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And Now, Girls’ Names Ending in O

March 16, 2023 laurawattenberg 4 Comments

And Now, Girls’ Names Ending in O

March 16, 2023 LauraWattenberg 4 Comments
Echo, Indigo, Cleo

Antonio vs. Antonia. Gino vs. Gina. Mario vs. Maria. We’re used to -o endings pointing to male names and -a endings to female. But parents today want names that stand apart from the pack, with the potential to surprise us. For a growing number, that means flipping the script on final letters.

-A names like Ezra and Luca are now fast-rising hits for boys. Meanwhile parents of girls have been tiptoeing toward -o endings, starting with what I call “hidden o names.” These showcase the unconventional feminine -o sound but cushion the spelling with silent letters: Willow, Shiloh, Margot.

I first described the “hidden o” trend back in 2014. Since then the growth of hidden-o names has accelerated, so names like Monroe and Marlowe rank in the US top 1000. And in the past few years, the actual -o ending has started to join the party. Girls’ -o names are now at the point where hidden o’s were at the time of the original article.

Chart showing the rise of girls' o and hidden o names from 1990-2021

Girls’ -o names surged once before, in the middle of the 20th century. That spike was all about the nickname Jo, which singlehandedly accounted for three-quarters of the era’s -o girls. This time, no single name is taking the lead. The new -o surge is a phenomenon of pure sound, spread out across dozens of rare but rising names. They include:

  • The few established English female -o names, like Cleo and Margo
  • Contemporary English word names like Halo and Indigo.
  • Names from other languages like Cielo (Spanish, “heaven/sky”) and Emiko (Japanese; multiple meanings depending on the kanji used)
  • Nicknames from around the world like Lilo and Coco
  • Names of female figures from classical mythology, like Juno and Echo

Notably, none of the top ten girls’ -o names are traditional male names. That suggests that the trend isn’t about sounding masculine per se. It’s more about staking out new fashion ground with names that capture attention.


Namerology founder and "Baby Name Wizard" author Laura Wattenberg is a globally recognized name expert, known for her scientific approach to understanding name trends and culture.

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  • SisterJudy March 17, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    I believe -ko is a common girl’s name ending in Japanese

  • Marc Sacks March 17, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    Who would want to name anyone Echo? Only someone who wants the kid to follow everybody else, and softly.

  • Marc Sacks March 17, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    Or someone who already named a kid Siri.

  • M June 21, 2023 at 10:48 pm

    Echo was the name of a nymph in Greek mythology. I think it’s a beautiful name with a cool sound. The name came before the word, anyways. And Siri is a name, too, and a really pretty one.

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