Coco, Willow & Marlo: Girls Names Ending With O

by appellationmountain on January 11, 2013

Girls Names Ending With O

Looking for a girls’ name with an unconventional sound?  Want something feminine, but frills-free?  Here’s a possibility: choose one of the many girls names ending with O.

At first glance, girls names ending with O are too modern for many parents, too risky.  Juno was the poster child for teenage pregnancy and Coco is only appropriate for fashion icons in their prime, right?

Maybe not.

Cleo had a good run in the Top 1000.  Theo and Leo have a history of use for girls, probably for parents seeking feminine forms of Theodore and Leonard.

Mini names like Jo and Flo are possibilities, too.  And there are many Japanese feminine girls names ending with o: Fumiko, Kiyoko, Yoshiko.

But this is the golden age for parents considering girls names ending with o.  They’re more accepted, and more plentiful, than ever before.

Read on for a long list of possibilities.

Girls Names Ending With O: Borrowed from Myth

Greek and Roman myth is are among the richest sources for ends-with-O names.  Some of the stories are better than others, but they all share one common trait – you can’t call them nouveau.

CallistoCalista Flockhart put her name on the map, but the ends-with-o version is valid for girls, too.  It means “most beautiful.”  Kallisto was a Greek nymph who caught the eye of Zeus and ended up as a constellation.

Cleo - Sometimes short for Cleopatra, the name of more than one queen of Egypt.  Cleopatra VII was the famous one, she of the kohl eyes and Hollywood biopic.

Clio – A cousin to Cleo, Clio was the Greek muse of history.  It’s said that she introduced the alphabet to Greece.  Like Cleo, the name comes from the word kleos - glory.

Echo – She met a tragic end thanks to a jealous Hera, but Echo’s sound is quite current.  A short-lived Joss Whedon series gave this name to its heroine.

Io – Two letters and still two syllables?  For a tiny name, Io packs a mighty punch.  She’s another nymph changed into a creature after Zeus fell for her, and she’s also the name of a moon of Jupiter.

Juno – Among the most wearable of the bunch, thanks to her similarity to June and Juniper, Juno is the Roman name for the queen of the gods, Jupiter’s consort.

Hero – Yes, this name can be a lot to live up to.  But Hero appears in both Greek myth – she’s Leander’s beloved – and Shakespeare, where she one of the central figures in Much Ado About Nothing.  English popstar-turned-presenter Myleene Klass gave the name to her younger daughter in 2011.

Leto – You might not recognize her name, but her twins are famous:  Apollo and Artemis.  The similar Leta or Leda is another mythical figure.  I’m tempted to respell it Lido, but then that’s a deck on a cruise ship.

Imported Girls Names Ending With O

A few names from other cultures end with O.

Consuelo – Consuelo Vanderbilt was an American railroad heiress who married into the upper echelons of the English aristocracy.  Her Spanish name came from her Cuban godmother.  The name peaked in the 1920s.  Today it is part-import, part-virtue name – Consuelo means consolation and refers to a title of the Virgin Mary.

Isabeau – Can you import a name from medieval France?  Let’s say yes, because Isabeau really deserves more attention.  An all-but-lost form of Isabelle, she may not end with the letter O, but -eau makes the same sound.

Socorro – A cousin to Consuelo, Socorro means help in Spanish.  She saw some use in the 1920s, but today she’s nearly unknown in the US.  She’d be an unconventional way to get to Coco.

Innovative Girls Names Ending With O

Looking for something truly daring?  This is the list for you.

Cadeau - The French word for gift, and a different take on Kate and company.

Cielo – It’s a new entrant in the name ‘verse, the Spanish and Italian word for the sky – and heaven.  In Spanish, it takes an s sound; in Italian, it is a ch.  Just like Sky, this one is gender neutral, but works well for a daughter.

Coco – It’s not entirely clear where Gabrielle Chanel picked up her nickname, but it stuck – and is increasingly seen as a wearable choice for girls.

Lilo – She’s the BFF of adorable alien Stitch in the Disney flick-turned-series.  She’s also Hawaiian, and in her native language, Lilo means lost.  Lilo has never caught on – possibly because Lindsay Lohan is sometimes referred to as Lilo in the press.  Lilou has been stylish in France in recent years, but she ends with a lu sound.

Marlo – Rock star blogger Heather Armstrong has a daughter named Marlo.  So does comedian Rob Corddry.  Born Margaret and nicknamed Margo, the name morphed into Marlo when she was still a child – and it stuck.  This name is catching on, but the surname spellings are more popular – see the category below!

Rio – Duran Duran sang “her name is Rio and she dances on the sand” back in 1982.  It’s the Spanish word for river.  Just like River makes for a nicely gender neutral nature name, Rio works for a son or a daughter.

Valo – This one is almost certainly on the map thanks to name blogs.  The Finnish word for light, Valo brings to mind the words valor and valiant.  It’s a cheerful possibility for either gender.

Girls Names Ending With O from Nouns and Place Names

Nature names and place names headline this category.  Borrowing from the dictionary and the atlas surfaces some intriguing options.

Indigo – We think of blue as a color for boys, but Indigo feels like an interesting possibility for either gender, especially in the age of Blue Ivy.

Meadow – This gentle nature name was worn by television mobster Tony Soprano’s daughter a few years back.  It continues to be a possibility for for parents seeking a feminine but frills-free choice.

Shiloh – A Neil Diamond song, a fictional dog, and a Civil War battlefield = a stylish name for either gender.  Thanks to the Jolie-Pitt crew, it is certainly wearable for a daughter.

Willow – The second of the girls names ending with O boosted by Joss Whedon, Willow went from fictional teenage witch sidekick to Will and Jada’s daughter.  Today she’s just outside the US Top 200, a thoroughly mainstream option.

Vero – A beach in Florida and a fresh spin on Vera.

Surnames Girls Names Ending With O

Surname names are a big category these days, and many attractive options end with O.

Bardot - There was a brief flurry of media attention when television star David Boreanaz announced the arrival of his daughter, Bardot Vita.  But he and wife Jaime changed her name to Bella Vita Bardot shortly after her birth.  Nonetheless, the French fashion icon and actress Brigitte Bardot could make an interesting namesake.

Garbo – I think Bardot could work, but Garbo?  Maybe in the middle spot.  Legendary Swedish actress Greta Garbo gives her surname plenty of old Hollywood glam.

Harlow – Starbaby-turned-starlet Nicole Richie gave this name to her daughter in 2008, inspired by yet another Hollywood star, Jean Harlow.  Richie must have liked the name quite a bit – not only did she give it to her daughter, she called her first accessory line House of Harlow 1960.

Kahlo – Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is a fascinating figure, and her last name could make a great artistic first name for a daughter.

Marlow, Marlowe – Right as parents started considering Marlo as an independent given name, Marlow and Marlowe started to pop, too.  Buoyed by Harlow Madden, the e-version of the surname spelling has been used by Sienna Miller as well as Jason Schwartzman.  Now Kings of Leon  drummer Caleb Followill has given the name Violet Marlowe to a daughter.

Traditional Girls Names Ending With O

It’s a tiny category, but there are at least two valid traditional possibilities, both girls names ending with o – though they’re both diminutives.

Caro – A short form for Caroline, Caro is a sparky spin on Cara.  But she doesn’t quite stand on her own … yet.

Margo - The French Margot is a traditional short form of Margaret, making this the grandmama of girls names ending with o.  She’s a vintage pick with a lot of style.

Would you use one of these girls names ending with O for a daughter?  Are there any that should be on this list?

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Brigyt February 2, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Cato, this is an old fashioned dutch name. It is also used in the form Cato-Margo. I love the name Peridot by the way.

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BMP December 8, 2013 at 1:12 PM

I really like Halo too – even though it has the video game connotation, I think it could be sweet on a girl.

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L. February 6, 2013 at 10:42 PM

I like Lucero. Definitely in the same camp with Socorro and Consuelo, but I think it’s less old-lady.

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appellationmountain February 7, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Great addition to the list!

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Anna January 22, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Met my first Meadow today!

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Poppy528 January 14, 2013 at 4:07 AM

I like Silo for a name. I’m not kidding. Hallow too.

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appellationmountain January 14, 2013 at 7:46 AM

I had forgotten about Hallow – she’s been spotted at least once or twice, and I can completely see her appeal. Silo is a great sound. But does it work as a name? I’m not sure … Still, Silas is quite stylish these days.

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Megalady January 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM

I love a lot of ends-in-“o” names. My favorite is probably Bo, which I’d love to use as a nickname for something like Bonnie.

Juno, Cleo/Clio, Jo, Echo, Io, Leto, Isabeau, Cadeau, Coco, Lilo, Meadow, Shiloh, Willow, Margo are all very attractive. And I like Dido, Rosario, and Sparrow. Winslow is also intriguing.

One of my favorite boy names is Milo, which I’ve also considered for a girl. Then there’s also Halo, Calypso, and Sappho. Sappho has crossed my mind a few times as a potential middle slot contender. Ancient smart girl names are a bit of a not-really-that-guilty pleasure of mine (Hypatia, Enheduanna, etc).

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erin January 13, 2013 at 7:57 PM

oh yes, Sappho is a great name that has crossed my mind too and also I agree that Milo is a great boy choice.

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Sara A. January 13, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Love Margot! If we end up giving Trudy a sister, it’s at the top of the list.

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Rita January 13, 2013 at 1:34 AM

Carmo
Mio
Momo
Kinborough / Kimbrough – one of my favourite English medieval names
Gwenno
Mallow
Snow

and as nicknames: Lo, Bo, Nono (for Leonor), Ro, Theo.

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Millie March 16, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Julio

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Leah January 12, 2013 at 10:10 PM

I love these! The ‘o’ ending is my favorite, for either gender.

I would caution parents who are keen on Bardot that Brigitte Bardot has made a number of horribly racist, homophobic, anti-Muslim statements, for which she has been brought to court more than once (France has laws against hate speech). It’s a cute name, but your daughter might get the side-eye from those who know about her namesake’s controversial politics.

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Annamaria January 12, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Yes, also if you need proof of peoples reaction to the name Bardot, the actor from Bones changed his daughter’s name from Bardot to Bella after the outrage that sprung up after her originally named her.

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Libby January 12, 2013 at 1:28 AM

Indigo is masculine in my mind, because it’s the name of one of the characters in The Casson Family books by Hilary McKay. The parents are artists, and all their children are named for paint colors. It’s a treasure trove of names.

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Elizabeth January 11, 2013 at 11:31 PM

How about Saro? Like in the song Pretty Saro?

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Havoye January 11, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Ooh, there’s also Sparrow in the nature names vein, and my favourite of all the Spanish -o names: Rocío.

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Havoye January 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Wow, that’s quite a roundup! We strongly considered Clio for our daughter, but ended up nixing it because it’s the name of a popular car sold by Renault in Europe and we have a lot of family there. I do love it, though, and think Juno is great too but feel it’s a shame it’s so strongly tied to the movie character.

I know Rosalies who go almost exclusively by Ro, and it works as a nickname for Rowan as well. I know a little girl called Nico, and another who goes by Bo, short for Bonita. Very cute!

It’s fairly common for nicknames in French to be formed with an O ending, as in your example of Caro. Madeleine becomes Mado, Veronique becomes Vero, and so on. I agree with you that this is a heyday for feminine names ending in O in the English-speaking world.

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C in DC January 11, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Love the O names!

I think your description of Marlo is missing a mention of Ms. Thomas.

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erin January 11, 2013 at 2:01 PM

p.s. someone I know named their daughter Winslow… I wish I would have thought of it, I think it is beautiful for a girl.

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erin January 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM

I love Rio for a girl! We used it for our (female) dog and then when found out we were expecting a daughter my husband mentioned he wished we’d saved the name for her :) Willow was my top contender/choice for years too. I also love Margo and Cleo and I had Marlo on our short list for #2 (who ended up being a boy). Great list here.

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erin January 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM

and I like Juno too!

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rosamonte January 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I love all of the Spanish names for girls that end in -o. Two others are Lucero and Amparo.

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Jordanna January 11, 2013 at 9:31 AM

I’d throw in a vote for Rosario. I love it a lot, but am not sure our family could pull it off without sounding contrived – the rosary connection is a bit random for us. I wish it were more just a rose-name like Rosalie…?

I find myself both liking Rio and being afraid that if she were at all chunky, Rio Grande would stick.

Calico is a huge guilty pleasure of mine.

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Elizabeth January 11, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Calico is a good addition. It reminds me of Cameo. I think Cameo should be added as well.

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C in DC January 11, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Rosario nn Rio could be fun, though. Rosario is such a nice name.

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SJ January 11, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Rio was on our short list for girls although many people feel it should be left a boys name.

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Bella January 11, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Another one inspired by classical myth could be Dido. I would steer very clear of Garbo, though. In Australia at least (not sure if anywhere else), Garbo is the colloquial term for a garbage collector.

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Photoquilty January 11, 2013 at 6:09 AM

I grew up with a cousin Marlo who’s in her mid 40s now. To me, it’s a traditional name. ;)

I like most of the names on this list. Very on- trend.

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Elizabeth January 11, 2013 at 2:31 AM

I think Peridot should be on the list.

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appellationmountain January 11, 2013 at 6:51 AM

Peridot – great addition! Thanks.

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