Baby name consultation: Italianish name that doesn’t end in a vowel and isn’t easily nicknamed for baby boy no. 2

Merry Christmas, everyone!! And happy feast of St. Stephen!!

I posted a consultation for Christi and her husband a year and a half ago for their son, and I’m excited to both give you all the update on his name and share my thoughts/ideas/suggestions for their new baby boy on the way! He joins his big sister and big brother:

Anastasia Therese

Domenick Vincent called Deo

I absolutely looooove these names!! Deo as a nickname for Domenick was my idea — I was so excited that Christi and her hubby loved it!

For this new baby boy, Christi writes,

I’m writing to you again for help as we are expecting another boy (due May 3) and I’m driving myself crazy obsessing over what we’ll name him! You were so helpful in naming our second, Domenick Vincent nn Deo, and I’m hoping that you can provide some thoughts/ feedback for baby #3. As a reminder, our daughter is Anastasia Therese.

As you might remember with Deo’s consultation, Gianni was/ still is at the top of our list. My husband is a little more sold on it than I am though (I can’t decide if it’s TOO Italian for us or not!). With a very overtly Italian last name, I feel like it’s hard to match both a non-Italian first name (for example, I really like Bennett or Brody, but they just don’t go with the naming style we’ve established) OR a suuuuper Italian first name (for example, Alessandro). None of our kids ‘look’ Italian (blonde/ light brown and blue eyes haha) so I feel like it just doesn’t fit.

We would love to use Joseph for the middle name (Joseph is a beloved family name and St. Joseph the worker’s feast is right around  my due date) though it’s not an official decision. I struggle with Gianni Joseph though, as it reminds me of G.I. Joe, haha! Am I overthinking that? That’s all I can hear now

Other names that we like/ are considering:

1) Romeo- I feel like this is Italian without being too Italian, but is it too bold? Any kid with that name has a lot of association coming in with his name. Also Joseph again doesn’t really flow with this for a middle (Ro Jo?! haha).

2) Sebastian

3) Malachi

4) Valentino- I really like this but I can’t decide if we can commit to calling him by his full name (we are trying to avoid nicknames this time around)

5) Angelo- I like this, husband not as much

6) Amelio/ Emilio- We were considering Amelia if it was a girl (Amelia is a family name), so we were throwing around the idea of making Amelia masculine (I’ve never seen it written Amelio though). I don’t like the traditional Emilio spelling as much

We’ve considered but won’t use:

Maxim/ Massimo, Adrian, Julian, Apollo, Gabriel 

I’m wondering if there are other names like Domenick/ Dominic that go well with an Italian last name but don’t end in a vowel? I think that might be the silver bullet we are looking for. Would love your thoughts on that!!

It was so fun for me to come up with name ideas for Christi’s new baby boy! It was definitely a challenge, which I LOVE!

Okay, first off, my thoughts on the names Christi and her hubby are already considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Gianni Joseph: Christi is too funny with her G.I. Joe reference!! I know they loved Gianni when they were expecting Deo as well. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have thought of G.I. Joe at all when seeing Gianni Joseph! Especially since I’m sure Joseph wouldn’t be part of his everyday name, and most people in his life won’t know his middle name, you know? That said, I totally understand having something in your head that’s “all you can hear now,” it’s a real thing! If they really want to know my thought, I would say naming their son John Giuseppe solves their problems! They’d have John, who they can call Johnny, thus retaining the sound of the name Christi and her hubby love; they’d have a super Italian name tucked in the middle so it’s not too much, and it honors the Saint they want to honor; and they’d avoid the G.I. Joe connotation. On paper, it seems like the perfect solution! However, I know that even if this all seems perfect on paper, Gianni and Johnny do feel like different names … that Italian spelling gives Gianni a certain something …
  • Romeo: I love that they’re considering Romeo! I have long loved Romeo for a Catholic baby, ever since I found out that Romeo and Roman both mean “from Rome,” and in medieval Italian also meant “pilgrim to Rome” — such beautiful meanings for a baby boy being raised in the faith! Of course, I do understand Christi’s worry about the associations with Romeo. Roman is a nice option, but although I know they were considering it last time, the fact that it’s not currently on their list makes me think they’ve decided they like Romeo more. Another option might be to use the original Latin form Romaeus. Romaeus introduces yet a third “feel” to the name, joining the feels of Romeo and Roman, which are different from each other while being such similar names. Christi mentioned the possible problem of Ro Jo for Romeo Joseph — I actually think Romeo Joseph sounds very handsome! And I would never think to land on Ro Jo! But thinking about nicknames for Romeo, and for Romaeus, I feel like it’s not at all crazy to consider Roman as a nickname for both Romeo and Romaeus, which could also help tone down the Shakespeare association with Romeo and the heaviness of Romaeus.
  • Sebastian: Christi had Sebastian on her list last time, so I know she loves it! It’s funny because on the surface of her email, it seems that she and her hubs are looking for an Italian name, but if I took the Italian part out of the equation, sibs Anastasia and Domenick would have me looking for similarly long, heavy-hitting, saintly names, and Sebastian would absolutely make that list. I wonder if they’ve considered the Italian variant Sebastiano? They could still use any of the Sebastian nicknames (Seb/Sebby, Bash), and they’d have the Italian feel they love. (Though, since they seem to want to have a little distance from “super Italian,” Sebastian might be the better way to go.)
  • Malachi: As with Gianni, Romeo, and Sebastian, Malachi was on their list last time. It’s a very cool name! Just so different from the other names they like — it doesn’t have that heavy Catholic feel of Anastasia/Domenick/Sebastian and it doesn’t have the heavy Italian of Gianni/Romeo, it’s sort of in its own category. If there were other names they liked that were similar in style to Malachi, I could see keeping it on the list or using it this time, but as it is, I guess I feel like this is a name they’ll always like but never use. I still like my alternative idea from last time that was inspired by Malachi: Melchiorre. It’s the Italian variant of Melchior, which is the name one of the Three Wise Men has traditionally been known by, and it was one of St. John Bosco’s middle names. I think they could still do the Chi nickname that they like, or Mac, which is a nickname I always like for Malachi and I think it could do fine for Melchiorre.
  • Valentino: Another name from their list last time — it’s nice to see the consistency! It *is* a big name to not have a nickname for, but an awesome full name if they can commit to using the full name every time. I wonder if they’ve considered using the anglicized Valentine?
  • Angelo: I love the angel names, from their actual names (Gabriel, etc.) to the literal angel names (Angelo, Seraphino, etc.). I also love Angel as a nickname for it — I don’t see that on boys too much where I live, but it’s not unheard of among Spanish-speaking families, and the main male protagonist in the classic novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles was Angel, which I always thought was cool.
  • Amelio/Emilio: I’ve never seen the spelling Amelio either, though behindthename.com does have a user-submitted entry for Amelio, saying it’s an Italian masculine form of Amelia. Since they don’t like Emilio as much, I guess I’m hoping that they’ll have enough ideas between their own and any I offer that they like that they can save Amelia for a girl!
  • Maxim/Massimo, Adrian, Julian, Apollo, Gabriel: It’s helpful for me to know Christi and her husband have considered these and crossed them off their list!

Before getting to new ideas, I also want to discuss briefly two things that Christi said: (1) that they’re hoping not to use a nickname this time around, and (2) that they’re wondering about names like Domenick that go well with an Italian last name but don’t end in a vowel.

Regarding the first one, I think their best bet for a non-nicknamed name would be something shorter — I think it will be very hard to avoid nicknames for names like Sebastian and Valentino! Of course, if they’re firm and consistent, they can have a fair amount of success with that when their boy is small; much less so as he grows up, unfortunately (at least in my experience!). So my advice would be to not hold on too hard to the hope of no nickname, and certainly don’t let it sway them from choosing the name they love the most. (Gianni avoids this problem entirely!) And in fact, I kind of disregarded the no-nickname thing altogether when I was compiling my list of ideas for this family! I think the right given name/nickname combo might be exactly what sways Christi and her hubby toward one name or another (like Domenick/Deo).

Regarding the second point, I laughed when I read that Christi would love to know what names are like Domenick in terms of going well with an Italian last name but don’t end in a vowel, because they love so many names that end in a vowel!! At the same time, I thought it was a pretty brilliant thought (as Christi put it, “the silver bullet”), and I definitely went on the hunt to gather name ideas that fit.

One last thought before moving ahead — I just wanted to point out that several ideas I had last time I still love for this family! In fact, whenever I’m doing a second (or more) consultation for a family, I always try to come up with ideas without any interference from the previous consultations — I start fresh, as if it’s the first time I’m considering the family and their taste, and only after I come up with a list do I look back to make sure I’m not repeating any or anything like that. Very often, I’ll discover that my “fresh” ideas have a huge amount of overlap with the previous consultation(s), which is both encouraging and frustrating, haha! Anyway, when I made my list for Christi this time, feeling that I’d really come up with some great ideas, I later discovered that they were basically all names I’d suggested before. Gah! So anyway, I wanted to list them here again to make sure Christi didn’t forget and to share with all of you in case they’re helpful for your own naming:

  • Pier, Piero
  • Dante
  • Orlando
  • Christian (doesn’t end in a vowel, although Christi had said she likes Cristiano, which is also awesome, and I continue to love that these names would honor Christi nicely — as well as Jesus Himself!)
  • Anthony with the possible nickname Ty (doesn’t end in a vowel! I mean, not really. Not the way Christi meant, with all the ends-in-o Italian names. Anthony and Domenick and Johnny and Joseph and Vincent are all part of those super-Italian-but-not-Italian names!)

Ok! On to my new ideas! Unfortunately, I’m finding my trusty Baby Name Wizard book to be increasingly out of date, and since the author doesn’t seem to be intending to publish a new edition any time soon, I’ve been trying to go with my gut more. For Christi, I also looked up Italian Saints as well as (and I know you’ll all get a kick out of this!) characters’ names in The Godfather, Sopranos, and Mickey Blue Eyes to get a good sense of which non-Italian names nevertheless have a stereotypical Italian feel especially when paired with a very Italian last name (like Johnny). And I definitely considered Anastasia’s and Domenick’s names outside of the Italian sphere for inspiration. I’m excited about my ideas for this family!

(1) Benedict or Benedetto

One of the things I found is that the anglicized versions of names that also have an Italian variant are very common in Italian families. Their Domenick is a perfect example, as the Italian variant is Domenico. From that perspective, the heavy-hitting Catholic names are perfect! Benedict is absolutely a name I’d consider to fit with the feeling of Anastasia and Domenick, and St. Benedict of Nursia (the Original St. Benedict) was actually an Italian Saint! Benito is a short form of the Italian variant, Benedetto, that could be a great nickname for Benedict to pull in the Italian more. And/or they can use the full Italian Benedetto! Benedetto is great in that it can take the totally non-Italian nickname Ben/Benny, or the Italian Benito, OR Bennett!! Christi said she “really likes” Bennett but doesn’t feel like it goes with their naming style — Benedetto nicknamed Bennett could help solve that problem! And it’s totally not a stretch either, because Bennett is actually the medieval short form of Benedict! So much perfection here (if they want it to be)!

(2) Augustine or Agostino

Domenick/Dominic and Benedict would always be joined by Augustine in my mind as heavy-hitting, monastery-type names (which is a vibe I LOVE). If they were to choose Augustine, I would 100% try to sell them on using Gus as the nickname — not only is it totally adorable, but it has that Old World feel that I associate with very ethnic European names. That said, we have friends who have really leaned into their Italian heritage — like this family, they have a very Italian last name — and both the dad and the son are Agostino. The son goes by the full Agostino, so it’s totally possible! The dad goes by Auggie, which can help “hide” the Italian-ness if they want to. And I think Gus can work for Agostino as well!

(3) Francis, Francesco

One of the names that’s often given to Italian-American male characters is Frankie. Such a great nickname! They could certainly do Francis — saintly, heavy hitting, the name of an Italian Saint, doesn’t end in a vowel — or they could do the full Francesco with the nickname Frankie. Love love love.

(4) Salvatore

Salvatore is definitely an Italian name, and it definitely ends in a vowel, and in Italy you would hear that vowel, but in America, it’s as if the vowel doesn’t exist, so it might be perfect for this family! My sons have a friend named Salvatore whose parents call him the full Salvatore all the time, but my boys call him Sal. It’s a fanTAStic name! Very Old World, very faithy (I mean, “savior” — come on! Such a great Jesus name!), rare but easy and friendly. I love it.

(5) Capistran or Capistrano

I went to a Franciscan college and one of the dear friars that I loved was Fr. Capistran. What a cool name! It was for St. John of Capistrano, a Franciscan Italian Saint; my friar friend went by Fr. Cap — I LOVE Cap as a nickname!! They could do Capistran, like him, which would given them that doesn’t-end-in-a-vowel name that still has great Italian roots, or they could do the full Capistrano, which would also allow them to use Cap as a nickname.

(6) Cupertino

I was a little bit on a last-name kick (in which I include place names, like St. John of Cupertino, since the “of Cupertino” part basically acts as a surname), inspired by how Christi said she likes Bennett and Brody (they both have traditional usage as surnames) but they don’t fit her style — I was determined to find a couple of options that would! St. Joseph of Cupertino is the Saint that inspires this name, and I’ve seen him used as baby name inspiration before — I know of one couple who named their son Cupertino as a given name and calls him Cooper as a nickname, and another couple who named their son Cooper with St. Joseph of Cupertino as patron. I think Cupertino would be cool for this family, and Coop or Cooper would be such sweet nicknames!

(7) Bosco

I couldn’t not include one of my very favorite saintly Italian surname names, which has lots of good usage outside of Italian families, which starts with a B like Bennett and Brody, which might make it perfect (even though it ends in a vowel), and it’s short enough that it likely wouldn’t get nicknamed! I love Bosco, I think it’s such a fun and spunky name, and obvious to anyone who has a working knowledge of the Saints who it refers to. There are a few Sancta Nomina families who have sons named Bosco: here, here, here.

Those are my seven “official” suggestions, but I came across a few more in my research that I wanted to be sure to list, just in case:

  • Corrado is the Italian variant of Conrad, and St. Conrad of Piacenza is an Italian Saint. But Corrado! What a cool, cool name!
  • Cajetan is the English version of the Italian name Gaetano. I’ve always loved the name Cajetan, and St. Cajetan himself. Caj is a cool nickname!
  • Gennaro is the Italian for St. Januarius, and my sisters went to school with a boy named Gennaro — I grew up loooving his name and determined to name a son Gennaro, even though I have no Italian blood at all!
  • You probably know that Santino nicknamed Sonny is a Godfather character, so maybe a little too on the nose, but Santino means “little Saint” and Sonny is such a fantastic nickname, I just had to suggest it! One of my boys went to nursery school with a little Santino who went by Sonny and I absolutely loved it.

And those are all my ideas for Christi’s baby boy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the baby brother of Anastasia and Domenick-called-Deo?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

5 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Italianish name that doesn’t end in a vowel and isn’t easily nicknamed for baby boy no. 2

  1. My favorites of these suggestions are Salvatore and the Benedict variations.

    Salvatore seemes to me a great idea because it it also goes with Dominick and Anastasia as an etymological theme. Dominick comes from Latin dominus meaning Lord. Anastasia means resurrection. Salvatore, savior.

    Along those lines, I’d like to add to the ideas Pasquale (meaning refers to Easter) or Victor (Christ being the Victor over death).

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  2. Merry Christmas!
    If I wanted a first name to pair up with an Italian last name, but not “too” Italian sounding, I would pick an Ancient Roman name like:
    Marcus
    August
    Felix
    Victor

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  3. The archangel names (Michael, Gabriel and Raphael) all have an Italian quality to my ear, but they aren’t super Italian and Michael especially is widely used. I know she said not Gabriel, but I think Michael or Raphael would work really well with Anastasia and Deo. I also know one family who used the spelling Rafael. I prefer the ph spelling, but it’s nice to have choices.

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  4. How about Vincent? The no ending vowel part is hard because I like Matteo, Luca, Lorenzo, Rocco, or Marco with your sibling names

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  5. I’m Italian from the north of Italy and I just wanted to say that first of all, a lot of these names are more Italian American than Italian which is totally fine! But Domenico for example is quite rare on children these days. And another thing, lots of Italian children are blonde with light eyes! Especially in the north where we’re close to Austria and so on. Most Alessandro I know are very fait actually 🙂
    Anyway, my suggestion would be to stick with Italian American names with wider European vibes.
    An old relative of mine changed his name from Salvatore to Salvador when he moved to the US!
    Other names like Vincent, Anthony, Christofor or Kristofor (this spelling reminds me of Domenick) would work too. Have a look on this website to see what people are naming their children in Italy (spoiler: Liam and Noah are very popular), maybe it will give you some fresh ideas! https://www.istat.it/it/dati-analisi-e-prodotti/contenuti-interattivi/contanomi

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