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The male forename Louis, pronounced 'LOO-ie', IPA: /ˈluː ɪ/, or in its native language nearer to 'loo-ee', IPA: /lwiː/, with equal stress, is one of many forms of the same name. (See also Lewes - Lewis - Louis.) In English-speaking countries, the pronunciation and spelling are sometimes anglicized to Lewis ('Loo-iss', IPA: /ˈluː ɪs/). (In the US and cultures influenced by American English generally, the name is often abbreviated to Lou or Louie anyway.) When the forename precedes a surname beginning with 'S-', the pronunciation of Louis is, for most speakers, identical with that of Lewis, giving rise to confusion among some about whether the Scots writer 'RLS' was a Louis (he was) or a Lewis (he wasn't): he was Robert Louis Stevenson.

The name Louis/Lewis has been spelled in different ways in English at different times. The poet Chaucer dedicated his 'Treatise on the Astrolabe' to "my little son Lowis".
Louis is a French form of Ludovicus, the Latin, or written form, of the name of the first Merovingian king 'of all the Franks', the precursor of the modern state of France, who lived from about 466 to 511 CE and may be regarded as having ruled most of Gaul from 507. He is usually called Clovis I in modern writing, though he most probably called himself Hlodovic or Chlodovech, a compound of hld 'famous, clear' + wg 'war'. Among his descendants on the Frankish throne were Clovis II, king of Neustria and Burgundy, (637-c. 658), ruling mostly as a minor and a figurehead; Clovis III (reigned 675-676), a so-called king of Austrasia, who likewise achieved nothing; and Clovis IV (682-695), called the 'sole king of the Franks' from 691 (when he was 9) until 695 (when he was 13, and died).
Louis itself is the most common name by far of the French kings. There are details of these at King Louis, and of one of them at Saint Louis.
The Germanic form of Louis is Ludwig. Apart from the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), referred to by the teenage narrator of Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange simply as Ludwig van - a term of admiration - the name Ludwig has been used by several famous people, perhaps most famously by three kings of Bavaria, principally Ludwig II (1845-1886): he ruled from 1864 until his mysterious death the day after he was deposed). He was interested in the arts, building the famous castle Schloss Neuschwanstein, which with other fairy-tale palaces drained his resources, as well as serving as a model for illustrations in many books, mostly for children; he was also a patron of Wagner. He has been called the Swan King, der Märchenkönig ('the Fairy-tale King') and 'Ludwig the Mad'.

Equivalent names include: Lodovico and Luigi in Italian; Luis in Spanish and Portuguese; Lluis in Catalan. Cognates: Scottish Gaelic: Luthais; German: Ludwig; Dutch: Lodewijk; Scandinavian: Ludvig, Lovis; Spanish: Luis; Catalan: Lluis; Portuguese: Luis; Italian: Luigi, Lodovico; Polish: Ludwik; Czech, Slovenian: Ludvik; Hungarian: Lajos; Lithuanian: Liudvikas. Female equivalents include Louisa and Louise. The name Aloysius (pronounced 'al-oh-ISH-us', IPA: /æl əʊ ('or ə) ɪʃ əs/) is possibly a Latinized form of a Provençal version of Louis. There is a feminine form Aloisia, a Latinate feminine form of Aloysius; but it has also been related to a German name Alois,which is probably from Germanic Alwisi 'all wise', and can also be seen in the forms Aloïs and Aloys. The name Alois has been used by the Princes (rulers) of Liechtenstein.

Much of the information on this page is taken from Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges (2006), [[1]]