Azul is the Spanish and Portuguese word for “blue” which has recently appeared as a female given name in the United States and Catalonia, Spain. Using the name Azul for girls is akin to names like Biana or Blanche (the Italian and French words for “white” respectively), or other popular English “color” names such as Ruby, Scarlett, Violet, Amber or Jade (Azure is the English equivalent to the Spanish Azul). Azul can find its etymological roots in the Medieval Latin “lazulum” meaning “heaven, sky” which was borrowed from the Persian لازورد “lāzaward” meaning the same. Lāzhward was the ancient location where the semi-precious stone “lapis lazuli” was mined (modern-day northeastern Afghanistan); a stone prized for its deep blue color and often referred to as the “stone of heaven”, “sky stone” or “blue stone”. The ancient Afghanis were active in their trade of lapis lazuli to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and later to the Romans (Cleopatra used a powdered-down element of the stone for her eye shadow). So ultimately “Azul” gets her “blue” color from this ancient cherished stone.
Azul is pretty new to the American female naming charts and most likely used mainly within the Hispanic-American population. The name first appeared in 2007, increased in usage for the first two years and then quickly reversed her course on the charts. In fact, the name is now so rare she slipped off the Top 1000 list of girl’s names and is no longer on the charts as of 2011. It seems unclear what prompted the sudden usage of this “blue” baby name but whatever appeal it had initially seems to be fading. Azul (or blue) is the color of the sky and the ocean and therefore often identified as a “favorite color”. Azul/blue is symbolic of reliability and constancy (like the ocean and the sky) and depending on the hue can either create calm or prompt excitement. Azul is a pretty choice and relatively rare as a female given name.