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Beau Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Beau including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Beau Overview

  • Meaning: Beau means “handsome” and refers to a woman’s suitor or boyfriend.
  • Gender: Beau is traditionally a man’s name, but is also gender-neutral.
  • Origin: From the Latin “bellus” and the French derivation meaning “handsome.”
  • Pronunciation: “bo”
  • Popularity: The name Beau for a boy has risen in popularity around the world and at present is #94 in the U.S.
  • Nicknames: Bay, Bear, Bee, Beebee, Biff, Bo, Bobo.
  • Variations: Bea (American), Beaux (French), Beaw (English), Bello (Italian), Belo (Portuguese), Bo (English), Boe (Scandinavian), Boh (English), Bou (English), Bouw (English).
  • Namesakes: Beau Bennet (American hockey player); Beau Garrett (American actress); Beau Smith (American comic book writer).

What Does Beau Mean?

In French, the name Beau means “handsome” or “beautiful” in the masculine sense.

Over the years, the English word “beau” changed to indicate a woman’s sweetheart or boyfriend. Beau can also mean “good, fair, or gallant.”

Beau is an old-fashioned name that evokes a time when women were escorted in public. Couples took courting seriously back when a woman’s beau would accompany her to the opera or the moving pictures.

What Is the Origin of the Name Beau?

Beau originally comes from the Latin “bellus” meaning “beautiful,” lending its meaning to many languages throughout history.

In the late 17th century, the French derivation of Beau translated to “handsome.”

Initially, the term “beau” described the beauty of a woman but is now used to describe her handsome attendant or suitor (1).

How Popular Is the Name Beau?

Currently, the name Beau for a boy ranks #94 in popularity in the U.S.

According to the Social Security Administration, the number of male births with the name Beau is 3793 and has steadily gained popularity in the U.S. since 2008.

In the United States, the name Beau is quite popular in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, and the American Southern. Beau as a surname appears most often in Wisconsin, Iowa, and New York.

Beau as a girl’s name is not in the top 1000 names in the U.S. for any year of birth beginning with 1900.

How Do I Pronounce Beau?

Beau is pronounced “bo” based on the French derivative.

Is Beau a Boy or Girl Name?

Beau is masculine and not often used as a girl’s name in the U.S. However, Beau is sometimes used for a boy or girl in the Netherlands and the U.K.

The French feminine version of Beau is Belle, pronounced like the word bell, meaning “gorgeous female” and sometimes indicates the prettiest girl in the room (2).

Variations of Beau

In different languages, Beau has many spelling variations though the meaning remains similar from country to country:

  • Allen (Gaelic)
  • Amant (Polish)
  • Bea (American)
  • Beaux (French)
  • Beaw (English)
  • Bello (Italian)
  • Belo (Portuguese)
  • Bo (English)
  • Boe (Scandinavian)
  • Boh (English)
  • Bou (English)
  • Bouw (English)
  • Bow (English)
  • Bowe (English)
  • Galan (Spanish)
  • Schon (German)

Nicknames for Beau

To begin with, the name Beau is short and sweet, but it still inspires several cute nicknames:

  • Bay
  • Bear
  • Bee
  • Beebee
  • Biff
  • Bo
  • Bobo

Similar Names to Beau

When looking for a boy’s name, you might consider the longer version of the name Beau. For a boy or girl, you can choose a name with similar sounds:

Middle Names for Beau

When pairing a middle name with the first name Beau, there are two ways you might go.

Since Beau derives from French, a middle name that is also French would match nicely:

  • Francis
  • Gaston
  • Gilbert
  • Guy
  • Hugo
  • Jacques
  • Marc
  • Marcel
  • Pascal
  • Phillipe

When used in the American south, the first name Beau could be matched with middle names reminiscent of the Old West:

Sibling Names for Beau

Below are some popular names for Beau’s brothers and sisters.

For a Brother:

For a Sister:

Famous People Named Beau

  • Beau Bennett: American hockey player.
  • Beau Bokan: American musician and songwriter.
  • Beau Brady: Australian Actor.
  • Beau Brinkley: American football player.
  • Beau Garrett: American actress and model.
  • Beau Henry: Australian Rugby League footballer.
  • Beau Mirchoff: American-born Candian actor.
  • Beau Sia: American poet.
  • Beau Smith: American comic book writer and columnist.

Beau in Popular Culture

Beau is a popular name for many famous fictional characters including:

  • Beau: Character from the Disney movie “Tangled.”
  • Beau Felton: Character from the American television show “Homicide: Life on the Street.”
  • Beau Geste: Character from the novel “Beau Geste.”
  • Beau Handsome: Character from the animated television show “Wordgirl.”
  • Beau Landry: Character from the show “Good Luck Charlie.”
  • Beau Maverick: Character from the television show “Maverick.”
  • Beau Richardson: Character from the American television show “The Edge of Night.”

Beau FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the name Beau.

What Are the Early Origins of the Name Beau?

Early origins of the Beau family surname revolve around Nicolas LeBeau in the early 1300s, a famous knight and lord in Southern France.

The name Beau used as a given name was first recorded in England and Wales in 1910. Previously, it was traditionally used in the long-form as Beaumont or Beauchamp throughout the 18th century and into the 19th century.

As a surname, Beau is found in the USA, UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. Beau is also found in Germany as Lebeau (3).

The oldest recorded birth by the U.S. Social Security Administration for the first name Beau is Wednesday, February 12th, 1873 (4).

What Are Some Common Phrases Using the Word “Beau?”

Beau comme un cœur from the French is translated as “beautiful as a heart.”

Beau ideal from the French is translated as “the embodiment of excellence of a particular model or idea.”

Beau monde from the French is translated as “beautiful world” and is used when talking about high society and the elite.

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