Blue Heart
Blue Heart by Geishaboy500 via Flickr

It’s a heart-shaped surname worn by a singer who is best known for being jilted.

Thanks to Nicole for suggesting Lovett as our Baby Name of the Day.

Lyle Lovett has been recording quirky alt country tunes since the 1980s, but he found himself in the spotlight in 1993. He met Julia Roberts on a movie set, and just three weeks after being introduced, the pair eloped. The marriage didn’t last, but the headlines seemed never-ending.

Between the headline-grabbing story and Lovett’s first syllable, you’re forgiven if you link this name to romance. But it isn’t necessarily so.

There are a few possible sources for Lovett:

  • Wolf has history as a given name, and lou was the Anglo-Norman French for wolf, from the Latin lupus. Louvet was a wolf cub, or a nickname, much like names related to lions and tigers and bears have caught on over the centuries;
  • There’s a Scottish clan known as Clan Fraser of Lovat. The clan chiefs are known as Lord Lovat, and have been since 1458. There’s no shortage of history and lore about the family, but sources are silent on the origins of Lovat. That might be because it could come from the Gaelic lobh – rot;
  • There were several Anglo-Saxon names that meant love or dear – Leof, Lufu, and Leofa all appear in use. JRR Tolkien used Leofa for one of his fictional rulers, as a nickname to denote his generosity. Lufu is the source of our word love, and since -et, -ett, and -ette are all diminutive forms, it’s possible to link Lovett to love.
I suspect love was the motivation for parents who chose names like Lovette and Lovetta for their daughters. There haven’t been many, but I did find:
  • Lovette George had a successful career on Broadway in the 1990s;
  • Singer Lovetta Pippen has roots in gospel and soul, and is best known as a former collaborator with Warren Defever on His Name is Alive, a long-running experimental music project.

Others are likely wearing a family surname, like long-time University of Houston baseball coach Lovette Hill.

On a daughter, there’s something decidedly retro about Lovette or Lovetta. No names ending in -etta currently appearing in the US Top 1000. Juliette is the only -ette ender to rank. The spare Lovet is closer in style to 21st century favorites like Violet and Bridget, but looks a little off. Nancy’s list tells us that parents are far more likely to use plain ol’ Love or Lovely, or a nouveau coinage like Loveah.

Back in the 1930s, -ette names were all the rage The Top 1000 included Jeanette, Annette, Claudette, Antoinette, Bette, Bernadette, Janette, Lynette, Hariette, Paulette, Yvette, Nanette, Georgette, Colette, and even Margarette. A few years later, Suzette, Danette, and Ivette would appear, too. As for the -ettas, there was Top 100 Loretta, plus Rosetta, Henrietta, Marietta, Concetta, Annetta, Jeanetta, Georgetta, and Etta.

Should the trend return, doubtless we’ll meet more much-loved little girls with the name.

For now, this feels like the kind of wearable surname you’re lucky to find on your family tree. If you do, it is great in the middle spot – and on the right side of daring as a given name, 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. My name is Lovetta Inet and I get a lot of wonderful comments about my name. Yes it is unique and not commonly used which makes me stand out over the regularly heard names.

  2. Not a fan. It reminds me of that character Molly Shannon would do: “I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it.”

  3. I’d never heard of Lovett as a given name before, but I can’t say I’m a fan. Given names with the word love in them have always been just a bit too cutesy for my taste (unless they’re in the form of the Greek phil, which I rather like).

  4. I rather like Lovett and think it would make a fabulous middle name. But not for me. All my brain thinks is ” Lyle”. Blah for me, personally.

    But a related variation ( I think) hangs in my family tree circa 1720: Lovelia (love-ee-LEE-ah). And if I was so inclined, that’s what I’d use in the middle. Lucy Lovelia, perhaps. Something like that anyway.

    Lovett’s sweet and perfect for someone else’s kid. 🙂

  5. I am a big Lyle Lovett fan, so that’s the only association I could ever have with this name. I don’t really like -ette or -ella names, but I think Love by itself in the middle spot could be beautiful; it would be like a virtue name then, akin to Wisdom or Honor.

  6. I love this one! Lovella has long been a favorite of mine 🙂 It is forever on my short list, and someday, I could see us having a daughter by it! I love the nickname “Lovey” for it 🙂

  7. Thanks for doing this one! I love “love” names. Mainly because my husband calls me Love or Cupcake. It is a very rare occasion that he calls me by my first name. So I feel like naming my little girl Lovett would be like naming her after me in an indirect way. I am considering this for a middle name spot, I am not quite as daring to use it as a first name, but I think it is whimsical in the mn spot.

    @Laurie.. I have never heard of Lovella, I love it!

  8. I am so happy I found you site- I am a new follower and a self confessed name geek. I look forward to reading more. I will be scouring your back posts.

    My daughter had a friend named Lovella- It fits with Lovett and brings in the whole -ella ending that has been so big in naming lately.

    1. Lovella – very cool. Girls Gone Child has a daughter named Fable Luella. All of those retro -ellas are very cool.