Celebrity Names Blog

Clémence Poésy: Is This 'Harry Potter' Actor's Name Too French for US Tastes?

Clémence Poésy: Is This 'Harry Potter' Actor's Name Too French for US Tastes?
ANG/Fame Pictures

Harry Potter has changed many things, but one arena where J.K. Rowling's books have had surprisingly little effect is the realm of baby names. Even Hermione -- a name from both ancient Greek and Shakespeare -- splits Name Nerds straight down the middle.

If the Harry Potter character names can feel too ubiquitous -- and too Dickensian -- for namers (Danica McKellar excepted) , what about the names of Harry Potter actors? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 will once again feature French actress Clémence Poésy in the role of Fleur Delacourt (another of those amazing names).

Frankly, we think the actress lucked out in the name department. Poésy, her stage name, was her mother's last name. Poesy is the term designating "the art or composition of poetry."  In a name culture where Story, Sonnet, Fable and Poet are baby names for the artsy set, Poésy has a whimsical quality.

But Clémence is the real star. Derived from the same root as celebrity favorite, Clementine, Clémence means "mild, gentle." It is a top-100 name in Belgium, and a top-200 name in Quebec. In fact, Clémence does bring to mind another Quebecois favorite: Florence. The name was #2 among Quebec's most popular names in 2009, and was recently chosen by British Prime Minister David Cameron for his daughter.

In the US, Patience, Essence and Cadence/Kadence/Kaydence are also moving up the charts, suggesting that we might be open to another -ence name. But in the end, is Clémence too French to find a toe-hold here?

What do you think of the name, Clémence Poésy? Do you like Clémence? Which name would you most like to see break onto the US charts: Clémence or Hermione?



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November 18, 2010 4:59 PM
By Sebalek (not verified)

Hermione, hands down. If I could only get DH on board....

November 19, 2010 2:12 PM
By lucubratrix (not verified)

Clémence is lovely, but my vote goes hands down to Hermione, because that is very likely the name we'll give this little one if it turns out to be a she. My spouse is actually the one who lobbied hard for it, and after reading a (non-HP, non-Shakespeare) book with a Hermione in it just now, she's even more convinced that it's The Name.

November 23, 2010 1:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm not big on either name but I'd go with Hermione. Clemence is too much like the word clemency which bring to mind images of prison and violence.

November 23, 2010 1:42 PM
By Faye (not verified)

I love both names, but I find it really awkward to be discussing whether a fictional character's name is as worthy of merit as a *real person*'s. :|

Clémence is perfectly lovely, I think! Virtue/trait names always sound good and it's associated with justice, but sounds more feminine as a name. Although you're right, it's that stage/mom's maiden last name that really makes it.

November 23, 2010 2:52 PM
By Mme.g (not verified)

Fleur Delacour's name doesn't have a "t" at the end.

I think Clémence is similar to Laurence - a name that, in French, is very feminine, but in English sounds masculine (Clement, Lawrence). Laurence is also very popular in Francophone cultures.

I think the standardized spelling and pronunciation of most French names prevents the problems many English-speaking parents have with strangers mispronouncing the names of their children.

Unfortunately, it is what keeps many English-speaking couples from choosing Francophone names, because they will surely be butchered time and again! My husband and I don't have any children, but he's shot down plenty of Francophone names because he knows he can't pronounce them.

November 27, 2010 11:34 AM
By Michelle (not verified)

We just had twins on November 2nd and named our daughter Clemence. We loved the name Clementine when it was pronounced the French way but felt it lost its charm with the English pronounciation. We found Clemence as a modern form and loved it. We all ready have a daughter named Bibiane and we named our son (the other twin) Jovain, and we thought that although they are old names, they had a modern feel to them.

January 9, 2011 12:14 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Wow. I would take Clemence any day over Hermione. The latter makes me think of "her hiney." I also think it's hard to look at and pronounce, and doesn't sound very pretty IMO.

Plus, I'd rather be strung by my toes than name my child something so obviously Harry Potteresque. I can only imagine the taunting my poor child would get.

February 26, 2011 11:07 PM
By Linda French (not verified)

I think Clemence is perfectly suited for America. What a beautiful name. It means mercy right? And I would not have related it to Harry Potter movies although others may know them much better than I do.

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