The baby name Ever has gone from obscure possibility to fast-rising favorite.
Thanks to Lauren for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
BY the NUMBERS
It’s easy to dismiss the baby name Ever as a modern word name, a sister for Legend or a brother for Promise.
But there’s much more to this name, and the data bears that out.
As a girl’s name, Ever first appears in the United States records way back in 1888, when five girls received the name. It continued to be used in small numbers – 8 this year, a dozen the next. It was enough to push the baby name Ever into the US Top 1000 for girls twice, in 1893 and again in 1901.
Turning to baby boy names, Ever was less common. It debuted in the US data in 1916, with five births, and remained less common for our sons than our daughters for many years.
But what’s the meaning of the name Ever? And how did it become a given name in the first place?
In many cases, parents borrow the baby name Ever from the word. With Old English roots, æfre simply means “always.” The word’s exact origins remain murky, but it main come from a longer phrase meaning “ever in life.”
Poets contract Ever to e’er, but the word is remarkably unchanged across the centuries.
HEBER and EBER
The Old Testament mentions the name Heber more than once, and Eber, too.
Eber is the great-great-grandson of Noah. There’s a story that Eber refused to help build the Tower of Babel, and thus preserved the Hebrew language. Hebrew might come from his given name. Or maybe not – there’s lively debate on the issue.
The Book of Genesis mentions a separate figure by the name, as does the New Testament.
The Hebrew name is generally spelled with a B, except sometimes it is Chéver or even Ever, the very name that feels like some a modern, unique name today.
While plenty of theories have been offered, the meaning of Heber remains unclear.
Names like Everly come from the Old English eofor – wild boar.
It’s a common element in long-forgotten names from the Middle Ages like Everar, and it’s heard in German, too, in names like Everich.
Then there’s a possible Gaelic root, with Eimhear or Emer.
In Irish myth, she’s the accomplished wife of Cu Chulainn.
The name likely comes from eimh – swift.
EVERS and EVERT
Surnames suggest other possibilities.
The English name Evers might’ve been given to someone who lived at the edge of a hill or possibly some other place name.
Evert and Everts, too, could’ve led to the baby name Ever. In those cases, they’re Germanic and refer back to the wild boar mentioned earlier.
And Ever, all by itself, is sometimes a surname. Ita Ever, a native of Paide, Estonia, went on to become a major stage, television, and movie star in her native country and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
NAME MEANINGS & ORIGINS
The answer to the question about the name Ever’s origins and meaning is a highly unsatisfying question mark.
But whether it’s Hebrew, Gaelic, Old English, or something else, it’s clear that some version of this name has history.
Actor Robert Carradine welcomed a daughter named Ever way back in 1974. She’s now an actor in her own right. The Carradine family includes many a famous name – his dad, John Carradine; Robert’s brother Bruce Carradine, plus half-brothers David Carradine and Michael Bowen; and niece, Martha Plimpton.
The famous family isn’t known for especially unique baby names, and it’s not clear how Ever was chosen. But as her career has developed, from early beginnings in the 1990s to recent work on The Handmaid’s Tale and Runaways, odds are that at least some parents might’ve noticed the name thanks to her.
Speaking of famous Hollywood families, Milla Jovovich and Paul WS Anderson are parents to three girls: Ever Gabo, Dashel Edan, and Osian Lark Elliot. When asked about Ever’s name, she explained that it was a Scottish boy’s name to reflect Paul’s heritage.
While finding a Scottish name explanation has proved elusive, it’s possible.
Ever is following in her mother’s footsteps as an actor. She plays Wendy Darling in the upcoming live action movie Peter Pan & Wendy.
Given the movie’s debut on Disney Plus, it’s likely that many watching will be parents who might just file the baby name Ever away for future use.
As of 2021, 165 boys and 113 girls received the name.
Singer-songwriter Alanis Morrisette gave the name to a son in 2010. She and Mario “Souleye” Treadway are also parents to daughter Onyx and son Winter.
And that celebrity sibset might point to the name’s appeal: it’s undeniably a gender-neutral name. With words like River, Legacy, and Reign climbing for boys and girls alike, Ever fits right in.
SOUNDS LIKE …
Speaking of River, it also helps that the baby name Ever sounds like so many current favorites. Popular names Everly, Evelyn, Evan, and Everett all open doors for Ever.
And when it comes to baby girl names, middle Vs are everything. Olivia holds the #1 rank for girls’ names in the US, with Ava not far behind.
Those top names make Ever sound like a perfectly reasonable choice for a daughter.
Easily pronounced and spelled, there’s something deceptively simple about the baby name Ever.
It’s unisex and modern. But it connects to many an older name, too.
And it’s easy to imagine Ever suiting a child of any personality – a dreamer or a rebel. Someone bold or someone who hangs back a bit. It’s endlessly rich with potential, and yet it’s not too much to live up to, either.
Call it a twenty-first century virtue name, a bold and romantic choice that’s surprisingly easy to wear, too.
What do you think of the baby name Ever?
First published February 25, 2011, this post was revised substantially and re-published on March 1, 2023.
Kathleen C. says
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.
Great word name. Would be a great way to honor a female relative named Eve, Eva, Evelyn or Evangeline.
Charlotte Vera says
Oh, just a quick question: Did you actually mean “wild board”, or was that supposed to read “wild boar”?
Thank you, Charlotte – definitely boar!
Lady Gwyn says
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!
Mere Mere says
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. 🙂
For example, I prefer Anabel to Annabelle.
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.
Sarah A says
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 Br@nch, G@ble…) 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.
British American says
Good idea! It makes me think of Evelyn. I didn’t think of Everett, but that would be a great nickname for that one too.
I like Ever on its own, over Everly / Everleigh though.
Charlotte Vera says
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.
I agree, I’ve always thought it sounds unfinished.
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. 🙂
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. 🙂
I should say, I like Eimhear for a girl and Ever for a boy.
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.
eimhear mc mahon says
in irish gaelic (bhi) (fhada over the i ) is pronounced v
eibhir (fhada over the second i) being the gaelic spelling for eimhear