By Abby Sandel
Not only has Olivia been a Top Ten favorite for the entire twenty-first century, it’s currently the second most popular name for girls born in the US, just a tick behind Emma.
If you’re in love with Olivia, but aren’t wild about your daughter sharing her name, here’s a solution: seventeen gorgeous girl names, all starting with O and ending in –ia. But not a one of these cracks the current US Top 100. In fact, most of these names fall far outside of the Top 1000.
Instead of Olivia, consider:
Obelia – A rarity borrowed from Greek, Obelia feels vaguely Victorian. It comes with an intriguing meaning, too – needle. A bonus? In the extended Star Wars universe, there’s a planet called Obelia.
Oceania – Ocean is rising as a given name for boys and girls alike, with the feminine Oceane and Oceana gaining, too. Oceania is the frilliest of the possibilities, and for now, the rarest.
Octavia – An ancient name relating to the number eight and the musical term octave, Octavia’s profile has been boosted by Oscar-winnng actress Octavia Spencer.
Odelia – Odelia is a Hebrew name with an appealing meaning – I will praise the Lord. Couple that with an on-trend sound, and it’s easy to imagine more parents considering Odelia as a substitute for Olivia.
Odyssia – The feminine form of hero name Odysseus, the very rare Odyssia signals adventure ahead.
Olicia – If we sometimes spell Olivia with an A, why not Alicia with an O? Actually, Olicia claims separate roots, a Slavic nickname for Olga or Alexandra.
Olympia – Olympia blends the ancient world and modern athletic achievement. Alexander the Great’s mother was known as Olympias.
Onoria – Jessica Alba has a daughter named Honor, but more elaborate versions of the name abound. There’s Honora, Annora, Onora, Honoria, and, of course, Onoria. That makes this rarity one-part virtue name, one-part Olivia substitute.
Ophelia – A recent return to the US Top 1000, Ophelia has shed her tragic roots. Instead, it’s literary, thanks to Shakespeare; musical, thanks to the Lumineers; and undeniably stylish.
Oracia – Horace is stuck in style limbo, but this Spanish feminine form could make an intriguing choice today.
Orelia – An Aurelia sound-alike, Orelia is a golden girl name.
Oria – Oria looks like chart-topper Aria, but it’s another glittering gold name for girls. It’s also a medieval saint’s name, or it can be derived from Oriana, a Latin name meaning dawn.
Orinthia – Orinthia means “to excite.” George Bernard Shaw gave the name to a character in his 1929 play “The Apple Cart,” writing, “Orinthia is a name full of magic for me.”
Orlandia – The feminine form of romantic, literary Orlando, Orlandia is almost completely unknown in the US.
Orphia – Mythological musician Orpheus descended to the underworld to bring his wife home. Orpheus is rare as a given name; the feminine forms, Orpha and Orphia, even more so.
Ottilia – Cousin to Otto, Odile, and Odette, Ottilia means wealthy. It made the US Top 1000 back in the late 1800s, but has faded to obscurity since.
Ovidia – Roman poet Ovid’s family name was Ovidius; this is simply the feminine form. It’s among the rarest of the possibilities in English, but it’s seen some use in the Spanish-speaking world.
Would you choose any of these names over Olivia? What else would you suggest as substitutes?