Eve had her turn in the spotlight, and Ava needs no introduction. But what of their cousin?

Thanks to Melissa for suggesting Eva as Baby Name of the Day.

The trouble with Eva is that she’s close to Ava. Very close to Ava. Which means plenty of parents are choosing her as something just a little different. Depending on your background, Eva might even be pronounced AY vah – think of Green Acres’ Eva Gabor – adding to the confusion.

But despite these hiccoughs, Eva has an awful lot going for her. Her international popularity is considerable. Eva ranks:

  • In the Top Ten of Slovenia, Iceland and the Netherlands;
  • Among Belgium’s Top 20 and Scotland’s, too;
  • In the Spanish, Irish and Austrian Top 50;
  • Finally, she numbers among the Top 100 in Hungary and Norway and just re-entered the US Top 100 in 2009.

So if you’re going globe-trotting avec your darling daughter, Eva is one name that others will recognize from Reykjavik to Gibraltar.

Like her Biblical sister, Eva is linked to the Hebrew word for life. In the US, she’s long outranked the spare Eve as a given name, possibly because she’s the tiniest bit frillier, or maybe because she’s not quite as linked to serpents and apples.

She is, however, linked to Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun. But you can overlook her in favor of many other notable Evas, including:


  • Pioneering eighteenth century Swedish scientist Eva Ekeblad;
  • Viennese figure skater turned groundbreaking German sports journalist Eva Pawlik;
  • Argentina’s Eva Peron, immortalized by Broadway and Hollywood as Evita;
  • Oscar and Emmy-winning actress Eva Marie Saint, best remembered for her roles in On the Waterfront – and for playing Eve in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in the 1950s, though her career spanned decades;
  • Pop singer Little Eva taught us all how to do “The Loco-Motion” with her #1 single in 1962;
  • More recently, Desperate Housewives made Eva Longoria Parker a household name;
  • Paris-born Eva Green scored a BAFTA for her portrayal of Vesper Lynd in 2006’s Casino Royale;
  • The silver screen also gives us Eva Mendes from films like Hitch and The Women.

There’s one more actress to add, one that lends starbaby appeal to this name – Susan Sarandon’s firstborn, daughter Eva Amurri.

Eva was popular in the US in the nineteenth century, and appeared in the Top 100 right through 1932. Since the late 1990s, there’s been an uptick of interest in Eva.

In 2003, Gabrielle Union played Eva in Deliver Us from Eva, a reboot of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. It’s not a negative reference – though Ms. Union’s Evangeline is one tough cookie – but some parents might find the similarity between the name and the word evil a bit off-putting.

But overall, Eva is an antidote to the many three-letter, two-syllable names that have been at the heights of popularity in recent years, from Ava to Mia and even Zoe. She’s also a possible short form of many attractive options, from Evelyn and Everly to Evangeline and Genevieve.

With her international flair and long history of use, Eva is a sound choice for a daughter – and many parents may think so, too!

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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What do you think?


  1. I love my name, but my camp counselors call me AVA! that can be a little annoying! 🙂

  2. My daughter’s name is Eva, and of course I love it, but all her life she has thought it was weird and that she could never be popular or have “cool” friends with her name…she hates the letter V, I guess. Still love the name though!