Portugal might be a geographically small country but its cultural impact is felt around the globe. There are approximately 250 million Portuguese speakers today. Portuguese is an official language in ten countries, including Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe. The Western Romance language is heavily influenced by Greek and Latin and is similar to Spanish as both languages originated on the Iberian Peninsula.
Portuguese is an incredibly beautiful language and names with origins in the tongue are equally as enchanting. Many names are derived from Catholic saints and other religious figures. The naming structure and traditions in Portuguese leaves many individuals with lengthy names. The tradition means most people have one or two given names followed by four surnames. Four surnames? Yes, the maternal and paternal surnames plus those of the grandparents. In Portugal, parents must give their children “responsible” names that are chosen from an 80-page list of government-approved names. The law is there to protect children from ridicule and embarrassment but it is not without some controversy. These 25 names for babies are approved! Here are our favorite 25 Portuguese baby names for boys and girls.
Lúcio is the Portuguese form of Roman Latin Lucius, meaning “light.” Lucimar Ferreira da Silva commonly known as Lúcio is a former Brazilian football player that earned the nickname O Cavalo, “The Horse”, in Portuguese. He is known for galloping runs on the ball.
Neves is a gorgeous girl’s name. It is the Portuguese form of Spanish Nieves, meaning “snow.” The name is connected to the veneration of Our Lady of the Snows, Nossa Senhora das Neves, the name being given to a village in the northwest of Portugal.
Valente is a Portuguese form of Latin Valentinus, meaning “healthy, strong.” Valente is a handsome name for boys. Valente is a popular given name as well as a common surname. It belongs to at least two high-profile Portuguese footballers: Bruno Valente and Diogo Valente.
Micaela is a stunning name for girls. It is a Portuguese form of Italian Michela, meaning “who is like God?” For whatever reason, parents love to invent spellings for this name so you’ll often see Makayla, McKalla, Mikaela, etc.
Nuno is a name for boys. It is a Portuguese name derived from Latin nunnus meaning “grandfather” or nonnus, “the variant of John.” You know how we warned you about long names? Nuno José Severo de Mendoça Rolim de Moura Barreto, the 2nd Marquis of Loulé, 9th Count of Vale de Reis was a man with a very long name. But, he also was a three-time Prime Minister of Portugal.
Luana is a name for girls that possibly comes from a combination of the names Luisa and Ana or the word Lua, “moon” with the name Ana. Luana is a popular name in Portugal, but it is found across Europe. In Romanian mythology, Luana was a goddess who came down to earth to help people but instead, fell in love with a peasant.
Gonçalo is the Portuguese form of Spanish Gonzalo, meaning “battle genius” or “war elf.” Okay! Gonçalo is a popular name for boys and it belonged to Gonçalo Coelho an explorer who followed up Pedro Álvares Cabral‘s “discovery” of Brazil by further exploring its coasts.
The enchanting name Diamantina is the Portuguese form of Greek Diamanta and means “diamond.” While it is a formidable name for girls, it also is a place name in Brazil. Diamantina, Minas Gerais earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status for its Brazilian Baroque architecture.
Estevao is more popular than Esteban in Portugal. Estevao is the Portuguese form of Latin Stephanus, meaning “crown.” Vasco da Gama, the first known European to reach India by sea, had a father named Estevao. He must of really like his dad because he named his son the name.
Carma is a Portuguese form of Latin Carmel, meaning “garden-land.” It is often used as a devotional name. This charming name for girls would be a wonderful alternative to Carmen and it sounds just like karma.
Marcos is a name for boys and it’s a Portuguese and Spanish form of Latin Marcus, meaning “defense” or “of the sea.” Marcos Portugal was born in Lisbon and became an internationally acclaimed composer. In 1811, the Prince regent of Portugal summoned him to the colony of Brazil. After he arrived, Portugal was appointed music master to the sons and daughters of the Prince Regent and became the official Royal Composer.
Ofelia is a popular name that’s a variation of Greek Ophelia. It means “help.” Ofélia Ramos Anunciato or Ofélia was a well-known Brazilian chef. She hosted cooking shows on TV, like A cozinha Maravilhosa de Ofélia. She also authored a number of popular cookbooks.
Roque is the Portuguese or Spanish form of the Italian Rocco. It means “rest.” Cape São Roque in Northern Brazil was first officially visited by European navigators in 1501. Explorer Amerigo Vespucci gave the name to honor St. Roque on the day they landed there, his feast day, August 16.
Ines is a girl’s name of Portuguese origin meaning “pure.” The love affair between Inês de Castro and King Pedro I of Portugal is one steeped in myth, love, and tragedy. It’s like the Portuguese version of Romeo and Juliet but it 100% actually happened. She is considered Portugal’s only posthumous queen.
Henrique is an attractive name for boys that’s a Portuguese form of Henry. The name means “estate ruler.” Henrique was a popular given name for Portuguese nobility. The name belonged to two rulers and two princes of Portugal including Henrique I, King of Portugal and Henrique the Navigator.
Cecilia is the preferred Portuguese form of Cecil which was derived from a Roman clan name. The name is closely related to the Latin word caecus, meaning “blind.” In the US, Cecilia has ranked among the top 500 names for girls for the last 100 years.
Benedito is a strong name for boys that is the Portuguese form of Benedict which has Latin origins and means “blessed.” Benedito Calixto was a cherished Brazilian painter who depicted Brazilian life and culture in his works.
Branca is a Portuguese name that means “white.” It is a cognate of the French name, Blanche. Maria Branca dos Santos or “Dona” Branca as she was more commonly known, was a Portuguese criminal known for maintaining one of Portugal’s biggest Ponzi schemes. She was also known as “the people’s banker.”
Afonso is the Galician-Portuguese form of Latin Alfonsus, meaning “noble.” There were six Kings of Portugal named Afonso. The name also belongs to a few notable Brazilian footballers including Afonso Alves and Alexandre Afonso da Silva.
Feliciana is the preferred form of the name Felicia for Spanish and Portuguese speakers. It comes from the Latin Felicianus, meaning “happy” or “lucky.” Feliciana is a sweet name for girls that has fallen from favor over the last decade. We’d love to see it come back.
Dimas is a Portuguese and Spanish form of Greek Dismas, meaning “sunset.” Dimas Manuel Marques Teixeira is a Portuguese footballer with the name. Dimas is an effortless name and would be a no-fuss choice for a little boy.
Also seen as Linor on older records, this name for girls is a hit. Portuguese and Spanish form of Latin Eleanora, meaning “foreign” or “the other.” Leonor Maia is a Portuguese film actor active in the 1940s, best remembered for her role in The Tyrant Father.
Portuguese form of Latin Johannes, meaning “God is gracious.” In Portuguese the “J” is pronounced. It is a shortened form of Joãozinho and is related to the English name John. The name belonged to six kings of Portugal.
Teresa is a girl’s name of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese origin meaning “to harvest.” Teresa Villaverde is a Portuguese film director whose films have screened at some of the most prestigious film festivals in Europe including Cannes and the Berlin International Film Festival. She was awarded the Commander of the Order of Merit of Portugal in 2018.
Aleixo is a Galician-Portuguese form of Latin Alexius, meaning “defender.” This strong name for boys Archbishop Aleixo de Menezes was a 16th Century Archbishop of Portugal during the Phillippine Dynasty. Aleixo is a popular name in Brazil and it belonged to Pedro Aleixo, a former vice president.
Portuguese names are fantastic and full of character. If your family has ties to Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé or Príncipe, consider these names to honor that heritage.