Baby Name Trendlet: Ev-starting names from Eve to Ever to Everest
By Linda Rosenkrantz
For some time now we’ve been seeing a profusion of soft El-starting names, from Ella to Eleanor, Eloise, Elliot, Ellery, Elodie, et al. And now we’ve begun to notice some of her stronger, sharper, Ev-starting cousins coming into the picture, ranging from the ancient Eve to the nouveau Everest.
Eve—The simple, strong, Biblical Eve is clearly the mother of this family of names, with remarkable vigor for a three-letter name. It derives from the Hebrew word for “living” and was named by Adam ‘because she was the mother of all living,” and is now ranking at 558. Clive Owen is among the parents of an Eve.
Eva—Eva, the Latin form of Eve, is now a Top 100 name, perhaps gaining from some Ava-overflow from Ava, and influenced by the popularity of Eva Longoria and a few other sexy stars. It’s a true international favorite—Number 7 in the Netherlands, 13 in Scotland and 25 in England, and is pronounced as, yes, Ava in several cultures. One Ev-name that isn’t getting much love is Eva’s pet form, Evita, which hasn’t shaken its string connection to the longtime Argentine First Lady, Eva/Evita Peron.
Evan—This gentle Welsh form of John, by way of Ifan is now also occasionally heard on girls, as exemplified by young actress Evan Rachel Wood. But it is still a popular, evergreen choice for boys—currently Number at 47– while not even in the Top 1000 for girls.
Evangeline—Made famous as the title of a wildly popular Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem centering on the character of Evangeline Bellefontaine, Evangeline is a Greek name meaning ‘good tidings’ and was the full name of Little Eva in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Its romantic image has been modernized by Canadian actress Evangeline Lilly, star of Lost, and appearances in both Nanny McFee and The Princess and the Frog (as the name of a star), plus it has religious overtones as well. Evangeline has been on a steep upward path for several years, and is now at Number 292.
Evelyn–The vintage Evelyn has been welcomed back with open arms by baby namers, who have returned it to the Top 30 for the first time since the 1930s—she had reached as high as Number 10 in 1910. She’s got that cool Ev-element, plus the feminizing lyn ending. (You’d never guess that it was once a primarily male name, as in Evelyn Waugh.) Angelina Jolie empowered her as the character of Evelyn Salt in the 2010 film Salt; actress Debi Mazar has a daughter named Evelyn. There were close to 7,000 little Evelyns born in 2012 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more when the next list appears in May.
Evelina—Connected more closely to the As than the Evs, Evelina was in regular use in the Middle Ages, got a boost in popularity from an eponymous eighteenth century novel, but has been a relative rarity in modern times. We think that’s about to change.
Evening—An evocative word name that could be a daytime alternative to Dawn. Our friend K. M Sheard cites the example of a nineteenth century Cheshire baby named Morning Dew. The full name of the Eve character in the book Eve and Adam is Evening.
Ever—There have been one recent starbaby boy (Alanis Morrisette’s) and one starbaby girl (Milla Jovovich’s, shown in the illustration)– long after Robert Carradine used it for his daughter–so we can declare it officially unisex. Ever has a patently timeless quality, and could work well in the middle.
Everett—The strong and stately Everett has been shooting up the popularity list, gaining more than 100 places in the last year, and Number 56 on Nameberry. It’s been worn as a character name in recent years by George Clooney and Dermot Mulroney, and used for his son by Isaac Hanson.
Everest—The lofty Everest, a snow-capped relation of Everett, seemed like a fresh new idea when George Lucas bestowed it on his baby daughter, though he wasn’t the first to use it. Since the Himalayan Mt. Everest, named for surveyor Sir George Everest, is the Earth’s highest mountain, Everest can be seen as a truly aspirational choiced.
Everly—Everly sneaked onto the girls’ popularity list last year, and its recent high-profile choice for his daughter by Channing Tatum will surely push it further up—it’s already in the Nameberry Top 100.
Evie—Evie is the all-purpose Ev-name nickname, a big current success on her own; she returned to the US pop list in 2007, where it is now ranked at #602—still not nearly as widespread as it is in Wales (Number 8), Australia (25) and Scotland (30).
Three names that haven’t yet benefitted from the Ev-name upswing are:
Evadne – the name of two Greek mythological figures, one of whom was Poseidon’s daughter, and another who became a symbol of wifely devotion. Evadne was heard occasionally in nineteenth century England, more often in literature than real life, and more recently was attached to a comical character on British TV. Rarely heard in the US, it would make a distinctive, esoteric-feeling choice in the Daphne–Ariadne mold.
Evander—One of the more underused Ev-names, you could almost think of him as a smoosh of Evan and Alexander. And though he may not at first sound like it, Evander is an ancient mythological name—he was a son of Hermes, an Arcadian hero who founded a city in Italy where Rome was later built and plays a minor role in Virgil’s Aeneid. The name was long associated with boxer Evander “the real deal” Holyfield.
Several of the more popular names have led to a number of variations, smooshes and spelling spins, including:
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on February 25th, 2014 at 9:33 am
I love a lot of these! I have a little “niece” named Evelyn Kay coming in a few months and have an Evan, Everett, and Evangeline already in our little circle of friends. Never noticed the trend, which means the names are classic and don’t feel trendy! They feel very at home with all the Ellas, Elliots, and Emilys of the age. I think “Evander” is going to be huge!
I have to mention – because NameBerry is usually so precise – lots of little errors you might want to fix for consistency: Eve has three letters (not three syllables,) Eva LongOria, and Debi MazAr. My need for spelling consistency made me finally register as a Berry even though I’ve read the blog for a couple of years. The force is strong with me. 🙂
on February 25th, 2014 at 10:23 am
I was just looking up Ever the other day. My great grandma was Evelyn and I was going to try to honor her in some way.
I love a lot of these but they are all over central Illinois where we live.
on February 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am
I love a lot of these, as well! Eva, Eve, and Everett are on my list right now, and Evangeline, Evelina, Evelyn, Eve, and Evan all have been in the past. There’s something so timeless and refreshing about them!
I wanted to add another typo–it’s Evita Peron, not Evita Person! 🙂
on February 25th, 2014 at 12:17 pm
on February 25th, 2014 at 12:31 pm
My fave isn’t listed. It’s Evony <3
on February 25th, 2014 at 12:32 pm
Evorie? That sounds like every. Weird
on February 25th, 2014 at 1:04 pm
I’ve adored Everly from afar now I can fully express my love for it! I’d like Evangeline if it’spopularity wasn’t increasing. I like Eva when it’s with the long ee, not when pronounced like Ava (too confusing for me).
on February 25th, 2014 at 1:06 pm
I must admit that I have a slight obsession for Ev- names 😉 I’m glad to see Everett on the list especially! Everett is one of my long time favourite boys names. Another long time favourite is Evanthe- it comes with the adorable nickname of Thea too, which pushes it into my top 3 for girls!
on February 25th, 2014 at 2:49 pm
The dragonfly’s name in the Disney movie The Rescuers was Evinrude. So cute…especially with Eva Gabor’s accent.
on February 25th, 2014 at 6:06 pm
I love Ev- names! I can’t use them though due to our surname.
Everett- This name runs strong in my family. It is either a first or middle for the majority of the men, especially firstborns, back several generations. Nobody would question why I named my son Everett, if I chose to, but aside from that, I love it. It is great!
Everest- This would be a cool one, if I decided to honor the Everett tradition, while still retaining originality 😉
Ever- This was one of the first celeb baby names I fell in deep love with. I still love it…but not as much as that baby’s middle name: Gabo!
Evelyn- I dislike Eve, but Evelyn is lovely.
on February 25th, 2014 at 9:14 pm
Ditto: I love Ev- names! Yay! Hopefully they don’t get too popular.
Though I dislike ev-uh (like ev-uh-lyn). So, I stick to Eva and stuff like that.
Also, three more to add: Yvette, Yvonne, and Yvaine. I’ve always thought I could go with Yvette if I wanted an Evie but not an ev-uh.
on February 25th, 2014 at 9:55 pm
I have a friend who named her daughter Everlynn. Not a fan. My favorite Ev- names are Evelyn (pronounced EVV-eh-lyn though; not EVE-eh-lyn) and Evvy (again with the short e sound, not the long e sound). I don’t know why I love it with the short e sound but not at all with the long e sound.
on February 25th, 2014 at 10:14 pm
I love Eve and Eva–can’t decide which one I prefer. Also a fan of Evan and Everett. Don’t particularly like any of the others. Evangeline is my least favorite–it’s horribly frilly and just sticks in your mouth.
on February 26th, 2014 at 7:58 am
How about Evanora, Evanna or Evora?
on February 26th, 2014 at 5:31 pm
Ah so many gorgeous ‘ev’ names!! Gotta love the ev names!
on February 26th, 2014 at 6:56 pm
My name is Evangelia, nickname Evie (with a short e sound). It is so crazy to me how popular the Ev- variations have gotten! I never knew anyone with my name growing up, but lately have met several little Evies.
on March 2nd, 2014 at 1:41 am
Evereux? I’ve been looking at baby gurl name Devereux?
on March 3rd, 2014 at 3:51 pm
Me and my SO had Evermay picked out for a middle name if our son had been a girl. Evermay is the name of an old estate in Washington D.C., which I came across in a home decor magazine several years ago. Apparently the name of the estate comes from the epitaph’s of the family members who are buried on the estate. “Ever May He Live.”
“Ever May Her Memory Be Strength, Elegance, Vitality.” “Ever May his Love of Beauty and Tradition Be Preserved.”
We chose Evermay as a way to honor my SO grandmother whose middle name was Mae.
on July 13th, 2017 at 10:19 am
I believe Beverly will soon start rising, on the coat tails of these Ev names!
on January 14th, 2018 at 3:47 pm
One of my GPs is Evarae – it’s absolutely beautiful but not usable for me.
Evrim (evolution) and Evren (cosmos) are other Ev- names I like.
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