Posts Tagged With: Oliver

Family Tree Alternatives

Usually when people ask for alternatives of other names, they tend to look at similar-sounding names. However, in this post we’re delving into names related to popular names and picking out some intriguing possibilities for alternative names.

1. Harry and Amelia

Harry was born as a nickname for Henry, and these days is living it large in the #1 spot. Another offshoot of Henry is the Scottish variant Hendry.

Whilst choices were plentiful for Harry, the pool of potential names is smaller for Amelia and basically revolves around the same letter combinations, e.g. Amalia, Amélie etc. Perhaps the best bet is Emelia.

2. Oliver and Olivia

There are plenty of weird and wonderful international variants of Oliver, but I’m rather partial to Noll, which is an old medieval diminutive for the name.

Oliver and Olivia are interrelated, and my favourite other female name in the family tree is almost certainly Olivette.

3. Jack and Lily

There were quite literally a bazillion choices for both names here; in terms of Jack I’m thinking either the Welsh Ianto, or the French Yannick. The name Ianto is a diminutive, like Jack, of Ifan which is the Welsh form of John. As for Yannick, he comes from Yann which is the Breton form of John.

However, a last minute acknowledgement must go to the name Manech: he’s the Basque form of Jean, and Jean is of course the French form of John.

Then we have Lily, and my initial thought was the Scottish form of Lilian: Lillias or Lileas. Or go psuedo-chemistry with Lilium.

4. Alfie and Jessica

The complete opposite of the above pair of names, in that both Alfie and Jessica have few options. Alfie is, of course, a nickname for Alfred, and my best suggestion is Avery: a medieval form of Alfred.

Jessica is a toughie for the simple reason that she has few cousins, however Iscah is an intriguing possibility, being a possible source of the name Jessica.

5. Charlie and Emily

Charlie is a nickname for Charles, and in France they have Charlot. Anyone familiar with the French language will note that the t is silent, thus the name does not sound like Charlotte, more like SHAR-lo.

With Emily we encounter the same problems as with Amelia; there is a tenuous link between Emily and the Welsh name Emlyn, but alas, Emlyn is technically a male name. Best suggestion is likely to be either Emmy, Émilienne or Aemilia.

6. Thomas and Sophie

The Welsh short form for Thomas is Twm (said something like tuwm), or alternatively there is the Scottish variant Tavish.

As for Sophie, in Scandinavia they use Vivi as a nickname for Sofia.

7. Jacob and Ruby

There are, again, a plethora of options to choose from here, but I’m opting for the short’n’sweet option with Jeb.

Being a word name makes Ruby difficult, but the French for Ruby is Rubis and the German is Rubin.

8. James and Grace

For James, I would opt for Jem, which is an old and now rarely used nickname for James.

Ditto Ruby when it comes to Grace; once more turning to French we have both Grâce and Joliesse as translations. The former isn’t so practical, given that the French pronounce it to sound more like grass than grace.

9. Joshua and Ava

We’re venturing into the Arab world for Joshua, with the name Isa; the Arabic form of Jesus.

As for Ava, Chava is undoubtedly a wonderful suggestion – being the Hebrew form of Eve – but she’s mostly reserved to parts of the world not inflicted with the word chav. There is also the option of Hungarian name Évike.

10. William and Isabella

With William, I’m thinking maybe the German and Dutch dimiutive, Wim. Aside from him, we also have the option of Wiley, or even the Dutch Pim.

As for Isabella, being related to Elizabeth gives us plenty of options. As for the ones vaguely similar to Isabella, we have the German name Ilsa, which is a diminutive of Elisabeth.

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Weekend Post: Good, Fresh, Uncomplicated Names

Eat’s ethos

Since I shared this photo in last week’s Spot post, I’ve been thinking about the Eat ethos, which is good, fresh, uncomplicated food.

What would be the naming equivalent?

Let’s break it down.


Fresh is often used (and I’m particularly guilty of this one) as another way to say unusual, but one could also see it as a name that hasn’t been overexposed.

In the end I settled for 4 set criteria for a name to pass this category and go on to the next category. For a name to be fresh in my eyes, it must not be:

  • A name that has been in the Top 100 for 10 years at some point in time
  • A name that ever been #1
  • A name that has been given to a high profile celeb offspring
  • A name that has risen more than 100+ places in the Top 500 since 2000

Taking this into consideration, names that fail this category include:

  1. Amber
  2. Amelie (up 1420 since 2000)
  3. Chloe
  4. Harry
  5. Jack
  6. Kayden (up 1326 since 2000)
  7. Lexi (up 1949 since 2000)
  8. Oliver
  9. Suri
  10. Thomas


For a name to be good, I believe it has to have little negative connections such as an evil forebearer (whether fictional or not) or less-than-lovely meaning.

8 names that would fall down at this hurdle, but would’ve passed the previous category include:

  1. Adolf – self explanatory
  2. Azrael – aka The Angel of Death
  3. Bellatrix – think Harry Potter
  4. Dolores – means sorrows + think Harry Potter
  5. Gretel – Hansel&Gretel tale
  6. Louhi – name of a death goddess in Finnish mythology
  7. Memphis – the US city known for crime
  8. Mordred – rival of Arthur in Arthurian legend
  9. Nuala – the Nuala in Irish mythology was less-than-nice
  10. Persephone – means murder /to destroy


What makes a name complicated? One could say it is a name which causes little spelling/pronunciation issues, such as James and Ruby.

8 names that fail this test, but passed the previous two include:

  1. Caoimhe – pronounced KEE-va
  2. Ceridwen – pronounced ke-RID-wen
  3. Eluned – pronounced EH-lee-ned
  4. Heliodoro – just generally a mouthful of a name
  5. Joachim/Joaquin – just generally a name that causes me a headache when it comes to pronunciation
  6. Schuyler – pronounced SKY-ler
  7. Solveig – pronounced SOL-vay
  8. Xanthe – pronounced ZAN-the

So, without further ado, here’s the list of  some of the names I think  pass all three tests:


  1. Angus
  2. August
  3. Barnaby
  4. Bruno
  5. Caspian
  6. Cosmo
  7. Ever
  8. Ezra
  9. Fergus
  10. Gray
  11. Indigo
  12. Ivor
  13. Rio


  1. Avalon
  2. Blossom
  3. Coral
  4. Gwen
  5. Hero
  6. Ingrid
  7. Josie
  8. Lux
  9. Nova
  10. Orla
  11. Roma
  12. Rosemary
  13. Vera

Do you dispute any of these choices? Are there any names you think qualify too?

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Oliver + Olivia Alternatives

Oliver the Musical poster, from

Oliver and Olivia are both #1 for their respective genders here in England&Wales in 2010, and as such I’ve been thinking about both quite frequently of late, more so about possible alternatives to them. It therefore seems about time to formulate a post, and indeed finally draw up a list of alternative names for our two most popular names.

The name Oliver is usually taken to be derived from the Old French olivier, which means olive tree. Aside from that, it could come from the name Olaf, which means ancestor’s relics.

When it came to choosing and picking names for the list, I tried to include a variety of names. In my reckoning, there are three key components to the name Oliver: The O, the V and the ER ending – so the primary aim was for each name to have at least one of these components. Aside from that, there was a dash of gut feeling thrown in for good measure. You may contest the worthiness of some of the names to be on this list, but I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out:

  • Alistair/Alister
  • Apollo
  • Avery
  • Bartholomew
  • Brooks
  • Calder
  • Callister
  • Chevalier
  • Clive
  • Cole
  • Colin
  • Colton
  • Eliezer
  • Elijah
  • Errol
  • Everard
  • Farrell
  • Gavin
  • Gulliver
  • Holbrook
  • Holden
  • Ivor
  • Keller
  • Leopold
  • Lester
  • Malcolm
  • Miller
  • Nicholas
  • Nolan
  • Oleksandr
  • Olson
  • Paulo
  • Prosper
  • Randolph
  • Rolf
  • Rio
  • River
  • Rollo
  • Severin
  • Solomon
  • Soren
  • Stellan
  • Sullivan
  • Trevor
  • Vernon
  • Virgil
  • Wolf
  • Walter

Then we have Olivia. She came about thanks to Shakespeare, who may have based her on Oliver or on the Latin word for olive: oliva.

When it came to collecting together a list of alternatives to Olivia, the main aim was to pick out names with a middle v sound, and a good selection of names heard and not so oft heard – since despite what many may hope for, I doubt everyone likes to use completely distinct names. Again, a few names made it onto this list on the back of my gut instinct.

  • Aurelia
  • Avalon
  • Aveline
  • Avie/Evie
  • Aviva
  • Avril
  • Caoimhe (Keeva)
  • Clover
  • Davina
  • Doveva
  • Elodie/Eloise
  • Evadne
  • Evangeline
  • Evelyn
  • Everild(a)
  • Flavia
  • Gavrielle
  • Genevieve
  • Ginevra
  • Hillevi
  • Lavinia
  • Lilavati
  • Linda/Linden
  • Loveday
  • Maeve
  • Mavis
  • Mireille
  • Nova/Novavie
  • Octavia
  • Odila
  • Olympia
  • Ophelia
  • Ottilie
  • Ovelia
  • Parvati
  • Ravenna
  • Reverie
  • Reviva
  • River
  • Savannah
  • Verdandi
  • Violet
  • Vivienne/Vivian
  • Willow
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