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.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. A good nickname for Amedeo would be pronounced Ah-mee.
    The spelling is up to you.
    It’s a very friendly and down to earth nickname (which counterbalances the weight of Amedeo).

    I love the name Amedeo. It’s intriguing. It’s classic. It references two great artists. And it just sounds beautiful.

  2. As I’ve stated before, I’m not typically fond of names that end in o, but I rather like Amedeo simply because of my fondness for Amadeus. The ’80s song kills any chance of my ever suggesting either option to my husband (it gets stuck in my head), but I could see myself suggesting the name to others.

    Reading some of the previous comments, I can see how Theophilus might be an easier name for a little boy to wear in this day and age, given its similarities to the increasingly popular Theodore. The “Amy” quips would probably start early and last for a long time. It’s too bad, since I still find Theophilus clunky and Amadeus charming.

  3. I really like this, and find it very handsome. If we had a 3rd child (and that’s a big if), and he was a boy—I would consider Amadeo or Amadeus. I like the history and the style of the name, my husband would appreciate the meaning of the name, and I think it would work with my other kids names…

    I would have to work on nicknames, because we are a nickname family. I would not appreciate if he was called Amy, Ama, Mad, or Maddy… I would be okay with Dayo or Amo…or Ade! That would be a stretch, but that would be great, pronounced ah-Day…that is a Nigerian name. Hmmm…

    I think I have talked myself into the name….lol.

  4. I’ve liked this name since my sister told me it was one of Armand’s names from Interview with the Vampire. His real name was Andrei but they changed it to Amadeo then Armand.

    1. That’s interesting – I don’t know if I read far enough in the Vampire series to know that … Anne Rice is quite the namer, though. I love her use of Rowan in the Mayfair series.

  5. i’m a big fan of nicknames and i really couldn’t see a little boy answering to amy at least not in the us or uk, it may work better in europe. one of my daughters nicknames is amy (she’s amelie) and when i see it i just think girl. besides that amadeo makes me think of a brand name for some reason. however i love theophilus, which is far easier to use

    1. Isn’t that funny? Theophilus WOULD be easier to use, at least compared to Amedeo!

  6. Wow- good thing for Boris Becker’s kid that it’s not the 80s – this name also comes with a theme song courtesy of Falco (okay, so they sang Amadeus, but I doubt any 80s Amadeo would have escaped a Falco bludgeoning).

    I actually think Amadeo might be more wearable if it weren’t for the song… after all, as you point out, Matteo is fully wearable. As for the nn issue – how about Mo? Or Amo? Or Dom? (Dom’s a stretch, but the elements are there.) Dang that Austrian one-hit-wonder! I actually kinda like the name. But then, Theophilus is pretty awesome and has an obvious and easily wearable nn.