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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Baby Boy Doorahzio: Italian Names

Carly writes:
We are due with our first baby, a boy, in April and my husband and I are having trouble finding a name.

To give some background information, I'm Irish and my husband is Italian, 1st generation. I've always been a fan of ethnic names so I'd like to find something Italian to match our very Italian last name pronounced door-ahz-io.

We were all set with girls name options (Luciana, Viviana, Valentina) with middle name Willa in honor of my lost little brother Ryan William. Our middle name for our son will be Ryan, even though it doesn't "match" with any of the Italian-ness going on.

Our names are Matthew and Carly and we have two dogs, Sugar and Gus, and a cat, Jasper. We do hope to have more children in the future.

After going through some extensive exercises of writing top 5 lists and comparing and then comparing some more, we've each narrowed our favorites down to 1. (Well I have 2, whoops!)

· My husbands favorite is Marcello (pronounced mar-chel-lo), and while I don't hate it, I also don't love it. We've discussed nicknames and none stand out to me as a good fit. Marc, Marco, Marcus, March, Cello, Lo?

· My favorite is Santino and we would call him Santi or Santos. (My runner up is Xavier, it's been on my list since I was in grade school, but the hubbie thinks it's "weird"?)

Anyway, can you give some insight on what you think of these two names, or perhaps some other names that might seem to fit?

Thank you so much!

PS: Here is a small list of names that one of us liked but was dismissed

Dominic (most likely still on the list, but not at the top)

PPS: I absolutely promise to write back with an update on what we've chosen!

I know very little about Italian names, so I'm working here with the Italian sections of The Baby Name Wizard, The Best Baby Names in the World From Around the World, and The Oxford Dictionary of First Names. I'm trying to choose names that will sound good in the U.S., which could very well mean I'm choosing the names that in actual Italy would sound like Erwin and Dudley.

I have a long-running campaign to promote the name Karl, which I think is vastly underused. Recently a celebrity named a baby boy Carlo, which seemed like it had potential for helping to bring the name into use: the popular o-ending! Plus, while still being definitely Italian, it's recognized and easy to spell and pronounce. So that is my first suggestion: Carlo Ryan Doorahzio. It might be too close to Carly, or it might be a nice way to combine names: the father's surname and an Italian first name---but one that reflects the mother's name.

Matteo has been rising in popularity, perhaps also because of that o-ending. It gives the nicknames Matt and also Teo (TAY-o). As pointed out in the comments section, this might be too close to the name Matthew---or it might be a nice namesake name without being a junior, especially if he goes mostly by Teo.

Or Nico would be nice. Nico Ryan Doorahzio.

I'm also drawn to the Gian- names. I think those sound handsome. I like Giancarlo even more than Carlo. Gianluca would give him the nicknames Luca and Luke.

I like nicknames like Kip and Chip and Skip, so Cipriano appeals to me. On Forvo it sounds like a cross between a "sip" sound and a "chip" sound, and I think I'd use Chip as a nickname for anyone who had trouble with the full name.

Gus is a nickname trying to join Max and Sam and Jack; the main thing holding it back is the difficulty of choosing a longer version. Because you're specifically looking for an Italian name (and it sounds like you'd like a nickname), I suggest Augusto, nickname Gus. [It's pointed out in the comments section that Gus is already the dog's name. I'll leave this suggestion here anyway, for future reference for parents looking for Italian names.]

Name update! Carly writes:
We were so undecided that it took us until the last possible moment before checking out of the hospital to pick a name, but we ended up with....

Xavier Ryan D'Orazio

Thanks for chosing my question to post and thank you to all of the commentors.  I now have a list for our next child with all kinds of notes on it!


Martha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
StephLove said...

My favorites are from the second string: Dante, Dominic, Elias, Lucas & Milo

I also liked Swistle's suggestion of Carlo or Giancarlo. I know a very cute little boy named Giacamo. Giovanni is a favorite, too.

p.s. Swistle, they have a dog named Gus, so I think that's out for them.

Christine said...

I actually really like the name Marcella for a girl, and like Marcelo too. If you like Marco, you could use that. And it's a name that works well in English.

Also Luca
Leonardo (Leo!)
Giuseppe (Gus, Joe)
Umber to
Antonio or Anthony

Anonymous said...

The nickname Gus might be out, but Augusto could still work with the nickname Auggie. And in Italian I think Augusto would sound more like Aw-goose-toe, which would lessen the association with the dog a bit. I also like Josef, Antonio and Franco for you. And Giancarlo is perfection!

AirLand said...

I like Matteo, but that seems to close to dad's name, Matthew. Also, Carlo is really close to mom's name of Carly.

I think I like Marcello better than Santino, although to be fair, I think that's just because Santino reminds me of a Project Runway contestant... But, Marc seems like a nice nickname, even if the "c" sound is different than with the whole name. Have you considered Marco?

I like Xavier, but I think it's Spanish.

I think I like Dominic the best. It is Latin in origin, which you could consider Italian, and I think it goes better with mom and dad's names, which aren't Italian. I like the nickname Dom too.

KWILY said...

I think Luca on its own is a fabulous name! Sounds very Italian but still translates as hip and cool.

Swistle said...

StephLove- Ha! Yes, I'll go fix that!

Lindsey said...

I came here to leave a comment and found that AirLand already said what I was thinking, so, ditto!

Anonymous said...

Love Giada, Violetta, Luna, Gemma and Aurora.

For boys - Corrado, Rocco, Enzo and Angelo

Patricia said...

These were the top boys baby names in Italy in 2010 ( namipedia):

1. Francesco
2. Alessandro
3. Andrea
4. Matteo
5. Lorenzo
6. Gabriele
7. Mattia
8. Riccardo
9. Davide
10. Luca
11. Marco
12. Simone
13. Leonardo
14. Giuseppe
15. Federico
16. Tommaso
17. Antonio
18. Giovanni
19. Christian
20. Alessio
21. Filippo
22. Cristian
23. Samuele
24. Daniele
25. Pietro
26. Emanuele
27. Michele
28. Edoardo
29. Nicolo'
30. Giacomo

Some of these are the same as classic English names with an 'e' on the end. You might consider one of them -- without the 'e' which often is close to a female version of the name: Samuel, Daniel, Gabriel, David, etc. I notice that your husband's immigrant Italian parents didn't choose an Italian name for their son, but a classic name that would be recognized as the English version of Matteo. Have you considered doing the same? I like Samuel Ryan Doorahzio and think "Sam" Doorahzio sounds well together. I would avoid giving your son an overly Italian name -- one not known in the U.S., and have concerns that a boy called Santino or "Santi" would get "Santa Claus" teasing. I think Italian girls names may find easier acceptance among your children's non-Italian contemporaries.

Several of the names on your "dismissed" list would work well for you son too, especiallyi:
Vincent (instead of Vincenzo)

gail said...

Like Swistle, I like the names Giancarlo and Gianluca, but I think they sound too foreign with parents named Carly and Matthew. I feel the same way about Santino and Marcello and, for that matter, even Xavier. Sorry about that. I think that Luca or Nico could work, or even Matteo (because of the Matthew connection), because each of these is a little more of a norm in the US in the way that Carly and Matthew are, yet are still Italian. I also think that something more middle of the road will sound better with Ryan. In general, I agree with the comments that Patricia made earlier on this thread, and would look for names that honor your heritage without overdoing it.

The Mrs. said...

I'll second two suggestions that have already been made:

Vincent Ryan (Vin 'Doorahzio')

Marcello Ryan (Marco 'Doorahzio')

I, too, think Marco would be an excellent stand-alone sort of name... even without a longer name of Marcello.

And to go REALLY out on a limb here, do you like the name Nicodemus? He could go by Nic or Nico. Nico 'Doorahzio' seems almost hypnotic. It's compelling!

All the best to you and your growing family. Can't wait to hear what you and your husband decide! Congrats ahead of time on your wonderful son!

Claire said...

I love Santino - you don't hear it very often. I am not as much a fan of Marcello, just not my taste. How opposed to your preference is your husband?

Carly said...

Thank you Swistle for posting our dilemma and thank you everyone that has commented so far!

I don't think Matt's super opposed to Santino, and Ive tried to have Marcello grow on me, but neither of us likes Marc for the nickname, so I'm really not sure where we go with that.

Theo was my top choice for awhile, but Matt HATES it.

Nico has been off and on the list we DO like it but it's one of Matt's friends dogs names, so it's just a little hard to commit to.

Lucas was suggested (and pushed for a little while) by Matt, but there's something I don't love about it. I do like Luca better, but for someone else's child. Like if I heard it from someone else, I think it's adorable but it's not fitting for me.

Boys names are so hard! Someone said that Italian girls names would have easier acceptance here and I definitely think that's true b/c it's easier to think outside the box for a girl then a boy name.

I'd love to hear more comments from people and hope to maybe add some names to our list.

Thank you all for the input!

Rayne of Terror said...

Our son is Quinino nn Quinn after a grandpa.

Morgan said...

What about calling the baby boy Sugar? That's really sweet :)

Crafty Beth said...

I have a friend whose son is named Santiago, which reminded me of your choice of Santino, so I thought I'd put it out there as another option!

Natalia said...

Hi Carly! I'm Argentinian (I speak Spanish) with a strong Italian surname, my grandparents from both sides are Italian. My brother is named Giovanni.

Xavier is the Portuguese form of the name, Javier is the Spanish form and Saveiro is the Italian. Maybe you like that name. Saveiro Ryan.

Guglielmo is William in Italian.

Cello is a very common nickname for Marcello, if that's of any use.

You can name your boy Nicola instead of Nico, and use Nick as a nn.

I like the name Federico, it's a family name, I have two cousins named Federico and my great-grandfather was also Federico. We use the nn Fede.

Vincenzo has the great nn Vinnie and Santino has Sonny (from The Godfather) which I love.

Donato is another good Italian name, you can call him Donnie.

I also like Salvatore (nn Sal) and Giuseppe (nn Peppe).

Hope I helped a bit! I love Italian names!

Mary said...

I think you should also look for names that you love - regardless of origin. I.e. Kieran Ryan "Door-ahz-io" sounds awesome and with the italian last name, there really is no question of his Italian heritage :)

Other ideas (apologies for repeats)-

Lorenzo -
Leandro - or just Leo? Leo Ryan is fab.

Some Irish names -

Lorcan (little fierce one)

Mermanatee said...

When I think Italian, I think about that glorious semester I spent abroad studying the works of fine Italian painters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rosso Fiorentino, Gianni Visentin, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, and Domenico Zampieri. So this might be a bit off-the-wall, but I think it’s a unique way to pay homage to all of these magnificent artists with one single name. What about Painter Doorahzio? I just love it!

Mary said...

Nicknames for Marcello could be Mickey or Marlo or Arlo or Marshall?

Lindsey I. said...

I'm in a similar spot, having married a Sicilian and now we have a little one on the way. We have a long, 5 syllable Italian surname and my husband's first name happens to be Marcello! I am also of Irish heritage :)

Marcello enjoys his name and has always received a really positive response. Upon introducing himself, people will sometimes say, "Nice to meet you, Mark", in which case he usually corrects them but sometimes lets it slide. He's never really used a nickname, has always gone by Marcello. A few friends and my parents have taken it upon themselves to call him Cello on occasion, which he doesn't mind. But that's definitely the most natural nickname, in my opinion.

Something else to consider is the effect a very Italian name can have. Marcello has always said that people expect things of him, purely based on his name. That he be fluent, cook a mean pasta dish and come straight from the motherland - pretty much the real deal :) He is some of those things, but not all. And though that's not a bad thing, it's something to consider as a name does say so much. We will most likely go with an American first name and Italian middle name after recent consideration.

Some ideas to consider (of which a few may have already been mentioned):

- Nicola
- Ciro
- Massimo
- Paolo
- Romero
- Silvio
- Dario
- Enzo (though a nickname for Vincenzo, I like it better stand alone)
- Oliviero

Good luck, Carly! Can't wait to hear what you guys decide on.

Angie said...

Has anyone suggested Enzo yet? If not, I'll throw that one out there.

I really, really love Roscoe as of late, but I'm not sure if Roscoe is really Italian. But it sounds Italian, and I like it with your Italian last name.

It sounds like there is a strong R sound in the middle of you last name which ties in with the R in Roscoe. Yes, I really like that.

Too bad your dog's name is Gus, because I like Swistle's suggestion of Augusto.

Good luck!

Chiara said...

Hi, I am from Italy and all I have to say is please don't name your kid Santino! I've never even heard that name before but it sounds like a 90 year old sicilian man's name to me! not cute at all. haha
Vincenzo also is a southern name, it's mostly used by southern parents to honor family members...
Dante is quite unusual.
Marcello is a nice name I think, it's not very common so I don't know what would be the most obvious nickname for it...
Nico looks like a nickname for Nicola or Nicolò to me, I can't see it as a stand alone name.

Here are some of my favorite male names, maybe you can find something that you like?
Matteo, Filippo, Andrea, Gioele, Jacopo, Mattia, Leonardo, Elia, Gabriele, Lapo, Federico, Marco, Luca, Simone, Tobia, Damiano, Edoardo, Fabio, Dario, Giovanni, Alessandro, Michelangelo, Pietro, Giona...

Out of your girl names, I like Viviana the best, it's not very common but it's pretty I think. Luciana sounds very dated and Valentina is overused in my generation so I find it super boring.

Carly said...

I swear I replied earlier today but it never posted, so I'll try again.

I wanted to thank everyone for their input and opinions. Especially the earlier commenter that suggested Marlo as a nickname for Marcello. I LOVE THAT! My husband liked it too, so that makes me completely ok if we end up choosing Marcello.

I still love Santino (and Xavier) more, but knowing that we have a workable nickname for Marcello makes me feel calm about it. Now the problem is that Matt wants to use Sonny as the nickname for Santino, but Sonny is my dads dogs name! There's always something, I guess...

Anyway, thank you all so much for taking the time to reply and I'll be sure to check in once baby D is here!

Mammal said...

How about Maximo, Paulo, Rafael, or Rocco?

Anonymous said...

I love the suggested Marlo nn for Marcello.

I can relate to your post a lot! I have a daughter Luciana and a very Italian last name. I'm pregnant again (don't know the gender) and feel very stuck on boy names! So far the top names on our boy list are Dominic and Roman.

JEN said...

I love Matteo. Although you may be constantly explaining to people it is Matteo not Matthew.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think you should name him Alessandro, and call him Sandro. Sandro feels like it has a touch of Italian but it is very easy to pronounce and spell.