Cove by Estify via Flickr

Looking for an unusual nature name for a boy?  Here’s one that fits the bill.

Thanks to SJ for suggesting Cove as our Baby Name of the Day.

Boys answer to River and both genders have some claim to Ocean and Bay.  Suddenly other bodies of water and related terms seem like possibilities.  Sea, maybe?  Harbor?

Or how about Cove?  A cove is an inlet, more sheltered than a bay, and sometimes little more than a protected recess.  Even a small creek can be considered a cove.  There’s a second use of the term, to describe a small valley, used primarily along the Appalachian Trail, presumably evolved from the original sense.

As for the origins of cove, it comes from the Old English cofa – chamber – via an older word meaning tent or hut.  Meet someone with the surname, and he’s likely someone who lived near a cofa.

Of course, cove has a second meaning – like bloke or dude or fellow or chap, he’s also slang used to refer to a man.  The story is that it comes from a Gypsy word.  I can’t find the word, but then, Romani languages are rich and varied.  Perhaps it was misunderstand or whispered down the alley, but in any case, cove is a sort of English slang to refer to a guy.

All that is fine and well, but should you name a child Cove?

It would be easy to argue that he’d fit right in.  From the current US Top 100:

  • He shares the long -o sound of Noah, Logan, Owen, Colton, and Brody.
  • Then there’s that high-Scrabble-value letter v, huge in the girl ‘verse, but no slouch in the sons department, as in Evan and Levi.
  • And, of course, he’s just one letter removed from the stylish Cole, currently ranked #89.

Like Cole, Cove would be a member of the single-syllable club, a category that feels quite powerful these days.  From traditional appellations like Luke and Jack to twenty-first centuries innovations like Chase, it is a deep pool, with additions at a rapid rate, from Roc to Cree.

Is anyone actually using Cove?  Sixteen newborn boys received the name in 2010, which is rare – but not completely unknown.  Men called Cove appear in the US Census records, too, suggesting that the name had some appeal long before we all turned to Mother Nature and the dictionary for baby name inspiration.

If you’re looking for a daring nature name and are frustrated that everyone else is using River, he’s a sharp, masculine option that could wear well.

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.

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  1. My son Covell (we call him Cove) was doing a high school heritage project this evening and I came across this. He was born in 2007. I don’t know if he was your influence but it sure is nice to think so!