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French Bretagne, named for 5c. Romano-Celtic refugees from the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain who crossed the channel and settled there (see Britain). The Little Britain or Less Britain (lasse brutaine, c.1300) of old, contrasted with the Great Britain. As a name for girls (with various spellings), almost unknown in U.S. before 1970, then a top-10 name for babies born between 1986 and 1995.