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Hugo Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Hugo Overview

  • Meaning: Hugo means “mind” or “spirit.”
  • Gender: Hugo has primarily used a masculine name and as a surname in some cases.
  • Origin: The origins of the name are Germanic.
  • Pronunciation: “hyoo-gow”
  • Popularity: The name is popular in the United States.
  • Nicknames: H, Hue, Hughie, Huey.
  • Variations: Hugh, Hugues, Ugo, Huake, Huw.
  • Namesakes: Hugo Ball, Hugo Black, Hugo Hamilton, Hugo Pratt, Hugo Young.

What Does Hugo Mean?

Hugo means “mind” or “spirit.” This meaning makes the name an excellent choice for parents who hope their child will grow up to be an intellectual.

What Is the Origin of the Name Hugo?

The origin of the name Hugo is Germanic. Since its first use, there have been many iterations of this name within the language. The root word of the name, from which we extrapolate the meaning of mind or spirit, is “hug” (1).

Many Germanic boy names combine two-word elements to create names in the language. In addition to Hugo, the root of the name has been used to develop several others. Examples include Hugibald, Hugubert (Hubert), Hugibrant, and Adalhug.

Of all of the names created using ‘hug’ in Germanic, Hugo remains the most widely used (2).

How Popular Is the Name Hugo?

In the United States, the popularity of the name Hugo has varied. The name was only a somewhat-popular choice around the 1940s and 1950s but has since been regaining its popularity. Presently, the name is moderately popular and has been so over the last decade (3).

While the name Hugo has gone through popularity fluctuations in the United States, the name has longstanding popularity in Europe. For example, Hugo is in the top one hundred picks for boy names in Norway, making it a popular choice in the country (4).

Hugo has been even more popular in other countries around the world, reaching the top ten in recent years in Belgium, France, Spain, and Sweden. In Spain, the name was the number one choice in 2018 (5).

How Do I Pronounce Hugo?

The name is the same for British and American English. Pronounce Hugo like “hyoo-gow.” The ‘h’ sound in French and Spanish is silent, creating the yoo-gow pronunciation.

Is Hugo a Boy or Girl Name?

Historically, Hugo has been a boy name. The name has a long history of being used as a surname. One of the most famous examples is Victor Hugo, a French writer famous for penning classics like Les Misèrables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (6).

Variations of Hugo

Because of the widespread popularity of the name in Europe, plenty of variations of Hugo exist. If you like Hugo but want something more distinct, consider one of these options:

  • Hugh (English)
  • Hugues (French)
  • Ugo (Italian)
  • Hauke (Frisian)
  • Huw (Welsh)

Nicknames for Hugo

Even though Hugo is already a short boy name, there are plenty of cute nicknames for kids with the name. These were some of our favorite nickname options:

  • H
  • Hue
  • Hughie
  • Hugie
  • Huey

Similar Names to Hugo

Do you like the name Hugo but don’t think it fits your child? We’ve collected some names with close meanings or of similar origin. Consider these options for naming your child:

  • Conrad
  • Ethan
  • Feivel
  • Herman
  • Hewitt
  • Hudson
  • Klaus
  • Lorenz
  • Reginald

Middle Names for Hugo

If you have settled on Hugo as a first name for your baby, you will need a middle name to go along with it. Take a look at our favorite examples of middle names for Hugo:

Sibling Names for Hugo

Looking for a sibling name for Hugo? We have got some options for you. Check out our best picks for a sibling name for Hugo.

For a sister:

For a brother:

Famous People Named Hugo

Since the name has been popular globally, there are many notable Hugos. Here are a few famous people with the name:

  • Hugo of Hachberg-Sausenberg: German noble.
  • Hugo Ball: German author and founder of the Dada movement.
  • Hugo Black: U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
  • Hugo Cabral: Brazilian footballer.
  • Hugo Hamilton: Irish writer.
  • Hugo de Lantins: Franco-Flemish composer.
  • Hugo Pratt: Italian comic book creator.
  • Hugo Robus: American sculptor.
  • Hugo Young: British journalist.

Hugo in Popular Culture

The name Hugo has been prominent in popular culture for a while. Let’s look at some of our favorite characters with the name:

  • Hugo DeAngelis: Character from HBO’s The Sopranos.
  • Hugo Baskerville: Character from the Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
  • Hugo Cabret: Character from The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the film adaptation Hugo.
  • Hugo Drax: Villain from the James Bond novel Moonraker.
  • Hugo Strange: A Batman villain from DC Comics.
  • Hugo Simpson: Bart’s twin brother in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror.

Hugo FAQs

Do you have additional questions about Hugo? These were some of our most frequently asked questions regarding the name.

Can Hugo Be a Girl Name?

While Hugo is traditionally a masculine name, there’s no reason the name can’t be used for a girl. Plenty of names usually thought of as masculine can be used as girls’ names. Think of names such as Kelsey, Taylor, or Ryan. Start a trend and choose Hugo for your child regardless of the norms.

Is Hugo a Royal Name?

In our research, we didn’t find Hugo used as a royal name. However, Hugh, a variant of Hugo, was popularized in the Middle Ages by Frankish nobility. So, while the name wasn’t used by royalty, it has been a popular choice for prominent figures (7)!

Is Hugh Short for Hugo?

Hugh can be short for Hugo if you’re looking for a nickname. Historically, Hugh is a variation of Hugo.

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