When parents in Brazil find out that their bouncing bundles of joy are boys, they like to choose valiant, meaningful names. In Brazilian tradition, children’s names are strong representations of familial and spiritual ties. While some look within the family to carry on names of fathers and grandfathers, others look to the saints for strong, noble monikers.
With nearly 65 percent of Brazilians belonging to the Catholic Church, religious names are very common. Many parents choose to give their sons names of great saints, well-known priests or biblical angels. However, it’s not necessarily required to dig back into church history in order to find a great name.
Something you may already know about Brazil is that it has deep ties to Portugal because it is a former Portuguese colony. In fact, Portugal is the official language of Brazil. That’s why you’ll find lots of Portuguese names peppered throughout the country. In fact, there’s no need to worry if you’re having troubling choosing just one Brazilian boy’s name to fall in love with.
Brazilian parents often use the Portuguese naming conventions that bestow four names upon child. The formula is a given name, a saint’s name, the last name of the mother and the last name of the father. While tradition is fun, you’re really free to choose any configuration that you like while keeping the general “spirit” of the Portuguese naming tradition alive.
However, some added pressure does come along with this tradition. Due to the fact that people have such lengthy names in Brazil, most people are really only known by their given names. That means that the given name any Brazilian parent chooses will play a big role in their child’s identity.
While Brazil itself is named after the brazilwood tree, popular boy names in Brazil are rooted in strong, virtuous character. You don’t necessarily have to have roots in Brazil to want to bring the strong energy of a Brazilian name into your family. Let’s take a look at some powerful and playful Brazilian boy names!
Rolling right off the tongue, Benício brings good vibes by bestowing positive attributes on a newborn right from the start! The name translates to mean “a good, blessed man.” When you hear it, you definitely hear tidings of blessings and goodness.
Cristiano is a boy’s name meaning “follower of Christ.” It is the Portuguese equivalent of the name “Christian” that is popularly used in the United States. While this has always been a popular name, its popularity definitely spiked after Cristiano Ronaldo became an internationally famous Portuguese footballer.
A strong name, Domingos translates to “belongs to the Lord.” It also translates to “Sunday” in both Spanish and Portuguese. This is a popular option among Brazilian parents looking for religious names without necessarily naming a child after a religious figure. As a name, it calls to mind the sweet and relaxed nature of long, carefree Sunday afternoons.
Smooth as silk, Fabrício is a boy’s name that is coming back in style even though it never technically left. This is actually an Italian name that means “blacksmith” that is very popular among Brazilian men. Alternatively, it is sometimes spelled as Fabrizio. One of the most famous Brazilian “Fabrizios” is Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes.
In Latin, Francisco means “free man.” Many Brazilian parents also choose this name in honor of Saint Francis. The common nickname for people named Francisco is Pancho.
Felipe is the Latin equivalent of Philip. It is actually derived from a Greek name of Philippos that translates to “friend of horses.” That makes this a great name if you want your child to have a life that’s a true wild ride! In Brazil, you sometimes see the spelling of Filipe used in place of Felipe.
A very masculine and strong name, Gabriel translates to “messenger of God.” It is a nod to the archangel Gabriel. It is a popular name for boys born in September because Gabriel’s feast day is on Sept. 29. In many cases, Gabriel is shortened to Gabe for a nickname.
Originally a Welsh name, Gael has become one of the hottest names throughout Latin America in recent years. Its original meaning is simply “Gaelic.” The most famous Gael in recent times is the Mexican actor, Gael García Bernal. This is a great name if you’re looking to give your child a title that truly spans continents and centuries!
The best name for arming your little one up with divine protection, Gustavo means “protected by God.” While the name has an exotic tilt, the nickname Gus gives a child a little bit of range to work with.
Here’s a good one if you’re anticipating that you’re about to give birth to a little spitfire based on your own personality. Inacio is a name that means “the internal fire.” It is derived from the word “egnātĭus” that means “fiery one” in Latin. When spoken, the word is very elegant and ethereal.
If you have a summer baby, Julio is a great name because it evokes thoughts of sunny, carefree July. The name technically means “descended from Jupiter” in honor of the chief deity of the Roman state named Jupiter. Of course, it also has a fun interplanetary flair in modern-day context. It works the same in both Spanish and Portuguese. In English, it translates to Julius.
The Portuguese equivalent of Matthew, Mateo is a very short and simple name that packs some big power. It translates to “gift of God.” This is a great pick if you’re going with the Portuguese naming tradition of linking together a few names because it pairs nicely with so many other titles.
Here’s a name with a meaning that’s a real “Easter egg” for you! Pascoal is a Portuguese name that means “child of Easter.” It is derived from the Latin paschalis or pashalis that mean “relating to Easter.” You sometimes see versions of this name that look like Pasqual, Pascal or Pascale. While they all have the same meaning, you can play around with letters to see which one fits your last name the best!
Powerful and timeless, Paulo is the Brazilian equivalent of Paul. Dating back to Roman times, the family name of “Paulus” actually meant “small” or “humble” in Latin. Of course, many parents who pick this name today are actually naming their child after Paul the Apostle. For Brazilian parents, there is also a special nod to pop culture baked into this name. As followers of Latin American culture know, Paulo Coelho is known as one of the most successful Brazilian authors and lyricists of all time.
A solid foundation to build a name on, Pedro is derived from the Latin word “petra” that is derived from the Greek word for rock. For Catholics, the name is deeply symbolic because it is pulled from the scripture where Jesus tells Peter, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”