Baby Name of the Day: Livia May 23, 2011 By appellationmountain 31 Comments From the statue in Naples; Image via Wikipedia She’s a Roman More names you might like:Baby Name of the Day: DaciaOlive: Baby Name of the DayBaby Name of the Day: CalpurniaBaby Name of the Day: LeonaBaby Name of the Day: Verena Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrint
I have liked Livia since I heard in I, Claudius as a kid, but the similarity to Olivia put me off of it. Olivia was not popular when I had my older kids, but it was very strongly associated in my mind with Olivia from Sesame Street from when I was a kid. I am not sure if that was before the time of a lot of the moms around here, though.
I do have a Lilia, which is both “like Lily, but with an A” and “like Lillian, without the N,” so we feel the pain of “like Olivia, but without the O.” It’s no big deal, really, and people generally love her name once they get it, but if she were a less self-assured girl, I can see where she might be upset by it. (Luckily, she’s a walking boatload of self-confidence.)
Oh, of course – Olivia on Sesame Street! She appeared from 1977 through 1988 – thanks IMDB – so that’s a lot of this generation’s moms, though you’re right – probably not all.
Casie B. says
Wanted to add that oddly enough, the E names I really like are Elodie and Everly. So I might end up saying “Like Melody, but without the M” or “like Beverly, but without the B”… Oy.
Haha, I think you should totally pick one of those because of that! My oldest daughter has to say, “No, not Makayla, Makailyn”. She’s 9 now. When I was pregnant with my second one and thought of Livienne, part of the appeal was that she will also have a name that she will have to correct. I felt like it made them a good sib set even though I hate it for my oldest that she has to do that. But she assured me that she doesn’t mind and neither will her sis 🙂
As far as which E to go with, I think Elodie goes great with Livia. I loved Everly too when I was pregnant but hate Beverly. Every time I said I was thinking of Everly, I got, Beverly?? It just ruined it. I love the way Elodie flows and sounds. I like that they are both 3 syllables too. So are my girls. I also had my second in Nov ( ’10). Best wishes with your new baby!
P.S. I just looked at her pics and oh my goodness, she is gorgeous! You are so blessed!
Casie B. says
Hi! I’m the Casie that suggested the name and my 3 year old daughter is a Livia. We love the name. Girl names were a total struggle for me and because of Olivia’s popularity I didn’t even consider it. But in my mind a person named Olivia has a completely different personality than a person named Livia. Yes we are constantly correcting people when we tell them her name and they respond “Olivia?” but it’s easy enough to say “no, it’s Livia, without the O” and then they have it and usually comment on how pretty a name it is.
Now we’re due in November with #2 and I’m struggling to find more options that have a solid history (not made up), but still sound modern and still aren’t super popular. Sigh. I’m really drawn to E names for girls though.
You can see my adorable Livia here 🙂
I really like it. I considered it when I was pregnant since I LOVE the name Liv but my last name is one syllable so I needed something longer. Didn’t want anything popular either so Olivia was out and Olive just wasn’t my style so I gave it a french twist, Livienne. She gets away with not having to say,” no, not Olivia, Livia” BUT I bet she’ll have to say,” no, not Vivienne, Livienne”. haha
I can’t stand Olivia, and I don’t like Livia any better. Livia has everything I despise of Olivia, with the added benefit that it reminds me of liver.
Sarah A says
I have to agree with everyone else – Livia’s too close to Olivia. However, I’ve been rewatching the HBO series Rome, so I’m definitely seeing Livia as Octavian’s wife…not a small child saying ‘it’s just Livia, no O’ 🙂
I agree with everyone else: it’s a really lovely name, but just too associated with ultra-popular Olivia. Also I’m willing to bet that most non-namenerds have no idea of the name’s history, only that it’s a shortened version of Olivia. But I’d love to see a little Livia!
I love Livia, but like others have said so much better than me… it isn’t distinctive enough from Olivia. If Olivia wasn’t so superstar popular, Livia would be on my list.
Lou @ Mer de noms says
I think Livia is too close in sound to really work well alongside the popular Olivia, since she is pronounced the same as Olivia, sans the ‘Oh’ at the start, when for example, Eliza and the ‘eliza’ part in Elizabeth have distinctly different pronunciations. That’s my tuppence worth.
Isn’t Livia the name of Colin Firth’s gorgeous Italian wife? Lovely and lyrical, but yes, too close to Olivia.
I like Livia and prefer it to Olivia because I don’t care for ‘olive’ as a name or part of a name and because Livia isn’t over used. There may be three Olivias in a class, but most likely Livia won’t have to add her surname’s first letter to her name.
“Baby Name Bible” recommends Livia as a “Best Bet — names we [the baby name experts from nameberry.com] find to be particularly appealing in a wide range of styles” and says of LIVIA: “…the distinctively attractive Livia has been an independent name since ancient Rome and is still commonly heard in modern Italy. Good Olivia alternative.”
Penguin Reference Dictionary of First Names (UK) reminds us that “Livia is featured as the name of a character in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and subsequently made a number of further appearances in English literature from the 16th century onwards.”
I like the Roman and Shakespearean connections of Livia and think it’s a grand name! True, others may ask if the given name is Olivia, but I think it would be fun to share the background of Livia, a totally separate name.
We considered Olivia years ago because my husband’s families has ties to a place in Poland called Oliva – actually also a feminine name from back in the day, but I don’t believe it has been used in ages – and olives are big in my Mediterranean family, so it seemed like a sweet little connection. But then Olivia supernova’d and we realized how very MANY great girls’ names we had, so … off the list. I do adore Liv, though.
Livia is in Romeo & Juliet?! I honestly can’t remember a Livia appearing … I searched the text and found a reference to Livia on the guest list for the ball. Interesting … I think that’s the only reference.
I am polish too, and I named my daughter Livia. I was playing with the word Life (beautiful life)… but I disregarded it until I saw it appear in a Polish magazine what to name your child if s/he was born during the Christmas holidays… hence I named her Livia… (not meaning Olivia, Olive because I don’t care so much for the name Olivia and its meaning.)
I’m surprised Namberry used the word “distinctively”.
Hmm… why are you surprised?
Because I don’t find it distinctive.
Photoquilty is wise. It’s unfortunate when a name you love looks or sounds similar to an extremely popular name, but I think it makes sense to consider it as a factor before making your choice.
Another name with similarly ancient roots is Lavinia. It could be a potential alternative for those who like Livia but don’t want the Olivia confusion, though it lacks the short-and-sweet appeal Livia has.
Wise? Well, thanks!
I like Lavinia, too – even though she was an antagonist in my favorite childhood book, A Little Princess. I’m afraid any Lavinia would be called Vin or Vinnie, and that wouldn’t do for me.
I agree with Photoquilty. Livia’s lovely (I particularly love that shade of blue she describes) but she’s not distinct enough for me. Unlike Eliza, Livia feels complete to me. Just not stand out enough. Sad. So pretty otherwise.
I like it, but it’s not distinct enough. I wouldn’t want to use a name that was easily confused with another, more popular name. At ths point it’s like AdienBraydenJaydenCadenHayden or MadisonMadelineAddison. So, it doesn’t make the list.
Another thing about it not being distinct – little kids tend to lop off parts of a name. I imagine lots of little Olivias ARE called Livia or Livya by their older/younger siblings – or maybe that’s what they call themselves …
I really like Livia, even though I don’t like Olivia. And yes, it DOES remind of Anna Livia from James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake”!
The meaning is not very nice though. Perhaps it is meant to mean that the person is so wonderful they will turn others green with envy?
That’s a great way to interpret the meaning!
My friends name is Livia and she doesn’t turn people green with envy but a lot of people think she is great and love the name Livia. So it is a great name. A lot of people are naming their babies Livia.
Once upon a time we had Aine Livia on our list, with the option of using it as a double name. [A roundabout way to honor Irish ancestors (via Anna Liffey), Roman ancestors, and my gramma Nancy.] I’m still in complete love with the combo, but ultimately we decided that Aine was too close to my name, and since I dislike Olivia, I didn’t want the constant references.
Aine Livia is gorgeous!