He’s an artistic, even flamboyant choice with a fashionable -eo ending.
Thanks to Meredith for suggesting Amedeo as Baby Name of the Day.
Amadeo brings to mind eighteenth century creative genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Reader Charlotte Vera once mentioned that he wasn’t actually born with that middle name. In 1756, the day-old Wolfie was baptized Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfganganus Theophilus Mozart.
In Greek, Theophilus means “love of God.” Amadeus is simply the Latin equivalent, from amare – to love and deus – God. In life, the composer often signed himself Wolfgang Amadè Mozart.
Both Amedeo and Amadeo are Italian variants, and while neither has ever charted in the US Top 1000, they can be found over the years, sometimes in homage to the composer. In fact, while Theophilus goes back to ancient times, I’ve yet to find anyone wearing an Amad- name born before Mozart, suggesting he introduced the choice.
The men who have worn the name make for a fascinating list, including:
- In the early 1800s, German romantic novelist Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann changed his second middle name to Amadeus in honor of Mozart. As E.T.A. Hoffmann, he wrote Nussknacker und Mausekönig, the basis of Tchaikovsky’s enduring ballet The Nutcracker;
- King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy gave the name Amadeo to his second son. For most of his life, Amadeo was Duke of Aosta. In 1870, he became King of Spain for three years, as part of a constitutional monarchy. Amadeo spent three trying years on the throne before abdicating in early 1873. Australia’s Lake Amadeus is named for the composer, but for the king;
- Amedeo Modigliani’s distinctive work is remembered for its modern style – and the artist is remembered for his excessive lifestyle;
- The nobleman Amedeo Avogadro was an Italian scientist. While teaching at the University of Turin, he developed the concept known as Avogadro’s Number or the Avogadro Constant. I’m sure it is very important in chemistry and physics.
A king, a scientist, a composer, an artist – it’s a nice set of namesakes. But could you actually name your son Amedeo in the US today?
It’s a tricky question. At first glance, Amedeo’s -eo ending puts him in the company of the quite current Leo and Theo, as well as the literary Romeo. But each of those names ends with EE oh. Amedeo is pronounced ah mah DAY oh, more like Matteo. And that means the logical short form is Deo – DAY oh. Great for songs about banana boats, not necessarily for small children. Modigliani used to answer to Dedo, but I’m not sure that makes it any more wearable. And Amy is such a traditionally feminine first name that is difficult to imagine a boy answering to the name.
Then again, Boris Becker named his son Amadeus. If you can handle the possibility that you’ll be searching for a nickname, your Amedeo might just grow up to do great things.
Or change his name to Theophilus.