by Abby Sandel
Congratulations to Storybook’s most famous couple on the arrival of their second son. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas welcomed Hugo Wilson last week. The Once Upon a Time stars are also parents to son Oliver Finlay, and with the arrival of Hugo, might be among the best boy namers in Hollywood.
Hugo is a name with history galore, and literary ties, too. It’s the Number One name in Spain, and it’s big in Scandinavia, Australia, and the UK. The new Goodwin-Dallas baby is in good company, all over the world.
But Hugo is also at the forefront of an important trend. O ending names for boys are fast becoming go-to choices for parents after something just a little different. The sound is stylish and unexpected, but many of the names feel vintage, even traditional. They also work beautifully to honor Spanish or Italian roots.
Ginnifer – born Jennifer – and Josh both have names that were very popular for children of the 1970s. Perhaps they were eager to find something outside of the usual Mason–Logan–Dylan sound that has dominated boy names for a generation.
If you’re naming a boy soon, and want something distinctive and different, o might be the way to go.
Hugo – Hugo is wildly popular throughout the world, and makes Nameberry’s Top 100. In the US, it’s still relatively underused at Number 432, but that could change quickly, especially with the arrival of Hugo Wilson. Victor Hugo makes it literary. The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the award-winning 2011 movie based on the book put Hugo in the same category as Alice and Peter.
Matteo – Conventional wisdom holds that Mateo is the Spanish, and Matteo, the Italian. Except that the lines are much blurrier. Chilean-born actress Leonor Varela named her son Matteo in 2012, and both spellings are rising rapidly. On Nameberry, the two spellings are almost tied: Mateo at Number 194, and Matteo at Number 197. With one t or two, it’s a great update to traditional Matthew.
Enzo – While Enzo may have Germanic roots, it’s usually associated with handsome Italian names like Vincenzo and Lorenzo. Lately in the US, Enzo is a stand-alone name, thanks to the irresistible combination of the letter z and the o ending. Enzo is Number 127 on Namberry, and Number 330 in the US. Other edgy Italian heritage finds to consider include tough guy Rocco and sophisticated Cosmo.
Theo – Theo leapt more than 100 places last year, but it’s even more popular than it seems. That’s because the more formal Theodore is also stylish – in fact, it’s Number 17 on Nameberry. Theodore could also shorten to Teddy, while informal Theo leaves no doubt about what to call him.
Leo – The name that paved the way for so many of these favorites is Leo. More subtle than naming your son Wolf or Bear, but still ferocious, Leo was a Top 100 choice through the 1930s, and is back again. Leo ranks Number 15 on Nameberry. Roger Federer has a Leo; so do Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
Arlo – Leo is a vintage revival, but Arlo? At Number 502, Arlo is currently at its most popular – ever! Disney-Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur gave the name to a young Apatosaurus in 2015. (The boy was called Spot.) Berries love Arlo – it currently ranks Number 124 here.
Milo – But the o ending boy name that the Berries really go for is Milo, currently Number 6 on the site. It’s the Latinized form of Miles, another name that’s been quite stylish in recent years. Miles and Milo are equally cool, but Milo is much less common in the US. Liv Tyler is among the many celebrity parents to choose the name.
Otto – Now that Milo is mainstream, bold baby namers might be ready to consider Otto. Like many German names, Otto fell out of use during the World Wars. Today it’s ready for revival, along with cousin Otis – chosen by Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis – and girls’ names Ottilie and Odette. Otto has been back in the US Top 1000 since 2011. On Nameberry, Otto ranks Number 110.
Beau – Let’s end with an eau instead of an o. Beau – the French word for handsome, and sometimes used in English to refer to a boyfriend – has something of a cowboy vibe today. Credit popular 1960s Western Maverick. Combined with the o ending, it’s more fashionable than ever today, a brother for Luke or Wyatt. Bo is also catching on.
What’s your favorite boy name ending in o? Are there any that you would add to this list?