We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
We’re expecting our third baby – a little boy and have no idea where to start with his name.
We have two little girls: Eva Catalina and Camila Valentina and are searching for a name that goes with Eva and Camila. We like vintage, classic names and nothing unisex. The trick here is that is has to be a Spanish name that sounds good in English as well.
So far, I have only thought of Lucas and Mathias. Lucas is so popular though and we’d like something less trendy. My husband likes Diego but I’m worried about the pronunciation in English.
I’m looking forward to your suggestions and great ideas!
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your son!
Eva Catalina and Camila Valentina are textbook crossover names. They work beautifully in English and Spanish, and hit that traditional, not trendy, note, while still feeling very current.
And I think that’s where I’m stuck. I wanted to suggest Luca. But I do see your point about Lucas and Luke, and I’m really not sure Luca sidesteps that problem. That’s equally true with Mathias. Matias and Mateo are logical crossover choices, but is any Mat- name really too common at this point?
As for Diego? It seems like an obvious choice. Yes, it’s a little more obviously Spanish, but we love 0-ending names for boys, and thanks to San Diego and figures like Diego Luna and Dora the Explorer’s cousin, it’s very familiar.
The pronunciation question has me stumped. It definitely sounds a little different in Spanish, but as far as I’m aware, I think the differences are pretty modest. But then, a very subtle shift in sound can ruin a name, and maybe there’s something I’m not aware of? (In fact, maybe my assertion that Diego sounds so similar in Spanish and English is proof that there’s a problem!)
So let’s move on and see if we can find some fresh ideas.
A BROTHER FOR EVA and CAMILA
I think Bastian is the better fit for your family, but Sebastian is the far more mainstream choice – at least in the US. It’s been a Top 50 name over the last decade, but nothing sounds quite like Sebastian. So there’s no Lucas/Luke/Luca effect to worry about – which might make Sebastian seem more distinctive.
Something that seems obvious, but isn’t always: Spanish language names often work well in Italian, and vice versa. And so no surprise that Enzo, originally an Italian nickname for Lorenzo, is rising in use in the US, as well as places like Spain. I know plenty of Spanish-speaking American parents who gravitate towards names like Giovani, so this feels like a logical choice, too.
I suggest Hugo often, probably because it’s an underused classic with that current -o ending. Of course, Hugo does sound different in Spanish and English, thanks to the letter H. Still, it’s so perfect with Eva and Camila that it feels like it belongs on this list.
My first thought was Leo, but then again … there are lots of Leo names, which might put it in the same category as Lucas and Mathias. I’ll suggest Leonel because for a few reasons. First, I do think Leo is exactly right with Eva and Camila, and I’d say the same of Leonel. But I also like the way it’s obviously Spanish but easily accessible in English, and the nickname gives you the option to blend in completely or stand out just a little. You might also consider Lionel, nickname Leo, but Leonel seems like the stronger crossover choice. And, of course, just Leo is worth consideration, too.
Marco makes the list for the same basic reasons as Hugo, but it’s not as much of a pronunciation challenge. In the US, it’s not quite as stylish, either, possibly because a generation of men named Mark make it feel too familiar. Except that moment continues to recede into the past, and Marco is far more current in Spain.
Maybe this should be Maximo or Maximiliano or even Maxi? But Max feels like it checks both boxes – familiar in Spanish, easily accessible in English, with a classic-current vibe.
I hesitate because Tomas could be a pronunciation challenge. I tend to hear it with a long O from native Spanish speakers, like Joe or go, while Americans pronounce Tom more like John and calm. (Though vowels are tricky!) But I think it has potential.
Yes, on paper, maybe this should be Javier. The X often sounds more like a SH in Spanish, right? But I think Xavier could still be the right choice. I think it hits the right note in terms of popularity, but I also wonder if naming your son Xavier and calling him Javi – with the different sound – would feel like a minor inconvenience? Or maybe it’s a dealbreaker?
This is a challenge, I think, because how we use language is so deeply personal. And naming a son can be very different than naming a daughter, both in terms of the names we’re willing to consider and how we use them in everyday life.
So while I want to push for a name like Xavier or Leonel, I wonder if they’re a little more complicated? Particularly since Eva and Camila are so nicely straightforward. That makes me give my vote to Sebastian, as a name that’s pronounced a little bit differently in English and Spanish but still mostly unchanged. And I do think it’s traditional but current, just like your daughters’ names.
I’m particularly drawn to something like Sebastian Diego, if that’s a possibility.