Hi Duana,
So I really need your help with this; I am currently six months pregnant-we're having a boy!- and my father, who I am very, very close with has been in and out of the hospital all year. And while he's stable now, the whole experience made me realize that I really want to honour my dad by naming my son after him. The only thing is that, his name is Ugo. Aside from the fact that I have never heard another person named Ugo, I try to picture my my little baby boy, or even my teenage son, and calling him Ugo and I just....I can't you know? So my husband thought of the name Hugo instead, and I actually quit like it. But are Ugo and Hugo the same? Do you think people will get the connection, or at least the general idea, if I name my son Hugo instead? Or should I just stick to the original plan and go with Ugo?
Please help!

Thank you,


My answer is simple. Do this. Name him Ugo.

There are so many reasons why it’s a great idea. You are already leaning this way, your Dad would really appreciate it, and hey – you’re already in a situation where the name is kind of one of those that’s in the zeitgeist already so it’s not an unheard of sound.

The issue that presents itself to me is not that it’s such an unusual name, Ugo (well, it is, but go with me), but that it will be mispronounced as Hugo all the time. So that might be a reason to go ahead and add the H – or, if it’s not going to bother you, go with the Ugo.

You seem to be deciding between these two, but I suppose you could always do like the parents of Charleses and Roberts – attach a name that’s related but doesn’t sound identical, like Chaz or Bobby? To that end, maybe he’s called Hugh, but you and he know that his real name is Ugo? Like my friend Gabe whose real name is Gabriele – three syllables longer than his "anglicized" version?

But really, I think you’ll find that the more you talk about your son Ugo, the more he’ll sound like your son Ugo. He’ll be lucky to have a name that has both meaning, individuality, and the unpinnable quality of fitting in yet standing out.