By Linda Rosenkrantz
Names starting with A and then E have had their turns in the spotlight, but now it’s O-starting names that feel fresh and fantastic. Already established are top-ranking Olivia (Number 2) and Oliver (19), as well as Olive (264) for the girls, and Owen (36), Oscar (181), and Omar (217), for the boys.
But that’s not all. Here are ten more wonderful names for girls that start with this most cheery, open and optimistic of vowels:
A perfect O name for a summertime baby girl. Or you could notch up its sophistication factor with the French Océane, which has been a Top 50 name (currently at 31) in France for several years and is pronounced oh-see-EN.
Octavia has a rich history, dating back to the ancient Roman Imperial family. More recently it’s been attached to Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, to a character in The Hunger Games and to the daughter of actor Kevin Sorbo, born in 2005. Octavia’s connection to the number eight would make it a great choice for a girl born in August, the eighth month.
A touch of the exotic makes this place name of a port city on the Black Sea really special. Completely off the charts now, Odessa actually ranked from the earliest days of the Social Security record-keeping until 1956—reaching as high as 278 in 1908. Prescient Nameberries rank it at Number 625. TV actor Michael Chiklis has a daughter named Odessa, an intriguing alternate to Vanessa.
Non-native parents are just beginning to appreciate the charms of Welsh names like Olwen, Bronwen, and Anwen. Olwen has a colorful past as a beautiful legendary princess in an early Arthurian romance who was so gentle that white flowers would spring up wherever she walked. A lovely name story for a little girl.
This is a powerful, athletic, goddess-like O name for a girl, calling to mind the Olympic games and Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods. Used more in novels than in real life, an Olympia would stand out among all the Olivias and Olives in the classroom.
Why just one O when you can have two—adding ooh! to OMG!? Oona, aka Una, was the legendary daughter of a king of Lochlainn in Celtic mythology. Her name became known in the US via the daughter of Eugene O’Neill, who became the wife of Charlie Chaplin. It now lives on with young actress Oona Castilla Chaplin, Charlie’s granddaughter, known for her role as Queen Talisa Stark, nee Maegyr, in Game of Thrones. Eddie Murphy just recently used Oona as his baby daughter Izzy’s middle name.
The opal is a lovely iridescent gem, the birthstone of October, considered by the ancients as a symbol of hope and good luck It would make a luminous addition to the Rubys and Pearls already polished up again and back in the jewelry box. Opal was a Top 100 name in the early 1900s, remaining on the list until 1960.
Although there were many baby Ophelias in the US through the 1950s, the popularity of the name fell off dramatically, possibly by parents put off by the tragic image of the Shakespearean character. But that definitely seems to be changing—Ophelia returned to the Top 1000 last year, and musician Dave Grohl used it for his daughter.
An exotic bloom and an exotic name, Orchid has never been as well used as Rose or Lily or Daisy or even Poppy or Marigold. Even at the turn of the last century, when all kinds of rare floral names were in flower, Orchid never made it to the list. Now, as then, it would make an interesting, fragrant choice.
Stay tuned for some equally outstanding O names for boys, coming next week.