Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Photo Courtesy of Mali Workman

I've been hearing this charmer more and more often lately, and it's great that it seems to be working it's way on to more people's lists.

Beau is a handsome name - quite literally. It has it's origins in the Latin word 'bellus' which became 'beau' in French, meaning 'handsome'. But despite coming from a French word, there is little evidence that Beau started as a French name, or is even currently used as a name by the French. Which makes sense, as English speakers don't (generally) use Handsome as a name either.

Instead, most of the earliest famed Beaus seemed to have adopted it strictly as a nickname. This could be related to their good looks, or related to it's other meanings. Beau is also a term for a "male admirer" or boyfriend; or for a "rich, fashionable young man".

But there is no denying that Beau has now made the transition to given name. Perhaps it's because of it's positive French meaning, or a adoration of French culture and language. Or maybe it's just that it's a cute sounding (pronounced Boh) one syllable name, which is often a winner.

Whichever it is, Beau has been in the U.S charts for boys since the 1940's and girls since the 1970's. For the girls it's still rare (but on the rise in recent years) whereas for boys Beau entered the top 1000 in the 60's. It peaked in 1980 at #203, but could quite possibly beat that in the next year or two as it has been rising in recent years and was poised at position #270 in 2013. Nowhere is Beau more popular than in the southern hemisphere though. He's a top 100 name in both Australia and New Zealand, and has been for a few years now.

Beau Garrett
Beau comes in many guises, which is possibly what makes him continue to feel fresh and current. The popular impression of Beau may have once been the southern gentleman who made the ladies swoon, or the roguish cowboy full of swagger. Thanks to several young Beaus in the public eye these days though, people today are more likely to associate Beau with the young, popular, adventurous, laid-back, sexy surfer type. Examples include:

  • Canadian actor Beau Mirchoff (who plays Matty in 'Awkward') 
  • ex 'Home and Away' star, Australian actor Beau Brady
  • Australian Beau Ryan, and ex rugby player and TV presenter
  • You Tube sensation Beau Brooks, of The Janoskians
  • American model and actress Beau Garrett 

Hopefully these famous Beaus will help reduce confusion about the pronunciation, as one of the main complaints is that people mistakenly say Boo or Bow (rhymes with cow). Another is that it's similarity to B.O. - an abbreviation for body odour - is a possible source of teasing. But plenty of Beaus have done just fine with those challenges.

One thing is for sure, Beau packs a lot of punch for such a small name. If you're after a one syllable name full of old-fashioned charm that still feels young and fresh, you should take another look at Beau.


  1. Very cute - no wonder it is rising!

    I wonder if it could also be attributed to the rise of archery-and-hunting-themed names, because Beau sounds like "bow"? I have seen hunters/archers pick it for this reason.

    1. Great point! I notice you mentioned recently that there have been a couple of Arrows (as middle names) in the celebrity births, so it would definitely make sense.