Happily Ever Ava

baby name Ava

Ava is one of the biggest recent baby name success stories, jumping from almost the bottom of the Top 1000 twenty years ago to #4 last year–and it could be heading for #1. I’m certainly hearing it everywhere I go, in the street and in the supermarket, and seeing it on popularity lists worldwide. This brings to mind two questions: A) What can you substitute if you like Ava but don’t want such a trendy name? and B) Is Ava the name that will knock Emily out of top place or will it be one of the other leading contenders?

Here are a few ideas if you’re looking for an answer to A:

AVALON. Deriving from the Celtic word for apple, this is a very romantic place name–it was an island paradise in Celtic and Arthurian legend where it was a beautiful island renowned for its luscious apples, the place where King Arthur’s sword Excalibur was forged. In the present day, it’s the main city on the California island of Catalina.
Starbaby namesake? Daughter of 24 and Heroes actress Rena Sofer.

AVERY. If you’re looking for an alternative with a unisex-surname spin, this is it. The only problem is that Avery is pursuing Ava up the popularity list–and also, if you care about literal meanings, ‘Elf ruler’ doesn’t have much revelance in the modern world.
Starbaby namesake? Daughter of Angie Harmon & Jason Sehorn. NEWS FLASH: Amy Locane just had a daughter she named Avery Hope.

AVIS. A vintage birdlike name which, like cousin Mavis, was once more popular in England; here the dated ‘s’ ending (as in Doris and Phyllis) and the rental-car connection lessened its chances. But now it’s old-time, funky feel gives it some degree of nostalgic charm.
Starbaby namesake? Daughter of Baldwin brother Daniel.

EVA. Several glamorous Evas–Longoria, Mendes, Green–have given Eva a popularity boost. But bear in mind that in several cultures Eva is pronounced Ava, so though it may not look as trendy, the sound’s the same.
Starbaby namesake? Dixie Chick Martie Maguire’s twin daughter.

ADA. Sounding as fusty as Ava did ten years ago, Ada is in line for a possible piggyback revival. Trivia tidbit: Ava Lovelace, daughter of the poet Byron, is considered to have been the very first “computer programmer,” 19th century style.
Starbaby namesake? Not yet.

NOW TO QUESTION B–Do you think it will be Ava or some other name that will be the first to knock Emily out of top place?


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


12 Responses to “Happily Ever Ava”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Elle Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 11:14 am

Ada is the name of the Idaho County that Boise is located in.

Lee Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 12:04 pm

I love the name Ava, but am not fond of super popular names…so, I’ve combined Ava with the birth mom’s middle name of Lyn to get Avalyn. I love it….

Abby Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Since I’m married to an Arthur, I love Avalon! I also wonder about Asa. I realize it is stolen from the boys, but a friend of mine is considering it for a daughter – Asa Elisabeth, in honor of her grandfather.

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I hear Avery all the time, but I also have met FOUR baby Adas this year! So you’re definitely right on the mark with that one. I’ve also come across Alma, Arla, Asha, Ana and Anya, though none as similar to Ava as the ones on your list. Aveline and Avalynn will get a big boost too. Do we think Maeve and Niamh (or Neve) will benefit from the Ava fest?

Eva Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

My favorites on the list are Eva & Avalon. Eva is my name, and I pronounce it eee-vuh. I also like it pronounced ev-uh. But I if you’re going to name your baby Eva pronounced ay-vuh, you might as well just name her Ava.

I absolutely love Avery for a boy, I can’t picture it on a girl.

Ada is okay, it’s really growing on me.

I think Octavia could be a daring Ava-alternative. Ava could even be a nickname.

Eva Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Oh, I definitely think Isabella will knock Emily out of first place

linda Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Octavia is a really interesting idea!

Tirzah Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I know an Avalon, an Ada and an Avery. I always thought that Lana is an underused name. Both Ava and Lana say old Hollywood glamour. I do know one Lana in my daughter’s kindergarten class, but it’s pronounced to rhyme with Hannah, which I don’t like as much.

Ash SP Says:

January 28th, 2009 at 6:21 pm

My daughter’s middle name is Maeve and we are considering Aoife for our little one due in July. Apparently the sound of Ava is popular in our house as well.

Unisex and Baby Name Says:

January 29th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

[…] Nameberry – Baby Name Blog Ava is one of the biggest recent baby name success stories, jumping from almost the bottom of the […]

Brandi Says:

August 1st, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I am not keen on popular names at all. I am already worn out with Ava. That being said, my baby-to-be’s name is really close to Ava, but not on this list. I am just worried about it being so close that is will be confused with the 4 Avas, 3 Averys and 2 Aidens she will end up in class with. But I like her name and I am gonna keep it. Notice I did not mention what it is???

New dad Says:

November 25th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Brandi needs to get a life. Nah nah nah.

All others, I suspect she has chosen to spell her daughters name Eva and pronounce it Ava, which is the European pronunciation.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.