Baby Name of the Day: Ever

Milla Jovovich said it was a boy’s name when she used it for her daughter. Alanis Morrisette gave the name to her son without explanation.

Thanks to Pat for suggesting the intriguing Ever as our Baby Name of the Day.

The pair of starbabies named Ever has caused quite a bit of chatter online, but Ever has a long history in Hollywood. Actor Robert Carradine gave the name to his daughter back in 1974. His Ever is all grown up, and a mom herself, to daughter Chaplin.

The question, of course, is wherever did the parents find Ever?

Milla said it was a Scottish boys’ name, so I went searching for her source. Scottish Gaelic has given us some names – Donald, for one. There’s also Scots, a Germanic language, ancestor to Broad Scots and Scottish English, which was why it took you three attempts to understand the dialogue in Trainspotting. Neither turned up an obvious source for Ever.

A few other options emerged:

  • The Gaelic Eimhear or Emer appears in myth as the accomplished wife of Cu Chulainn. The name might relate to eimh – swift – but the modern pronunciation is generally given as ee MER;
  • The surname Everly is often linked to the Old English eofor – wild boar;
  • Our word meaning always comes from the Old English รฆfre.

Then there’s the Biblical Eber, Heber, or ร‰ver. The Old Testament tells us he’s the descendant of Noah through his son Shem. Eber is the ancestor of the Israelites. Some even given him credit for Hebrew. The story goes like this: his family refused to help build the Tower of Babel, and so their language remained uncorrupted; Hebrew comes from his given name. Or maybe not – there’s a lively debate on the issue. Eber’s original meaning is also unclear, though most sources connect him to a word that means beyond.

While never in the Top 1000, Ever appears in US Census records as a given name; at a glance, I’d say it was slightly more common for women than men. But there’s nothing that suggests all of those Evers shared the same background.

Despite mama Milla’s claims and a handful of possible sources, I’d venture to say that most parents choosing Ever today would also have options like Journey and River on their short lists. In fact, Ever may be appearing on more and more parents’ radar. Besides the high profile births, consider:

  • Word names are big, from old school choices like Grace to modern inventions like Cannon;
  • Ever’s v sound is very, very popular, from Ava to Evan;
  • Ever fits with those vaguely spiritual choices – think of Haven and Bodhi;
  • Word names tend to be gender neutral, and Ever is no exception.

Of course, Ever can also be elaborated: Twilight’s Cam Gigandet has an Everleigh and musician Anthony Kiedis has an Everly Bear. In case you’re considering this one, note that the ends in -ly version does double duty. That’s Miss Everleigh Gigandet, and little Mister Everly Kiedis.

Something tells me we’ll be hearing much more of this one, probably for boys and girls. But whether the name will be as enduring as its meaning, well – time will tell.

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25 Comments

I named my 14-year-old daughter Eimhear, and pronounce it Ever. I found it in an Irish baby name book, and fell in love with it.

I really like Ever. I am not sure if I would have the guts to use it as a first name, but it would make a lovely middle name. I do like Ever a lot, glad to see it as a name of the day!

I was cringing when getting ready to read the comments, because I thought this name would garner more criticism than it has. Whew…letting my breath out…because I really like this name. I like the feeling that the word Ever evokes; I like the way it almost begs the question of ever what. That’s what makes it great. I put this in the category along with Ernest/Earnest because of how both names/words make me feel–although I obviously wouldn’t name a sibset that! I like Ever much better on a girl but see how it could go either way.

I love word names but Ever just seems too plain. Although it’s relatively unusual it’s still sort of a yawn to me. I agree that it’s definitely wearable for someone else’s child though. ๐Ÿ™‚

I like the name Everly Bear, it is kinda crazy tho that’s for sure. Anything with a ton of extra letters just for show, like Everleigh, kinda gets me down.

Love it as a nn for Everett or Evelyn, but Ever does seem incomplete on its own. I feel like I hear an ellipsis after it, like ‘ever…after??’ or something.

I have a cousin, who’s expecting and she has a real love of celebrity-related word/virtue names. Ever is one of the “better” names she is considering. (She’s also thinking about [email protected], [email protected]…) I’m of two minds about Ever. I like the meaning and appreciate the sound, but it feels incomplete as a full name. As a nickname for Evelyn or Everett, that’s fabulous.

I kinda really like this name – and was thinking about it not too long ago.
I would probably use it as a nn for Everett or Evelyn rather than as a full name. As it may date.

Ever’s too much of a word name for my taste, although I admit to being a fan of “ev” names in general. Some of my personal favourites include Evelyn, Evander, and the saintly Everild.

I want to like Ever, it feels fresh and unusual in an wearable way. Written down it looks incomplete, though, like someone stopped typing in the middle of Everett.

Count me as :meh:. Ever doesn’t impress me with creativity, nor does it seem especially polished. Of course, I’m no celebrity and my kids have to grow up & get jobs like any normal slob (like me!) So it doesn’t work for me. But if I had to think beyond me, I’ll admit Ever’s rather simple, easily spelled and at least liveable as a name. Not for me, but for someone else’s kid. ๐Ÿ™‚

I honestly think it’s a name that sounds like when you hear it,refreshing to come across – to those who have the guts to use it, and it feels good to say.I REALLY hope that more people use.

The modern pronunciation of Eimhear makes no sense given the rules of Irish Gaelic. It’s supposed to be pronounced as Ever. The /mh/ is a slender consonant because it is surrounded by slender vowels [i & e], so that makes it a /v/ sound. If it were a broad consonant, it would make a /w/ sound. There is no /m/ sound there at all. I don’t know as much about Scots Gaelic, but if I recall correctly, their rules are similar.

Anyway, I really like the name, spelled Eimhear or Ever. ๐Ÿ™‚

Panya, thanks – here’s the pronunciation I found at Forvo; a bunch of other sites gave it, too: http://www.forvo.com/word/eimear/ It surprised me – I expected to hear a v sound – but I know very little about Gaelic languages. Any guesses as to what’s at work there? I’m stumped.

I’m guessing it’s an Anglicisation/simplification. Either people’re pronouncing the /m/ because they don’t know Gaelic, or the /h/ was left out, which technically *would* make it an /m/ sound [though incorrect in regards to origin]. I think it’s been mispronounced for so long that the incorrect pronunciation has become the accepted pronunciation.

And so it goes … language is a funny thing, isn’t it? It looks like the /h/ has been dropped pretty consistently.

in irish gaelic (bhi) (fhada over the i ) is pronounced v
eibhir (fhada over the second i) being the gaelic spelling for eimhear