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Pronunciation/ˈɛm/, /ˈɛzm/ or /ˈɛzm/
Gendermale or female
Word/nameOld French esmé (feminine esmée), "esteemed", past participle of esmer, "to esteem"
Meaning1. Old French: "beloved", "esteemed"
2. Short for Esméralda
Other names
Related namesEdmé, Esméralda, Ismi

Esmé (more commonly Esme) or Esmée is an English first name, from the past participle of the Old French verb esmer, "to esteem", thus signifying "esteemed". Another theory is that esmer is an alternative spelling of today's aimer,[1][original research?] "to love", thus the name is aimé, meaning "beloved", equivalent to the modern feminine first name "Amy". Originally a masculine name, Esme had become a feminine name by the mid-twentieth century.[2]

The name was first popularised by Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox (1542–1583), a French nobleman of Scottish origins who returned to Scotland for part of his life. However with regard to spelling (and pronunciation), on one of his surviving letters, dated 1583, he signed himself "Amy".[3]

Esme was among the 100 most popular baby names for girls in the UK in 2015.[4]

Esme is also used as a short form for the Spanish feminine name Esmeralda, meaning "emerald".[2]

Notable bearers


In order of birth:


In order of birth:

Fictional characters


  1. ^ John Orr, Words and Sounds: in English and French, 1953, p.114, quoted in [1]
  2. ^ a b Sandel, Abby (22 October 2012). "Esme: Baby Name of the Day". Appellation Mountain.
  3. ^ G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, n.s., vol.7, p.604, note (a)
  4. ^ "The 100 Most Popular British Baby Names".
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