O Boy! Baby Names: Owen, Rocco, and Lochlan

Is O the hottest letter for naming a boy?

By Abby Sandel

This past week, three high profile parents chose baby names for their boys featuring the letter O.

Actors Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale went with an Italian name, while Glee alum Heather Morris and husband Taylor Hubbell chose a Top 100 staple. Journalist Lynn Smith was the third, opting for a fast-rising Scottish import for her first child with new husband Graham Smith.

The most popular first letters for boys’ names in the US are J and A, with O ranking pretty far down the list. O ending names aren’t quite mainstream, either – only Leo appears in the current US Top 100.

But maybe that’s changing. After generations of Jason and Jake, Mason and Aiden, the long ‘a’ sound is everywhere, and parents are ready for something fresh.

Now the Number One name in the US is all about the letter O, as are a number of noteworthy baby names for boys.

Let’s look at some of the O baby names for boys in this week’s news:

OwenOwen isn’t new. The name was in use in Tudor EnglandOwen Tudor was the grandfather of Henry VII. But it’s newly popular in the US, entering the Top 100 for the first time in 2002, and now at a new high of Number 36. Glee alum Heather Morris and husband Taylor Hubbell have stuck to modern staples when naming their boys. Their newest addition, Owen Bartlett, joins big brother Elijah.

OliverOwen is catching on, but the hottest O name today? Oliver. A Number One choice elsewhere in the English-speaking world, Oliver was given to more than 2,000 more American boys in 2014 than 2013 – a nearly 30% increase in use. Not far behind was equally ‘o’ intensive name Logan.

Noah – The Number One name for boys in the US has held steady for two years. It’s the first time a name with the long ‘o’ sound has held the top spot. There’s only one other name that has come close, and that’s Joseph.

Joe – An expectant mom recently asked if it was just too average and ordinary to name your baby Joe. My response? No! Joseph is an evergreen classic, and it’s far from the only Joe name currently in vogue.

JonahJonah is one of my favorite Joe names, and a great alternative to Number One Noah. Names for Real recently spotted a birth announcement for Jonah Quimby. It ranks a familiar but not too common Number 138 in the US.

RowanRowan has risen rapidly for boys and girls over the past decade. It may be the best example of a stylish name that has managed to remain truly unisex in use. I love it for a boy, but I’ve liked it for a girl, too, ever since Anne Rice chose it for the main character of The Witching Hour way back in 1990.

Lochlan – Journalist Lynn Berry married husband Graham Smith just last year, and now the couple has welcomed their first child. Lochlan is every bit as Scottish, just like dad’s name. Scotland was our pick for most influential country in 2015, and both Lachlan and Lochlan have gained in the US in recent years. The ‘a’ spelling is slightly more popular, but since the name comes from the Scottish word for lake – loch – the ‘o’ spelling might appeal to parents who have embraced nature names like River.

MiloOliver and Owen are popular, and Noah is king of the hill. But the most stylish place to put the letter ‘o’ isn’t the beginning or the middle – it’s the end, as in Milo. Milo is a Top Ten pick at Nameberry, and a rising favorite in the US, too. Similar-sounding Miles remains more popular, but quirky, medieval Milo could be the more stylish possibility.

RoccoRose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale went with an authentically Italian choice for their first child together. Bobby is also dad to Jake. Rocco sounds tough, but the name was made famous by a fourteenth century saint. Madonna and Guy Ritchie chose the name in 2000. Since then, plenty of other high profile parents have embraced the o ending name.

What’s your favorite boy name with the letter O? Do you prefer your Os at the beginning, end, or middle of the name?

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9 Responses to “O Boy! Baby Names: Owen, Rocco, and Lochlan”

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lesliemarion Says:

February 15th, 2016 at 12:18 am

While I love certain o starting names (Owen, Oliver, Ollie, Olivier, Otis, Otmar, Omar, Octavio, etc.), it is really the -o ending names I prefer.

Glasgow is a male favorite, as are Aurelio, Ontario, Orlando, Rolando, Rogelio, Antonio, Benicio, Carlo, Dario, Julio, Aldo, Waldo, Horatio, Lauro, Emilio, Mauricio, and other great names I know I am forgetting.

The -o ending is zesty!

roseofjune Says:

February 15th, 2016 at 10:01 am

I love boy names featuring O! I’m surprised Oscar wasn’t mentioned, it’s one of my favorite O-names.
Other names featuring O that I love are: Silvio, Osias, Colum, Colin, Alexios, Galileo, Laszlo, Marcello, Leopold, Nicandro, Pavlo, Paolo, Nicolo, and Coen.

Star_Girl Says:

February 15th, 2016 at 12:07 pm

One of my favorite o names is Leonardo, like Leonardo DiCaprio. I wonder why it wasn’t mentioned. It’s Italian, and I think Leonardo DiCaprio’s mom was looking at a painting by Leonardo DaVinci and somehow came up with the name Leonardo. Also, I like the nn Leo, and not like Leo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

lesliemarion Says:

February 15th, 2016 at 4:01 pm

It’s funny – I teach four high school boys named after Leonardo DiCaprio!

Suzannah Says:

February 15th, 2016 at 5:17 pm

I usually don’t care for names that seem like they are trying too hard to be different, but I do like the name Orion.

Care Says:

February 15th, 2016 at 11:52 pm

Orion is exactly the name I was going to post! I checked my list and the only other name on it & not already mentioned is Noble.
My choice would be to put the long O in the middle and I like Logan but I wouldn’t use it because it doesn’t go with our last name.

However, there is great emphasis on the effect of the vowel, mainly the first vowel, in a name; and A is the powerhouse, leadership vowel!
This has made names that either start with A (or have A as the first vowel) very popular. Vowel O makes a person more emotional. As I remember it, E is practical and hardworking, I is intellectual and U is quirky and unusual. This always makes me smile when I hear a child named Aaron…high expectations! ☺

nineteenhundredships Says:

February 16th, 2016 at 8:05 pm

I’m into grandpa names so naturally, my favourite is Oscar

JulesBerry Says:

February 18th, 2016 at 12:57 am

My oldest is Leo and I’m bummed that it’s in the top 100 now. In 6th grade, when my grandpa died, I decided to name my first son after him. Of course, it’s more popular now. Sigh.

mykka Says:

March 5th, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Oakley and Onyx are the best O boy names imo.

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