The baby name Matteo takes traditional Matthew in a romance language direction.
Thanks to Marta for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
Matthew ranked in the US Top Ten from 1974 through 2007, a Biblical boy name with a long history of use.
Saint Matthew was one of the twelve apostles, a witness to the Resurrection, author of the New Testament’s Gospel of Matthew.
You would expect to find a version of Matthew in every European language, and so there is – from Mads in Danish to Matvei in Russian. Mathias and Matthias are very common, too.
But Matteo seems like one of the most familiar international variants of evergreen Matthew.
Or maybe that should be Mateo.
Celebrities from Colin Firth to Ricky Martin have given the name to their sons, a mix of single-T and double-T spellings.
Strictly speaking, the single t spelling is Spanish – and common throughout the Spanish-speaking world – while the double t is Italian, popular in Italy today.
Mateo ranks in the US Top 40 – well ahead of Matteo.
We can all name a famous Matthew, from actors like McConaughey and Damon to historical figures like Commodore Perry.
But Matteo offers every bit as much history.
Matteo Visconti ruled Milan in the 1300s. In the sixteenth century, Matteo Ricci was one of the first Jesuit priests to serve in China. Field Marshal Mateo de Toro Zambrano became the first president of newly independent Chile in 1810.
The list goes on and on, with athletes, composers, artists, and more adding to the list over the centuries.
But this name’s appeal isn’t down to history.
Chances are parents are drawn to the baby name Matteo because of that last letter.
We love a good o ending boy name. Just ask Leo, Theo, Milo, or Arlo.
They make great crossover names, too. Spanish language favorites like Diego, Antonio, and Santiago all wear well in the US.
The baby name Matteo bridges a gap between the familiar, boy-next-door Matthew and a modern, international choice. It makes a great choice for parents seeking a culture-spanning name, and an equally good option for families intent on finding a not-too-familiar, but not-too-out there option for a son.
Would you consider the baby name Matteo for a son? Do you prefer it with one T or two?
First published on December 7, 2011, this post was revised on August 1, 2020.
My son is Mateo Kenneth, nod to my Spanish roots and balances with the American/Anglican Middle and last name. I originally picked Makeo (rhymes with Mateo), but he would spend his whole life correcting people on how to spell and pronounce a name that could be simplified. Mateo also had a bigger meaning to us.
Can anyone suggest a baby brother name that pairs well with Mateo? There are several Luca’s among our friends and family, otherwise it would’ve been a great contender.
And then there’s the wonderful Matteo Alacran from Nancy Farmer’s “The House of the Scorpion”.
Matteo used to be one of my favorites, and I still really like it, but it’s been replaced by Matthias/Mattias– one of the only boys’ names I truly love. Teo is an adorable nickname, too.
Raquel Somatra says
I do like the softness of Mateo. I prefer the one ‘t’ spelling since I come from a Spanish background. It actually sounds a little feminine to me, maybe it’s the “Ma” sound that links to names like Matilda. It’s not a bad thing, though.
I like this, spelled Mateo only. Somehow adding the second “T” makes it too much like Matthew, a name I am not very fond of (though it’s nice). Go Tom Colicchio — Mateo Lev is a fantastic combination.
oh and I love Mads & Matvei! They rock.
Sarah A says
Matteo is pretty cool. I think Teo or Tay are better nicknames than Matt; no offense to any Matts out there but imho it is beyond tired.
I do think it’s interesting that certain “ethnic” names get a pass as “international” while others, unfortunately, don’t seem to transcend. I’m looking at you, Hadassah. *sigh*
I love Matteo! It’s definitely distinctive, but not too out there. I love the nickname Teo (TAY-oh), instead of the tired Matt.
Charlotte Vera says
The first Matteo I met was our pastor’s young son. While neither parent can claim any Spanish or Italian heritage, their son’s name do “go” with the names of their daughters: Alethe@ and Keil@ni. It’s a nice name, as far as ends-with-o names go, and it suits both a child and an adult. However, I’ve known far too many Matthews, so Matteo already seems a little on the tired side.
I agree. Matteo is a perfectly nice name, it’s just that Matthew has been SOOOO popular for so long — Matteo feels a bit boring.
Teo isn’t boring, but I prefer it as a full name or short for Teodor.
Thanks for featuring Matteo! We chose it as a middle name for our baby Oliver born earlier this year. I wanted a name that reflected both my Spanish heritage and my husband’s Italian heritiage and Matteo fit that criteria perfectly. I do admit that I had a really difficult time deciding which spelling to go with since we have both Spanish and Italian roots. In the end the double T’s won out just because we thought it looked better with his full name.
Oliver Matteo is a fabulous name!! Congrats on your new baby 🙂
What a gorgeous name you picked out! Congratulations!
Thank you so much! 🙂
I like Mateo, but I know a lot- certainly more young Mateos than Aidans. It’s probably at least top 50 in my area, which has a huge Spanish speaking population and is quite close to areas with a lot of Italians.
I think it is a great crossover name- easy to say in most languages, and I think it works even if you can’t claim Italian or Spanish ancestry.
Interesting that there are so many Matteo’s where you live. Where i am.. My son is the only one.
I prefer Mattia, that is also in the Italian Top10 for boys, but I’m not completely sure if its another form of Matthew or a different name.
I have to disagree that names are getting softer though, more and more butch names are flooding the boys top1000, and the fall of names ending in Y in favor of harder endings such as N or R kinda prove that.
Mattia is the italian form of Matthias.
I have like Matteo for a long time. I love that it sounds slightly foreign but still familiar.
Kind of like Mikhail.