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 æfre.
Then there’s the Biblical Eber, Heber, or Éver. 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.