Origin: French, Breton
Meaning: a diminutive form of Yann (Breton form of John)
Gender: masculine, sometimes used as a unisex name outside Brittany
Yannick is a franconisation of the Breton male Yanig, which is a diminutive form of Yann (John).
Due to the –ick, ique suffix which is traditionally found in French unisex names, it was sometimes bestowed on females. In Bretagne (Brittany) however, the name was always strictly masculine. There is an almost identical Breton female name, Janig (Jeannette) which is sometimes franconized to Jeannick/Jeannique, and this is where the confusion among French-speakers lie, as Janig was also sometimes franconized to Yannick.
The name first entered the Francophone mainstream in the 1920s, and by the 1970s, became an extremely popular male name in France and outside the Hexagone. He was the Jason of France and is now considered a name dated to the 1970s-90s. Thereafter, the name trickled into use in Dutch-speaking, German-speaking, and Portuguese-speaking countries
Yannick was in the French top 100 between 1946-1991. It peaked in popularity 3 years in a row between 1972-1974, coming in as the 31st most popular male name. In 2008, Yannick had burned himself out and disappeared from the popularity charts altogether, and has yet to be seen.
In Belgium, Yannick was in the Top 100 between 2000 and 2001 and peaked at #73 in 2000. In French-speaking Switzerland, he peaked at #34 between 1995-1996. He has made his appearance in Austria, coming and going from the Top 100 between 2005 and 2010 and peaked at #57 in 2006 and 2010. In the Netherlands, he remains in the Top 1000, though not popular, he comes in at a meagre #369.
In Germany, the name appears in the form of Jannik and became wildly popular starting in the mid-80s. In this case, however, the name may be used in reference to a Dutch or Frisian diminutive form of Jan (john), but German parents have occasionally opted for the Yannick spelling if they wanted to be a bit different, and have sometimes even confused the Polish diminutive form Janek as a nice alternative, though in Poland, Janek is never used as an independent given name. An interesting side note, in France and Quebec, Yannick did become slightly popular among Polish immigrant parents due to its similarity to Janek. A notable Franco-Polish bearer is football player, Yannick Stopyra (b. 1961).
Through the years, the name has been borne by several notable personalities, some of the most notable being French tennis player, Yannick Noah (b. 1960), Canadian actor, Yannich Bisson (b.1969), Portuguese football player, Yannick dos Santos Djaló (b. 1986); French olympic Swimmer, Yannick Aignel (b. 1992), and Belgian football player, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (b. 1993).
Other spellings include: Yannig, Yanik, Yanick, Yannik and the particular favorite among Quebecois, Yanic.