Hello, Baby! O-Ending Surname Names for Girls
by Abby Sandel
If you’re an American Idol devotee, you might remember Season Two’s Kimberly Caldwell. Her music career hasn’t taken off, but Caldwell has remained in the public eye as a television host and sometimes actor. Now she’s added a new role to her repertoire: mom. She and soccer player husband Jordan Harvey have welcomed a daughter.
The daughter’s name? The rather repetitive Harlow Monroe. I thought I’d heard it before, but not so. The name I was thinking of was Marlowe Monroe, daughter of actress Jenna von Oÿ, born late last year.
What’s clear is that o ending names for girls are a significant trend. Many of the possibilities are nature names like Willow and Sparrow (included in last week’s news) or vintage picks like Margot and Cleo.
But plenty of the names are surname choices, names borrowed from the boys, or ones that defy easy categorization.
The numbers are impressive. Ten years ago, in 2004, there were 12 newborn girls named Harlow, 10 called Marlowe, and 26 named Monroe – 48 total. Fast-forward to 2014, and the numbers are as follows: 605 girls named Harlow, 203 Marlowes, and 354 Monroes, or 1,162 girls. That’s an increase of more than 2000%!
Let’s take a look at the names leading the way, and a few others that could catch on:
Harlow – Nicole Richie and Joel Madden named their daughter Harlow Winter Kate early in 2008. Harlow immediately increased in use. (Winter, too!) It’s one of only two names on this week’s list currently ranked in the girls’ US Top 1000, and the most popular, at Number 508. Harlow owes something to that bright ‘o’ ending, and something to her similarity to the literary surname name of the moment, Harper.
Marlowe – Take Harlow, trade the H for an M, add an ‘e’ and you’ll have Marlowe, a fast-rising possibility still outside of the US Top 1000, but probably not for long. Could Marlowe be the new Mackenzie? With plenty of high profile uses and multiple spellings, it seems possible.
Monroe – Harlow brings to mind 1930s-era blonde bombshell Jean Harlow. Fast-forward twenty years, and the fair-haired Hollywood star of the era was Marilyn Monroe. Mariah Carey, a long-time fan of the actress, named one of her twins Monroe in 2011. As with Harlow, Monroe quickly caught on, and currently stands at #787.
Winslow – Are there any other surnames ending in –ow besides Harlow and Marlowe? As it happens, there’s one that could work beautifully for a daughter: Winslow. It shortens to retro nickname name Winnie, and picks up on the Harlow/Monroe trend. It’s a super-early starbaby name, too. Back in the 1970s, Gretchen Corbett, known for The Rockford Files then and Portlandia now, borrowed the surname from her family tree for a daughter.
Marlo – No, it’s not déjà vu. We covered Marlowe earlier, but I feel like Marlo deserves a separate place on the list. Marlo peaked back in 1970, thanks to Margaret “Marlo” Thomas, star of late 1960s television favorite That Girl. Marlo might sound like Marlowe, but it has a very different vibe – more like retro Margot than modern Monroe. It’s a good compromise possibility.
Domino – Domino can be an Italian surname from the Latin dominus – lord, but that’s probably not why it’s sometimes heard as a girls’ name. Instead, credit seems to go to the silver screen. In 1983, Kim Basinger played Bond girl Domino Petacchi in Never Say Never Again, and the name was first given to five girls. (In the Ian Fleming novel, Domino was a nickname for Dominetta.) A second boost came when Keira Knightley played model-turned-bounty hunter Domino Harvey in a 2005 biopic. It’s an edgy, unexpected possibility.
Snow – Is this a nature name? Borrowed from a Disney Princess? Or inspired by Game of Thrones, where it is a surname name? It’s hard to say, but what’s certain is that 77 girls were given the name in 2014 – a new high.
Beau – It’s easy to see why Beau on a girl might raise a few eyebrows. It literally means handsome, the masculine equivalent of Belle. And the 45 girls given the name in 2014 were a fraction of the over 1,600 boys. And yet, it’s easy to imagine a girl or boy Beau inspired by surnames like Beauregard and Beauchamp. Actress Sarah Jane Morris welcomed Beau Katherine last year.
What’s your favorite ends-in- name for a girl? Do you like any of the surname style choices?
For up-to-the-minute baby name news, follow us on Twitter.
About the author
View all of 's articles
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on October 11th, 2015 at 11:44 pm
Gack. I hate, loathe, and detest all these names (either totally or for females).
Harlow Monroe … try saying that five times fast.
Harlow sounds to me like harlot and the whole ensemble is just too peroxide for words.
If nameberry never wrote another word about celebrities and their execrable taste it would be fine with me.
on October 12th, 2015 at 12:32 am
Harlow Monroe? No, no, and no.
I love Marlowe…for a boy.
on October 12th, 2015 at 1:57 am
Monroe is actually a family name that we are hoping to use. Either Stellan Monroe if we have a boy or possibly Hazel Monroe for a girl. I do love Margot as well since Margaret is a family name on both sides. I do know of a Harlow, she was likely born in 2006.
on October 12th, 2015 at 7:16 am
@aaronsrib – The Harlow you know was ahead of the curve! I do think Monroe works beautifully for a boy or a girl, and oh my goodness – Stellan and Hazel are great!
on October 12th, 2015 at 8:03 am
So, you’re saying I would be on-trend if I named my daughter Ristow (a family surname). Haha! I’ve always considered it unusable. It sounds like wrist and means field stubble. LOL
on October 12th, 2015 at 8:59 am
And you forgot leighton meester’s arlo day
on October 12th, 2015 at 9:02 am
All of these are pretty awful except for Marlo. I don’t understand the need for the silent we tagged on. The original is sleek and concise as is Margo rather than Margot. Beau, Winslow and Monroe are male names, and not that appealing for them either. I love Jean Harlow but Harlow is a hard sounding name and its popularity mystifies me.
on October 12th, 2015 at 10:08 am
To be honest, aside from Snow – which is a word and, as such, has no sex – ALL the names listed are masculine. I would not consider them to appropriate girl names. They just seem tacky to me. And if they’re what’s ‘on trend’ then I guess my daughters are going to have unfashionable names. But at least they’ll be feminine…
on October 12th, 2015 at 10:20 am
Traditionally in Western naming culture O-ending names are thought of as masculine & A-ending names as feminine. When JRR Tolkien was naming his characters, in the hobbits’ language masculine names ended in A, so Tolkien “translated” the names…Frodo’s real name is actually Froda, for example.
on October 12th, 2015 at 12:14 pm
I’ve never thought of Kahlo! Adding that to my favorite art-inspired names 🙂
on October 12th, 2015 at 1:11 pm
I love Willow! Never thought of Kahlo. Interesting!
on October 12th, 2015 at 1:57 pm
I disagree that surnames are masculine (except for -son and Mc- names and the like), so I don’t think these names are unsuitable for girls. However, most of the them are just not my style. I do like Margot, and Snow has great potential for a middle name, but I’m not big on the rest of them. Winslow I’m not fond of for boys or girls, ergh.
on October 12th, 2015 at 2:30 pm
I typically only like “-o” endings on boys but Margot has been the exception. After playing a name game the other day, I used the combo Maisie Beau and fell in love with Beau as a middle name.
on October 12th, 2015 at 2:47 pm
Awful. The only o-ending names I like are Margot and Margaux.
on October 12th, 2015 at 7:32 pm
Every name on this list would be just as – if not more – suitable for a boy.
on October 12th, 2015 at 7:52 pm
The only names on this list I would use for a girl are Willow and Snow. I like Winslow for a boy.
on October 13th, 2015 at 1:09 pm
My husband works with a woman name Arrow; I am not a big fan. Snow would be my pick from the listed choices.
on October 13th, 2015 at 1:10 pm
I LOVE Harlow on a girl and Marlow on a boy! Winslow sounds more like a girl’s name to me…Perhaps that is because I think that ‘winnie’ would make a super cute nickname. I love a lot of names ending in ‘O’.
on October 14th, 2015 at 2:57 pm
I think Milo could work for a girl. It’s fairly newly popular, and with Mila climbing up the charts, it could work. There are some names ending in ‘O’ that were girls’ names to begin with, such as Calypso and Echo. There’s also Nico, but I personally prefer that on a boy. The only problem with this trend is that most of my favorite boys’ names end in ‘O’ or even ‘A’ (i.e. Luca, Nico, and Milo). I’m not opposed to boys’ names on girls, in fact, I like it. I just think that when you’re talking about names that end in ‘O’ for girls, names that have always been girls’ names can’t be left out.
on October 18th, 2015 at 6:57 pm
I know a little one named Halo.
on October 22nd, 2015 at 12:54 pm
on October 28th, 2015 at 2:37 pm
I used to not like Marlowe, but I now I LOVE IT! Not all girls names have to be feminine!
Marlowe to me is more of a girl’s name than a boy. But there’s no need to be rude about it. They liked the names, they chose it. Imagine someone doing that to your kid’s name.
Two-Letter Baby Names: Bo,Ty and Vi – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on April 9th, 2017 at 10:44 pm
[…] syllables? Hello, Io! A princess from Greek myth, one of Jupiter’s moons bears her name. Since o-ending choices like Harlow, Margot, and Willow feel fashionable for girls, Io could easily make the list, too. It also fits right in with […]
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.