Hi Duana,

I'm hoping you can help a friend of mine who is having to think of a boys name after her husband vetoed her only choice! I have one son, and with no plans for more, I'm not going to get the chance to name another baby - so I'm having fun helping her finding a great name both she and her husband can love.

My friend really, really loves the name Matteo, which i completely agree with. However, her husband just cannot get behind it. He's adamant. So she's having a difficult time thinking of a name she can love as much as this one. They already have one son, Diego, and are hoping to find something that fits with that name as well as being a Central/South American or Portuguese name.

I told her that she could always wait until she was about to have the baby and use the fact that she's doing all the work to get her way, but she's a better person than I am and can't see naming the baby something she knows her husband really doesn't like.

Any suggestions?


You’re a good friend. One of the great things about being a name nerd is that you can keep going long after your kids are in need of names – after your friends’ kids are too. As long as people keep having babies, you can keep having opinions and offering them whenever the door seems even a little bit open. What, just me?

So your friend does indeed have a dilemma, because Matteo is a great name – one of my favourites – and yet I can’t endorse it in this situation. 

Matteo and Diego (another good one) are just so close. Not only do they both end in O and have the same number of syllables, they both have the emphasis on the middle syllable. They sound a little sing-song-y. Not that this would be a dealbreaker if they were already named, but since we’re asking…

So what to do instead? My gut says your friend is attracted to the very-hot-right-now O-ending, so that’s where I started. If not Matteo, how about Bruno? No, I’m not joking. It’s light, but has heft, it’s unusual but easy, and it reminds me forever of Bruno & Boots at Macdonald Hall. Or if not, how about Hugo? Or Nico? One Matteo I know has a brother called Alessio - would that fit the bill?

There’s no denying Diego is a stylish name, so to go a bit further afield, how about the eternally snappy Rafael? You kind of can’t go wrong. How about Felipe? Luca? If the geographic confines are more of a suggestion, I’d even suggest Levi. Diego and Levi aren’t matchy, but they share a spirit of adventure. Emilio? I know Fortunato is one of the most ridiculous names when you say it like that, but how cute a nickname is Nato?

If she decides she doesn’t want to end with a vowel, there are other options. How about my beloved Oscar? Sebastien? Miguel? I once went on a date with a Miguel, plus another couple called Estée and Mark, and I always loved the name mix there, even though the name didn’t come to much.

Finally, here’s a contradiction: Even though I think Matteo is too similar to Diego, somehow I can’t fight the urge to suggest Viggo, even though it also ends in “go” and doesn’t fit her qualifications. Somehow the sounds – or the intent – make it different enough, right? Maybe?

Definitely let me know!