Harlow, Shiloh, Beau and All the Hidden-O Names

Dec 13th 2018


Oh, those hidden o's. They're the special ingredient in hot names from Margot to Willow to Pharaoh. End a name in the sound "o," but not the letter o, and you have a recipe for high style.

The final o may be cloaked by a silent letter, as in Harlow and Shiloh, or an alternate spelling may lead to a similar sound, as in Beau. The effect of the spelling is subtle, but it shapes the name's impact. Think of how different Harlow and Arlo feel, despite being just a breath apart in pronunciation.

I first talked about hidden o's when they started rising in girls' names. Parents loved the unconventional sound for girls, and the fact that spelling set them apart from the many boys' names ending in o. That trend is still growing. Seven different hidden-o names now rank among America's top-1000 names for girls, vs. zero with the final letter o. But the style is catching on for boys, too. You'll find it lending an edge to new, adventurous choices like Arrow, and making throwbacks like Roscoe intriguing again.

Even with their rise, the hidden-o names still sound fresh and have plenty of potential ahead. So far, only Willow has broken through to become a major hit name for either sex. See the potential for yourself in these 37 options, from the familiar to the fanciful.

 

Nature Names

Meadow

Rainbow

Sparrow

Snow

Willow

Yarrow


Artistic and Literary Names

Ivanhoe

Marceau

Marlowe

Poe

Thoreau

Winslow

 

Place Names

Juneau

Margaux

Shiloh

 

Familiar and Throwback Names

Beau

Margot

Roscoe

Woodrow

 

Bold Meaning Names

Arrow

Bow

Hallow

Pharaoh

Shadow

 

Surnames

Barlow

Bowe

Briscoe

Crowe

Darrow

Deveraux

Harlow

Pascoe

Rowe

 

Traditional  Surprises

Isabeau

Thibault

 

 

Comments

1
December 13, 2018 7:29 PM

Do people really pronounce "roux" with an 'o' sound? I've only ever heard it (and said it) as a homophone of "rue". Or is the cooking term pronounced differently from the name?

2
December 14, 2018 4:56 AM

I also have only heard roux-in-cooking pronounced like (kanga)roo or rue.

3
December 14, 2018 10:23 AM

Is Willow missing from the nature names list?

 

4
December 14, 2018 11:11 AM

Thanks for the corrections, everyone! I've updated the list...I'm not sure how Roux slipped in there. Yes, Roux is pronounced with an "oo" sound. And yes, it has shown up as a baby name recently, perhaps as an elaboration on the Hunger Games name Rue, or perhaps inspired by a brand of hair products. Probably NOT inspired by the sauce base. :)

5
December 14, 2018 11:42 AM

So, once we're talking about French pronunciation, Dreux doesn't end with an O sound, either. Dreau would, but without that A it's, um... I can't figure out how to write this in English because the sound isn't really part of English vowels.

Here, I'll let Forvo tell you. It sounds like this.

 

Rainbow still feels like the quintessential hippy-living-on-a-commune name, but I must admit that I quite like Arrow.

6
December 14, 2018 11:49 AM

My guess is that Arrow is a nod to the CW's show by the same name. It's a hit maker! Laurel, Felicity, and especially Thea all rose dramatically after the show's debut in 2012. Oliver was already quite popular, so while the show may have given it a bump, it probably didn't have too much of an impact.

7
December 14, 2018 12:56 PM

I'd say the closest English gets to the French pronunciation of Dreux is Drew. No, it's not the same sound, but it's phonetically close.

8
December 14, 2018 2:12 PM

Drew is a decent parallel, I guess, but it still isn't ending with an O sound, and I can't think of an accent in which it would. It's Droo, not Dro. (And that's still not how it's actually said in French, while the other French names on the list have maintained their French pronunciations.)

9
December 15, 2018 11:53 AM

Oh dear, I seem to have failed utterly in sorting my "o" and "oo" columns. I pledge to proofread better in the future!

I think I got too caught up in the complicated case of Beaux. As an English word, the standard pronunciation has a final consonant sound ("boze"). In French, I believe the x is silent...unless the word that follows starts with a vowel. And the most familiar usage is in the phrase "beaux arts."

As an American baby name, I strongly suspect--but can't prove--that 99% of families treat the x as silent. So, should it be on this list?

 

 

 

 

10
December 15, 2018 1:30 PM

Laura, I agree with your guess that Beaux as an American baby name is almost always a "fancified" spelling of Bo, but I have no idea how to prove or disprove that.

11
February 28, 2019 1:32 PM

cool names you got there 

watchesperfect

12
February 28, 2019 1:55 PM

I heard Shiloh from a Telugu film. It is an interesting name. Pharaoh is so popular that it may draw unwanted attention.

14
March 15, 2019 2:52 PM

snow, arrow & Bowe latest update'd names. Thanks for share. 

17
April 26, 2019 3:21 AM

Rainbow and Snow are wonderful names. I think these kids will really like the pictures with Christmas https://seahawksfootballprostores.com/christmas/ Christmas clip arts

 

18
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