Last week we talked about the la-la part of oo-la-la names, but it seems that a large proportion of currently hot names have the cool oo sound as well. Maybe it’s because the names do share the sound with that c-word (not to mention oomph, and it’s also just a stone’s throw away from cute),  but in any case, as namiacs who parse these trends down to a single syllable, we offer a list to prove our point.

The oo sound can be reached via several vowel routes: oo, u, ou, ew, eu and ue. Here are some examples of oo names that are currently in favor or possible comers:







































LEWIS (hot in Scotland and England)















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22 Responses to “OOH-LA-LA, TALLULAH!”

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Emmy Jo Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 12:58 am

Personal favorites from this list include Susanna, Jude/Judah, and Julius (if I may substitute it for Julian — it’s so much more exciting!).

I really like the surnamey Lewis (makes me think of C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll), though Louis doesn’t appeal to me at all — strange, isn’t it, how spelling can make such a difference?

I’ve loved Una ever since reading “The Faerie Queene” in college, but it seems like a tough one to pull off. I can’t quite imagine pairing it with our last name, either. It feels like it needs something soft and flowy or rather exotic.

And True is one of my guilty pleasure middle names. I’d love to see it gain more recognition as a virtue middle name (since Grace, Faith, Joy, and Hope are so popular).

Gigi Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 3:45 am

I love Una. Emmy Jo, do you think Una Bradbury works?
I also adore Bijou and Tallulah.

Nephele Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 7:33 am

As a gothic student of onomastics, I feel compelled to add the name “Ulalume” to your list of lovely “oo” sounding names.

This evocative name comes from the title of a poem by the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.

It is possible that Poe derived this name from a line in Virgil’s [i]Aeneid[/i] (4.609), referring to the eerie, ululating howling (Latin word “ululata”) of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft.

The “-lume” part of the name may be derived from the Latin word “lumen,” meaning “a source of light” (Hecate is also a goddess of the moon, a light-source in the night.)

— Nephele

Nephele Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 7:51 am

Correction: That was Virgil’s Aeneid — not Ovid’s! Could someone please correct that for me? Thank you!

realpraise Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 8:27 am

I’ve been crazy about Finula lately. I love Lewis & Una too! Una could be a nickname for Unity.

Lola Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 8:58 am

Rufus, Tallulah, Ruby, Susanna , Lucretia/Lucy & Oona (for Chaplin) are on my lists! Also, substitue Julius & Lucius for Julian & Lucian. I’ve always liked the “oo”sound, it’s so pretty!

SJ Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 10:01 am

Don’t forget “Oola.” That was the name of the pregnant waitress in “Wonder Boys.”

linda Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 10:08 am


linda Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 10:09 am

It’s interesting to me how many people seem to be getting on board with Julius, even preferring it to Julian.

linda Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 10:20 am

And the sexpot character in “The Producers” was spelled Ulla, but pronounced pretty much Oola.

Lola Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 11:14 am

I have a Swedish GF who says that in her area, Ulla is short o “olla” but that she hears others saying OOla for Ulla, so I’ll buy oo- for Ulla myself!

Esme Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Lola, I think in Britain people might me more inclined to avoid Unity thanks to the Mitford association! Well, I would, anyway.

Lola Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Oh, Unity was not my suggestion! I know all about the Mitford girls. Eesh. Nope, Unity is not mine! 🙂

Jenmb Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Linda, count me as another Julius/Julian fan…the only thing keeping it off my list is that I do like nicknames and Jule/Jules just sounds too feminine.

Jenmb Says:

March 27th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

And I prefer Louis to Lewis. Louis has more pizazz (reminds me of Louis Armstrong) and Lewis looks wimpy to me

Emmy Jo Says:

March 28th, 2009 at 1:11 am

Yes, Gigi, I think Una Bradbury does work. Bradbury’s long enough, and it sounds spunky and literary.

Una doesn’t work with last names that feel plain. Una Smith. Una Johnson. Una Brown. See?

Emmy Jo Says:

March 28th, 2009 at 1:14 am

Linda — What’s not to love about Julius? I was very surprised to see this on your list of names that would never make a comeback. The “-ius” ending is so much more distinctive than “-ian.” Plus, Julian could easily be mistaken for Julianne/Julienne, so it sounds more feminine. Julius has an unmistakably masculine edge.

Yes, it’s definitely a Roman name, but since it was in everyday use about a century ago, it doesn’t feel just like a one-man name. It’s easy to get beyond the Caesar association.

linda Says:

March 28th, 2009 at 1:25 am

Just meant that Julius seems to have snuck back in along with the other Roman names–up until very recently it did seem that it wouldn’t be making a comeback.

Jess Says:

March 29th, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Also Toula/Tulah from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She’s similar to Tallulah but more usable, IMO.

Hecate-Luna Says:

June 28th, 2010 at 3:51 am

Yes, its my real name. I adore the name Luna, probably because its part of my name but I also love names that have a meaning! Luna being moon in Italian, also another name for Hecate, a Greek Titan Goddess thing(;

Patricia Says:

July 26th, 2010 at 2:16 am

I just re-named my chocolate Labrador, Tallulah – she loves the melodic sound of the short version Loo-lah. Some sites claim origin to be North American Indian others to be Gaelic, So her name means either running/jumping water or abundance, lady, princess. Her previous owner called her Mitzi which means bitter, apparently. Many dog experts feel that new owner, new name is a good thing to do, and certainly from the owner’s point of view it is better than perpetually calling out a name you don’t like. ‘Love you Loo-lah’ sounds so much better!

Patricia Says:

July 26th, 2010 at 2:19 am

OOps I’m British and think North American Indian is no longer correct. Should it be Native American?

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