expect to meet some soon, if you haven’t already!
- Annegret -Another clunky compound name, Annegret is sprightly sounding anywhere but Germany. It affords Annie or Greta, and just sounds cute. Another one I probably wouldn’t use up front, but would definitely use in the middle. I think it’s really usable here in the US.
- Augusta -I really do like Augusta. I hate Gus, but don’t mind Gussie, which makes this regal name a real winner for me. I much prefer it in full to any nicknames, though. It’s got a really dignified feel to it, and I like that.
- Dietlinde -Like Linda with Deet on the front. I feel like Dietlinde will probably never become popular, but that doesn’t keep me from liking it. I think it’s got a softness to it that’s rare in German monikers, with the strength characteristic of them. You’d get nothing but grief with the spelling and pronunciation, though.
- Gertrude -Once upon a time popular in America, Gertrude is now dated beyond belief. I love it, though. It’s much better said with a German accent, but I think it’s quite a nice name if you can get past the geriatric associations.
- Ilse -See here. Love it.
- Johanna -I prefer Joanna to avoid pronunciation confusion, but I love Johanna as well. The h lends it some heft that Joanna doesn’t have, and the name is a formidable one. It’s also definitely usable in the US, a marked plus.
- Liselotte -A smush of Liese and Charlotte. I like Liselotte. I think it’s markedly German but usable in the US. I wouldn’t use it myself, though. Also, the pronunciation in English would be something like Lees-lot, an altogether unfortunate combination of sounds. The German LEE-ze-law-tə is much lovelier, but you’ll never get it here.
- Olga -There’s something very sexy about Olga. I don’t know what it is; maybe all of the Eastern European models. I really like the name, and it’s totally usable here. Prepare for a lot of “oh, that’s…different” comments, though. It probably would not be well received.
- Roswitha -I covered Roswitha in my Roses post, but to reiterate, I love it. I would only use it in the middle though, because the pronunciation would give people fits. Gorgeous.
- Ulrika -I thoroughly like Ulrika. It’s intuitive, and rather pretty, in my estimation. However, I think most would find irredeemably harsh and ugly. Their loss, I say. Uli (like she of Project Runway fame) is a cute nickname. I approve of Ulrika and I wish someone would use it!
- Wilhelmina -Awesome, awesome name. It’s familiar in an English speaking context, formidable yet feminine, and affords cute nicknames Willa and Mina, should your daughter want to blend in. I would consider this for a daughter of mine if there weren’t names I simply like better and honoring. Actually, I might still consider it. It’s fantastic.
So, then, what are your favorite overtly German names? Would you use any? Do you think it matters to have German ancestry? Anything else? (So many questions!) I love German names, and I hope this list might act as inspiration for someone!