Name Help: Sibling for Marlo and HugoName Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.

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!

Julie writes –

My partner and I have two sweet children. Marlo Remembrance is almost five, and Hugo Xylon is two. Our third baby is on the way and due in September. Naming our older babies came easy, but this one is tough. We have too many rules, I know it! But our older kids’ names are so special we feel pressure to find something as beautiful for this baby.

Marlo’s name has been on my heart for as long as I can remember, a combination of my grandmothers’ names, Mary and Lois. Remembrance is for my dad, who developed early onset Alzheimer’s a few years before Marlo was born. We call her Lola and Lolo and sometimes Marlie R, but the rest of the world calls her Marlo.

Hugo was almost Hugo Xavier when we heard a sermon at our church about the cross and how we really don’t know that much about it, and the Greek word xylon that really just means “wood,” not “cross.” We liked that it spoke to the mysteries of our faith. As for Hugo, we chose it because of the meaning heart or intellect, as we hope our boy will be guided by both. We call him Hux, from his initials, but just like his sister, he’s always Hugo to everyone else.

We combined our last name to give our kids’ a new last name. It’s common, English-Scottish, and sounds like Hurry-with-an-M.

That brings me to our rules:

  1. The first name has to end with an O, but not sound too much like Marlo or Hugo. No Arlo, and no Margo, but it’s hard to know what’s different enough. We also liked Milo for Hugo, but it was too much like Marlo.
  2. Nothing Top 100. The more uncommon, the better, as long as it can be still be read/pronounced/spelled without a lot of hassle. That rule is more in place now because everyone spells Marlo with a W at the end.
  3. We like to be able to see a cute/sweet nickname option, but we would prefer everybody else call our child by their first name as it is written. And it’s okay if it takes us a while to find the right nickname.
  4. The middle name has to be meaningful and different. Ideally, not a name at all.

Names we are considering:

  1. Juno – I know it could maybe be a boys’ name, but I think it feels more like a girls’ name for me. Is it too much like Hugo? Do you think people will call her Junie? Is it too much like my name?
  2. Kylo – But is this just a Star Wars name? My partner is a BIG Star Wars fan and would love it for that reason, but I have mixed feelings. Also, it’s another “lo” name. Too much?
  3. Halo – The meaning is so, so good. But I feel like this isn’t sufficiently name-like for a first name. And I don’t think we’d ever use an O ending middle name, not with a O ending first name.

Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Dear Julie –

Congratulations on your third!

With kids named Marlo and Hugo, it feels like the biggest challenge is to find another name with a distinctive sound. Both Juno and Kylo work, I think. Halo feels a little too close to both Marlo and Hugo. Plus, I think your take on Halo is that it’s mostly a middle name, except Juno Halo is probably not going to work.

I’m not sure I can suggest a word middle name, if only because Remembrance and Xylon seem to be drawn from such personal experiences. But we can definitely work on the first names!

Lots of these could be unisex, so feel free to swap them from the boys’ list to the girls and vice versa.



It comes from an Italian word meaning fire or life; in music, to play “con brio” is to play with a vivacious, upbeat style. Because we’re used to names from Brian to Brynn to Briar, Brio feels like a logical choice.


As in Robinson Crusoe, the 1719 novel that influenced language and storytelling for generations. Crew is quite popular at the moment, but Crusoe is a distinctive choice.


The perfect sound, with that Z making the name sound nicely distinct. But is it too popular?


A rare, romance language take on a name from Ancient Rome, Ezio is Enzo turned up to eleven.


It’s a mini name, just three letters. But Ivo sounds big, and the meaning is great, too. It comes from the yew tree, long associated with immortality and resurrection, beginning in pre-Christian Europe.


Since you mentioned Star Wars and since you considered Kylo – and Hux feels like it might be another nod? – would you consider Lando? Fans of The Empire Strikes Back know all about Lando Calrissian. Donald Glover played young Lando in Solo and is set to reprise the role in a Disney+ series maybe, possibly, probably happening soon. We think. It’s a bright, upbeat sound with lots of history.


An Old Testament place name with a powerful meaning: peaceful.


As in the world-changing astronomer Tycho Brahe. In Brahe’s native Danish, it would’ve been Tyge, ultimately related to Thor. But Tycho offers a completely different, non-hammer-wielding image.



The French word for gift, not used as a given name in France – but with plenty of potential. Emphasis is on the second syllable: cah DOE.


Everyone knows it, but few of us are actively choosing it, making Echo a contender.


Choose the last name of famous artist Frida Kahlo and you’d have to be prepared for questions. Are you a fan? But it’s easy to find her work compelling.


A Spanish name meaning light, Lucero’s extra syllable might be an asset.


An outdoorsy nature name that stands out.


Presidential and Hollywood, Monroe is rising in use, but sounds like a sister for Marlo and Hugo.


As in the beach, located on Florida’s Treasure Coast. There’s no consensus on why the name was chosen, but it sounds like the Latin verus – true.

Lots of these could work for either a daughter or a son. It’s the beauty of the O ending!

My favorite keeps changing. When I first drafted this, I was very much Team Shiloh. Or maybe Brio? I think Tycho works really well for a boy.

But it’s definitely time to open this up to the readers! What would you name a sister or brother for Marlo Remembrance and Hugo Xylon?

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. A couple more names if you’re set on the O ending (though, I agree another ending would sound lovely with Marlo and Hugo).


  2. I agree with a previous commenter that some of these suggestions make Marlo and Hugo seem as if they were chosen for the theme rather than because they are marvelous names–and Marlo and Hugo are lovely, midcentury-cool, wearable names for actual human beings.

    I would never blink at something like Marlo, Hugo, and Dean or Marlo, Hugo, and Betty but I’d be very hesitant to choose something out-there like Kylo or Kahlo or Boo. It spoils the elegance of the set.

    Something uncommon-yet-familiar like Otto or Cleo seems fitting, or I love the idea of moving the O to another part of the name if you intend to have more than 3 kids.



  3. I have a suggestion for a boy name: Iroh. My kids have a classmate with this name, and it intrigued me. I discovered it’s a character in the tv series Avatar: The Last Airbender. That might make it feel familiar to some kids, but it’s uncommon enough that it would still stand out.

  4. M@rlo. Hug0 and…
    Sandro as a name by itself or as a nickname for Alessandro.
    Emilio, nickname Emil or Leo