Baby Girl, Sister to Oliver: Luca? Lucca?

A. writes:

I wrote to you in 2010 asking for your help naming my son (Baby Boy: Oliver, Hazen, Luca?) and I seem to be finding myself in need of your advice again! We are now expecting baby # 2 (a girl) at the beginning of October. We have just one name for a first name in mind (it was also on our list for our son) but I’m worried that we are going to cause our daughter issues in the future. My husband is dead set on it and I’m about 95% there – the name is Luca, although we’ve been discussing spelling it with two c’s, Lucca, as a nod to the town in Italy my husband’s family is from. We had considered this name for our son but at the time couldn’t commit because I thought people might perceive it as too feminine. NOW I’m worried about giving a stereotypically male name to my daughter (what is my problem!?) and causing her issues if she ever travels to or lives in Europe, specifically Italy, where it’s strictly a male name (I could be reaching here with my anxiety but a lot of my family lives in Germany). We had also considered Lucia pronounced Loo-sha but we are kind of over it now.

Additionally, we are having a hard time deciding on the spelling. We’ve been leaning towards Lucca but the more I look at it the more I’m afraid people will pronounce it “Luck-ah”. On the other hand, Luca just looks so much more masculine to me. I think the double c really softens the look of it.

Last but not least we need middle name help. Some names we are considering:

Marie – this is my middle name as well as my mom’s and both grandmothers. I think it flows nicely with Lucca but my husband doesn’t like it. He thinks it’s just a place filler when you can’t come up with anything better and it’s overused.

Vienne – I just heard this name for the first time and thought it was beautiful. However, two place names might be a bit much.

Vivienne- similar to Vienne but well known and I think it’s pretty. Has a nice tie in to my first name which also ends in ienne.

Juliette

Mattea – I’ve loved this name since I was pregnant with my son and still do. But is it too much? I fear with our really Italian last name it might be too sing songy and ethnic sounding.

To sum up my long email:
– are we doing our daughter a disservice by giving her a boy’s name? I know a lot of girls are getting boy names these days but some people I’ve run the name by have been adamant that it would be like naming a girl Tim.
– should it be spelled with one or two c’s? How would you pronounce Lucca?
– thoughts on a middle name or new suggestions? I feel like we need something really feminine to balance the male first name.

There are no other names that have that spark for us but I need to know this wouldn’t be a mistake. Thanks for your help again!

 

I would strongly advise against spelling the name Lucca: it absolutely looks like it would be pronounced LUCK-uh (as in buccaneer and yucca), or maybe LOO-chuh (as in Gucci, Puccini, cappuccino). Would Luka feel more feminine to you?

Luca is indeed a male Italian name (and with an Italian surname it would read even more clearly male)—and yet one of my usual hesitations about the name is that in U.S. English it looks and sounds more feminine. The recently popularity of the name Lucy for girls increases this effect, as does the common practice of making a male name into a female name by adding an -a (Paul/Paula, Carl/Carla, Eric/Erica, Michael/Michaela, Philip/Philippa).

And yet, I find it gives me an unpleasant feeling to imagine using it for a girl. I think it’s because it seems like a mistake rather than like a deliberate boy-name-for-a-girl. That is, if you named your daughter Noah, I would know that you knew Noah was a name used mostly for boys, and that you were using it because of or in spite of this. But if you named your daughter Luca, I would think, “Oh, dear—are they doing this on purpose, or did they hear the name somewhere and not realize it’s a male name in Italy?” Being used for boys in Italy doesn’t mean it can’t be used for girls in the U.S., of course, and many names cross gender lines when they cross international borders—but it’s the sort of thing I’d want to take into account ahead of time. And in this case, Luca is used more for boys in the United States, too: in 2012 there were 1600 new baby boys named Luca, 222 new baby boys named Lucca, and 370 new baby boys named Luka.

But you wouldn’t be at all alone in using the name for a girl: 64 baby girls were given the name in the U.S. in 2012, and another 40 were named Lucca, and another 20 were named Luka. None were named Tim (though 5 were named Timothy)—so it’s definitely not equivalent.

Still, I wouldn’t, especially with an Italian surname. Perhaps it would make a good middle name?

You mentioned that you’ve considered Lucia; here are a few other options:

Bianca
Calista
Louisa
Lucy
Luna
Lyric
Tallulah
Veronica

Luna seems like a particularly good option: very similar in sound to Luca, and similarly exotic, but used only for girls in the United States.

My own favorite would be Bianca: beautiful, Italian, underused. Oliver and Bianca is such a pleasing combination, it makes me feel like getting PUSHY.

If you do use Luca, I like your idea of going with a strictly-used-for-girls middle name. I like Luca Marie for the family tie-in, but it sounds like your husband isn’t going to bend on that. From the rest of the list, my favorite is Luca Vivienne—but because your son has a middle name of significance, I think I’d rather look for a significant middle name for your daughter, too. Are there any women in your family you’d like to honor?

I like Mattea even better as a first name option. It’s about as uncommon in the U.S. as Luca (47 new baby girls named Mattea in 2012, and another 38 named Mataya, and another 21 named Matea)—but traditionally used for girls, and without thousands of boys sharing the name.

And there are so many other very pretty Italian names for girls. If I were you, I’m not sure I could resist them: Gianna! Claudia! Francesca! Elena! Marilena! (Bianca!)

I also love Juliette as a first name. Oliver and Juliette is great.

 

 

Name update! A. writes:

I wanted to close the loop on what we ended up naming our daughter. It seems my idea of using Lucca for a girl really stirred things up!  I appreciated all the feedback (good and bad) -it gave my husband and me lots to think about. Our beautiful daughter was born October 13th and can you believe she went unnamed for 8 days!  When all was said and done, our list at the hospital came down to Lucca for my husband and Mattea or Juliette for me. My husband didn’t want to use Mattea but by day 7 was willing to compromise (I didn’t feel right about doing that though knowing he would need time to come around to it). Juliette was vetoed because we stupidly forgot to consider that our daughter has a two year old cousin named Julian. AND…what everyone is waiting to know…in the end I just could not do it. I felt so unsettled about the idea of naming her Lucca.  It didn’t help that my husband’s family had a surprisingly extremely negative reaction to even the idea of naming her Lucca when we told them what we were considering. With the pressure to make a decision weighing heavily on us we even resorted to naming her Lucia for a day as a compromise. We told some people it was her name and then changed our minds the very next day.

I think I struggled to make a decision because when I saw her precious dainty face after being born I knew my baby needed something truly feminine and beautiful to fit her. Our list was not cutting it and Lucca was definitively out. There was one name that my husband kept mentioning throughout my pregnancy but it was always on the back burner for me. I wasn’t sure it was my style, perhaps almost too girly, and I worried it was too popular despite only ever meeting one person with the name. However with our nameless baby eating away at us we finally began to take a look at some other names and this one popped back up. In the end this name suddenly just clicked and I can’t believe it took me 8 days to know this was “the one”. It’s gorgeous and feminine just like her.  I get a thrill hearing her name and seeing it written!

Our daughter is Leila Vienne! (Pronounced lay-lah in case there’s any confusion.). Funnily enough the name is so fitting as one of its meanings is dark haired beauty. I’d say our Leila is just that. Thanks for everyone’s help!

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101 thoughts on “Baby Girl, Sister to Oliver: Luca? Lucca?

  1. Heidi J

    Yeah, Luca also gives me the same “did they not know that’s usually a boy’s name?” reaction, so I’d be really hesitant to use it.

    Reply
    1. jessica

      We just a baby girl and named her Luca. I’m from a strict Italian family and my grandmother is so mad at me hahaha… It is such a beautiful name and its meaning resonates with us deeply(bringer of light) as we tried desperately for 8 years to have a child. It is becoming increasingly popular. Names that have tipped the scales of gender really influenced our decision. 1. Men still make more money than women and I couldn’t bear to give her a name that wasn’t strong 2. Think of some very masculine names and attach them to a beautiful child and its close to magical. I.e. Drew, Charlie, Jo, Lynn, Jude… I could go on and on. Do your kid a favor and give them a name that is irrevocably demands respect.

      Reply
  2. Jenny

    First, I knew a male Lucca, so I would pronounce it ‘Luke-a’. Not ‘Luck-a’.

    But I do think of it as almost exclusively male. If I met a female Lucca, I might think it was pronounced kind of like Lucia.

    But I don’t it is crazy to name a girl Lucca :)

    Reply
  3. Patricia

    I agree with Swistle: I would not name a girl Luca, and even less so with an Italian surname. (And for me, spelling it creatively as Lucca or Luka doesn’t make the name any more appealing.)

    Your son has a clearly male name, spelled the traditional way. I would encourage you to do the same with your daughter’s name — female name, spelled the traditional way.

    What about one of your middle name possibilities as her first name? Vivienne might hold specially appeal because it ends like your name and also repeats the V in Oliver:

    Oliver and Vivienne; Oliver and “Vienne”

    Vivienne Luca (or Lucca for the ancestral town — but is it pronounced the same as Luca in Italian?) would be very pretty.

    I hope you’ll let us know what you name her.

    Reply
  4. Heather

    I would keep Luca/Lucca in the middle. I know two little boys born in the last year and a half named Luca, and one named Lucas, so I think it’s a combination of sounds on the rise. The fact that you’re worried about it being a boy name says that you should probably keep looking for now. If it turns out you don’t love anything as much as Luca then jump in with both feet. If other people ask you about it, say “Yeah, we knew going in but we didn’t like anything as much. We think it suits her!” Totally own it. I know a six year old Aidyn (I’m in the South, creatyvyteigh reigns supreme) and her mom nips things in the bud in introductions. “This is Aidyn! We know it sounds like a popular boys name, but it’s her name and we love it.”
    I think you’ve got a great list of middles, any of them stand out as a potential first name? I like the idea of using Lucca in the middle, a nod to the town. Vivienne Lucca is really nice. Good luck! And if you are head over heels for Luca as a first then GO for it, just go in expecting potential male-classmates and inquisitive parents and love it anyway.

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  5. Trudee

    If I do the “would I want this name” test, then I have to say I prefer the suggestion of Luna. But it sounds like you’re both set on it. Perhaps you could find a name that you could use Luca as a nickname for? Like Lousia Catherine maybe?

    Reply
  6. Kristin H

    A girl down the street is named Luca and I didn’t realize it’s mainly a boy’s name, so I think you could use it. But I’m probably in the minority in not knowing it’s a boy’s name, so if you use it you should probably be prepared to head off questions as someone mentioned above. I would not use Luka — too much like Luke, to me. Also, I said “Luck-a” in my mind when I read Lucca.

    Reply
  7. sarah

    I would not use Luca for a girl’s first name, but maybe for a middle. How about Lucia?
    I like the suggestion of Mattea too.
    Good luck!

    Reply
  8. Lauren

    I have to agree, I would not use Luca or Lucca for a girl. It reads very masculine to me, perhaps because I have spent so much time in Italy and around Italians—though I do think there are enough people with Italian roots in the US who would find that choice for a girl confusing.

    I can’t tell if you want something Italian or if it happens to be a coincidence that the top two first name choices (Luca and Lucia) are, but here are some of my favorite Italian girl names.
    Alessandra/Alessandria
    Allegra
    Bianca (I love Swistle’s suggestion)
    Emilia
    Ilaria
    Liana
    Luciana (as an alternative to Luca and Lucia?)
    Maddalena
    Paola
    Rosa
    Silvia
    Stella
    Viola

    If you want to look at other Italian cities, there’s:
    Florence
    Ravenna
    Roma
    Verona (nn Vera?)

    And finally, names that I just like with Oliver:
    Amelia (could go with the Emilia spelling)
    Daphne
    Emma
    Flora (I don’t know why, but I LOVE this one with Oliver)
    Helena
    Matilda
    Mia
    Ruby

    Reply
  9. Rachel

    Once again, I’m in 100% agreement with Swistle. I would think it was a mistake (especially with an Italian last name). I also LOVE Bianca. If I were even a little bit Italian, it would have been on my list. There’s a little girl in my son’s preschool class named Bianca, and I think it’s adorable (and will grow into a beautiful woman’s name). I also love Vivienne (Ol and Viv, Ollie and Vivi). Let us know what you decide!

    Reply
    1. vanessa

      the child i nanny for is Lyra, and i can say that in person, it is a stunningly adorable name for a baby girl and a toddler. Lyra! OMG.

      Reply
  10. Katie

    The first time (maybe the only time) I ever heard of the name Luca was for a girl (I think Jennie Garth’s daughter?). And I’ve loved it since. I am not Italian. To me it sounds so feminine. I would not use it for my boy.

    Reply
  11. The Mrs.

    There was a mom at the local playground recently that kept yelling, “Logan, get down from that! Logan, you’re going to get hurt! Watch out, Logan, another kid wants to use the slide!”
    After a while, a few of us other parents began to raise our eyebrows at this kid, but we couldn’t figure out which one he was at the top of the play structure. Finally, one little cherubic pony-tailed little girl was left at the top, and the mom was still yelling, “Logan, it’s time to go home. Come down NOW!” There was an audible collective breath as we all realized at once that Logan was a GIRL. Believe me, with that sweet face, she was the ultimate advertisement for making Logan a girl’s name… but judging by the looks of distaste on the faces of other kids and parents, no one thought the name was suitable.
    Would you want this to happen to your daughter? Sadly, it probably would many times if she bore a masculine name.
    You’ve got good taste! It’s hard when you really love the sound of a moniker to see beyond it, but how would you feel walking around with the name ‘Adam’ because your parents liked it better than ‘Anna’? And maybe you’re okay with it, but from your e-mail, it doesn’t sound that way. Oliver is an excellent name!
    If you want something fantastically Italian, how about:

    Antonia
    Abriana
    Amore
    Artemisia
    Beatrice (this one might be as multi-cultural as Oliver!)
    Capri
    Cipriana
    Elena
    Francesca
    Gemma
    Ilaria
    Nerissa
    Silviana
    Venetia

    Best wishes to you and your growing family! Please let us know what you and your husband decide!

    Reply
  12. Lashley

    I like the idea of having a name that is obviously feminine for which Luca could work as a nickname. Luciana or (like others suggested) a variation of Louisa Cate, Louisa Catherine, etc. You might find that Luca works and suits your daughter, or you might not. It seems nice to have options both for yourself and for your daughter as she gets older.

    It’s hard to suggest other possibilities without knowing how/why you landed on Luca to begin with. It seems like that’s worth analyzing and would help you come to a decision. Is it the nod to the Italian heritage? The letter sounds? It just feels like your baby’s name.

    Happy naming!

    Reply
  13. Vesna

    I would pronounce Lucca the Italian way – loo-ka – , but I’m from Europe, so I don’t know what the name sounds like / evokes for Americans.

    I think it’s totally fine to name your girl Luka. I am reminded of Suzanne Vega’s song “Luka” from the late 80s or early 90s.

    If you are worried about it not being feminine enough, I liked someone’s suggestion of Luciana, too.

    Luka is also used as a boy’s name in the neighboring Balkan countries. And, since you mentioned you have family in Germany, Luca is pretty popular among current boys names in Germany too.

    If you decide the gender / pronunciation confusion around Luca / Lucca is too risky for you, I’d go with Lucca as a middle name. That way you’ll get the name and nod you want, but without feeling like you’re doing your daughter a disservice. (I think it’s risky, but fine – I remember a few years ago people thought of Luca as too feminine for a boy, so I don’t really go by that if I LOVE a name.)

    Reply
  14. StephLove

    Of the variations you’ve considered I like Lucia best, then Lucca (because it’s the actual spelling of the town) and Luca last. It reads male to me. I also like a lot of your potential middles as firsts, esp. Mattea. Re-reading your first post, I think Hazen could work for a girl, or Hazel would be nice, too. Oliver and Hazel is really nice, actually.

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  15. Kelly

    Use Lucca.,I think it’s clear how to say it. My friends just used it on their daughter and, I think it’s darling.

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  16. Kerry

    I don’t think I would be particularly annoyed by having to explain that Lucca was Luke-a not Luck-a. It’s not like it’s hard to pronounce or remember once it’s explained, and lots of people have to explain something about their name. The extra C does soften it, and tips the balance from seeming masculine because it’s a familiar boy’s name to seeming feminine because it’s an unfamiliar name that ends in A.

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  17. Ira Sass

    What about Lucia, but pronounced the Italian way: Loo-CHEE-uh? That’s my sister’s middle name and I think it’s really pretty.

    I also love Gianna and Francesca.

    Reply
  18. Calla

    I’m a stickler for phonetics, so if I didn’t know better I’d be inclined to say Lucca “LUCK-a” and to criticize people who pronounced it “LOO-ka” (“Doesn’t s/he understand that a vowel is short when it’s followed by two consonants?!?!”). However, if I knew it was the name of an Italian town, I’d be totally on board with the “LOO-ka” pronunciation. So to me, the question is: how invested are you in people understanding the legitimate origins of the name, and how much time are you OK with spending explaining (and it can be done quickly) that Lucca is a town in Italy (sometimes adding that it’s where your husband’s family is from)? Or, maybe the question is: how OK are you with potentially a lot of people thinking (at least at first) that you don’t understand the rules of phonetics? If none of this especially bothers you or your husband, I vote that you name her Lucca; if any part of it would drive you crazy, I like the idea of saving Lucca for the middle name spot. The Vivienne Lucca suggestion is absolutely gorgeous and sounds great with Oliver. I wouldn’t use Luca on a girl in North America – Luca reads all boy to me.

    Reply
  19. Alix

    DO IT!
    Luca is a great name no matter what’s between your legs. You’re definitely not doing her a disservice and, quite frankly, I’m a little over the sexism displayed on this site by Swistle and commentators. Not necessarily just on this post. This has been fairly tame.

    I have had Luca on my list for a boy for YEARS. Does that mean I’d be heartbroken and angry if more girls were named Luca? Absolutely not. Being a girl isn’t demeaning. It’s not below being a male. Sharing a name with another gender does not make your child confused, wimpy, feminine, masculine, etc.

    As for the middle name, I love that Marie would keep it in the family. However, I do agree with your husband about it being a bit boring and placeholder name. Tradition may trump that, though. It all depends on how YOU feel about it. I LOVE Luca Vivienne. I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. As the auntie of a Mateo, Mattea really strikes me as a lovely name. I have an Italian surname, as well. Each of my brothers’ names ends in -o (Vincenzo, Alberto, Antonio, Lorenzo, etc. I’m sure you get it) plus that Italian surname. It’s not too much.

    I’d spell it Luca.

    Reply
    1. Swistle Post author

      I object to your accusations of sexism, and I take those accusations very seriously. No one has said anything about girls being “below” boys, or about it being demeaning to be a girl, or about a name leading to wimpiness.

      Reply
      1. Emily

        I did not find this post sexist at all, and I think you’re way over-reading what posters and swistle are saying. For me, personally, I would NOT use Luca for a girl. I am the mother of a little boy and am very weary of traditionally male names making the switch to the female side, never to be seen as a male name again. Ugh. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. It’s just society in general , whether we like it or not–and I don’t like it!–that is more accepting/tolerant of girls named Luca than boys named Lucy. The thing is, there are soooooo many gorgeous girls’ names, or spunky girls’ name, or ALREADY androgynous names that it feels like it’s stealing it! Just my opinion, I know many people feel very differently and that’s fine. But I thought swistle gave good, non-sexist advice. This coming from a female who thinks of herself as progressive in many ways…names perhaps not being one of them. :)

        Reply
    2. vanessa

      Um. Not wanting to use boys’ names for baby girls is not even remotely the same thing as being sexist. Not even a little, tiny bit. Swistle has never implied that having a girls name is somehow wimpy, and in fact her blog, while not a political one, has strong feminist overtones. Having traditional naming styles, or favoring gender typical names, has NOTHING to do with sexism. you might name a baby girl Priscilla, and that baby girl might grow up to be trans* or genderqueer and want to go by another name, and that would be just fine with Swistle.

      Reply
  20. TheFirstA

    Luca is all boy, it doesn’t read feminine at all to me. I could possibly get on board if you hyphenated it though. I’m thinking along the lines of names like Maria-Jose. Luca-Marie would be a great way to get the Marie in there without it feeling like a filler middle. It would read fine/a little exotic in the U.S, especially with your last name (though perhaps not in Italy). It also eliminates the “don’t they know Luca is a boy’s name” problem for me. FWIW, Marie is a “filler” middle for a lot of people, they just use it because it sounds good in the middle spot. However, with your family history, you have a sentimental reason for using it so I wouldn’t consider it “filler” in your case.

    Another option would be to give her a longer feminine name, with Luca as the nickname. Luciana, Lucretia, Lucille or Lucinda could all work. It’d give her a more feminine option if she ever wants it/wants to avoid gender confusion/ever lives overseas.

    Reply
    1. caro

      I love the idea of hyphenating the name with a feminine middle name. Jennie Garth’s daughter does this, and I think Luca Bella sounds very feminine.

      My suggestions are:
      Luca Charlotte
      Luca Rosa
      Luca Maria

      Reply
    2. Sarah

      I really like these suggestions, but would avoid Lucretia. For me the Lucretia Borgia association is just too strong. Some first names are not going to recover from their association with evil people for centuries (think Adolph).

      Reply
  21. Valentina

    I love (love, love, love!) the name Luca for a girl. I know it is the majority opinion, but there is something about a unique and strong name that will always have my vote. As someone who works regularly with children, my philosophy is give her the name you believe fits best and it will be hers. Completely. There is always someone who questions a name (too boring, too weird, too masculine, too frilly). Pick what fits for your family.

    If you don’t go with Luca, I vote for Mattea.

    Luca Vivienne or Mattea Juliette

    Reply
  22. Kim C

    I personally would not use Luca on a girl, as it sounds very masculine to me, but I can totally understand why you like it and I think it would make a great middle name.

    I really like the suggestion of Luciana nn Luca. You said you like the “ienne” ending, so what about Lucienne?

    Bianca and Antonia nn Nia are great suggestions. Emilia nn Milly or Lia is adorable and sounds great with Oliver too. In fact, Lia is a great name. Oliver and Lia!

    Mariana could be used as a middle name to honor the name Marie in your family.

    Emilia Luca or Lia Mariana perhaps?

    All the best!

    Reply
  23. Verona

    My naming style seems quite similar to yours. I considered most of the same names you mention here including Luca/Lucia, Matteo/Mattea, Vivienne or Vienne. Lucco is a family surname that I wanted to honor, but since I had a girl I went with Lucia. My daughter is Bianca Lucia and I am so happy with her name. I also completely love the name Luca and wanted desperately to use it. I considered it for my daughter but couldn’t do it as chances are high she will spend significant time in Italy/Europe. Love all the suggestions of names that lead to Luca as a nickname.

    Reply
  24. Patricia

    While the boys’ name Luca is still not all that well known in the US, it is very popular in several European countries besides Italy. From babynamewizard.com’s namipedia:
    Global Popularity of the Name Luca
    #1 in Switzerland (German)
    #1 in Switzerland (Italian)
    #3 in Germany
    #4 in Switzerland (French)
    #6 in Italy
    #24 in Austria
    #27 in Belgium
    #49 in Australia (Victoria)
    #72 in England
    #73 in Canada (Quebec)
    #82 in Australia (New South Wales)
    #95 in Scotland
    #122 in Canada (British Columbia)
    #257 in Norway
    #304 in United States
    #307 in Canada (Alberta)

    These stats seem to be for 2008: Luca (male) now ranks 223 in the U.S.; Lucas has risen to #27. With Lucas so popular, can Luca be far behind? I agree that the ‘a’ ending makes Luca sound feminine at first meeting, but Luca is an established and popular male name in many countries. In 2012 in Switzerland, Luca was no longer #1, but did rank #2 for both the German and French speaking areas.

    Reply
    1. Katty

      Just as an update to your stats: Luca has risen to #4 in Austria in 2012 (source). Lukas has been ranked #1 for the 17th consecutive year in 2012.

      Reply
  25. Kelsey D

    I’m on the fence. Luca is very much a name given to males, so on that note I would see if there is another name that you can both agree to and love; However, if there isn’t, rather than choosing a name you aren’t as fond of (I don’t want you to feel like you settled or waivered just because 28 strangers say otherwise) then you should go with what you love. If you do go with Luca… I would personally go with Lucca, as like you said, it softens the look of it. I don’t think there would be as many mispronunciations and initially one would think.

    Other options:
    Vienne. Vienne and Oliver. Love this.

    Juliet/Juliette. We have a Juliet and an Oliver and almost every single person has commented on how well the two names go together.

    What about Geneva or Gemma?

    Good luck and keep us posted. Do what feels right!!

    Reply
  26. Nancy

    What if you spell it Louka? That brings to mind Louise, so seems more like a girl’s name, without the pronunciation difficulties of Lucca.

    Reply
  27. Kaela

    For what its worth, I know 5 boys under 10 in NYC named Luca. That’s a lot! It is in the same numbers league as Henry, Oscar, Milo, and Oliver among people I know and not far behind Liam and Max.

    I think it is a go-to for families with Italian heritage…probably the #1 Italian heritage choice right now, at least among people I know.

    For that reason, I wouldn’t use it for a daughter. Unlike surname-names that get used for girls (Delaney, Madison, Emerson, etc.), Luca is solidly “male”, not ambiguous like a last name can be. It’s not quite Timothy but it is sort of… like Enzo. Or Theo. To me.

    Also, if I saw Luca and Oliver together I would be certain they were brothers.

    I like Swistle’s suggestions, all of them. What made you lose your love for Lucia exactly? I think Luna is really nice. Or Lyra?

    But my favorite is Mattea– what a gorgeous and underused choice. Use it!

    Or Maddalena, which is long but gorgeous and offers a whole bunch of nice nicknames.

    Reply
  28. JennyWren

    I love it for a girl…I think the confusion with pronunciation is not that big a deal-especially if people know the place-surely saying it aloud clears the problem-Luck-a doesn’t really sound like a name…I have taught both boys and a girl called Luca, but the girl was spelt with a k…Luka…she absolutely suited her name and no one ever confused her for a boy! :)
    I think Luc(c)a on a girl is no more confusing than other gender-neutral names that sway generally one way or another.

    Reply
    1. AmandaWesty

      Luke has always been my favorite name for a boy. I named my daughter Lucca Evelyn in 2012, fully aware of it’s origin and male tradition. I love saying her name! I believe it has a fully feminine resonance to the ear, cultural traditions aside. It made me smile to read JennyWren’s post because my sister’s name is Jennifer Wren. I’m glad both Wrens approve of Lucca for a girl. If someone ever questioned my naming it would not offend or disturb me. I am happy with my choice and hope that she will enjoy her name as she grows up, even when traveling to Italy. Lucca, if you’re searching the web in the future because you’re not sure that you like your name, you can change it. No big deal. Momma loves you!

      Reply
  29. Mary

    It reads boy to me, and it is super common across Europe (And if you add Luka, which is the Croatian spelling and used commonly in the Balkans, I think you’ll find it is used even more– for boys that is). Don’t make the mistake of thinking Luka is girl, and Luca is boy – it’s just how you spell it in different parts of Europe.

    With your Italian last name and seemingly close connections to Italy still, I would not use it. I think Mattea is adorable and could be a great sibling name for Oliver. Mattea Vivienne is gorgeous.

    Would Luana appeal to you? I really like the sound of Luana Vienne :)

    Reply
  30. Gail

    I’m not sure what I think here, I’ve been flip-flopping inwardly. I have a daughter named Bryn, now grown, and though when we named her we knew it was a male name in Great Britain, we’d only heard of women with that name in the US. But with Luca, there are many boys with the name in the US, too. Yet it’s entirely possible that Luca will become widely used here for girls in the same way that Harper has…….On the other hand, with an Italian surname, I also agree that you land in a “should know better” category–not in any absolute sense of course, yet I think others might assume you’ve become so assimilated in the US that you didn’t know what you were doing in a cultural sense. I’m not sure I would let any of this stop me if I loved the name. But there’s a point at which explanations will become tiresome, for you and for your daughter when she’s older, unless, of course, Luca goes the way of Harper, and then you will be right on trend. It sort of comes down to your comfort level with androgynous names, your comfort level with how Luca & Oliver sound like two brothers, and your comfort level with being a trend-setter (or not, if others don’t follow suit).

    Two alternate names not so far mentioned that came up for me are Lucina and Anouka. I think the idea of hyphenating Luca with a feminine middle is interesting enough to fully explore, and especially love Luca-Rosa or Luca-Maria.

    Good luck, and please let us know what you decide.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Jo

      I’ve only ever known Harper as a girls name as in Harper Lee and cringe when I hear it for a boy because I think that the parents don’t know that it is a girls name but have I got this wrong?

      Reply
      1. Katie

        I agree- Harper is a girls name because of the “Harper Lee” connection- that book is so classic that most people know the author was female.

        Reply
      2. Kaela

        Harper has been used mostly for men until the past 50 or so years. It is a surname name; Harper Lee’s first name was Nelle and I’m pretty sure no one ever called her “Harper” as a first name. It was a publishing business choice so that her gender would read male on the book cover and thereby not inhibit sales from people who don’t take books by women seriously. (see also: Flannery O’Connor, born Mary Flannery; Carson McCullers, born Lula Carson; and of course J.K. Rowling whose publisher insisted she go with initials lest her book be considered “girlish” because her name is Joanne…)

        Harper means “someone who plays the harp” so in meaning it is arguably genderless. And it was not used strongly for boys in the 20th century, since it was entirely off the boys’ top 1000 list from 1905 to 2006, meaning very few male babies received the name in that time. Prior to that it only charted a few times in the 1800s and never very high. It’s never been a common surname-name for boys.

        But it never charted at all for girls before 2004. So, it can’t be said it has a long history as a “girl” name either, Harper Lee’s publishing name aside.

        Reply
  31. Rayne of Terror

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the enforcer of The Godfather, Luca Brasi. “May your first child be a masculine child.” I would figure that would still be a pop culture reference because of the standing of the film. To me the name is all boy, but I would not in the least be surprised to hear it on a girl in the Midwest. I think it’s like Quinn was in 2008/09, poised to be unisex. You could be a trend setter.

    Reply
  32. Rayne of Terror

    Personally though, I wouldn’t do it. I do have an Italian named son, Quinino, and we’ve taken some flack for perceived mistakes with naming him this. (it’s not a real Italian name, it was a mistake on the Ellis Island records, etc. But I find saying “Family Name” is a trump card.) For a girl we were strongly considering Serafina or Seraphina, and Verity.

    Reply
  33. Adrienne

    Hi! This is the op here. Thank you everyone for your insight and suggestions. I just wanted to explain that our son’s middle name is Hazen which is the name of part of the Long Trail in Vermont where my husband and I got engaged. After giving him this name we thought it would be very cool if each of our children had a place name- a nod to a location of significance for us. I’ve always loved the name Luca. I grew up with a male Luca in school but despite this the name has always seemed somewhat feminine to me. The connection my husband’s family has to Lucca, Italy just seemed like it was meant to be as the name would be to honor their heritage. I’m not into super Italian girl names per se (not to mention any name similar to Gianna is out as we have a niece with a similar name. Same goes for Helena, anything resulting in Mila or Mia, and anything like Lucinda, Lucienne etc my husband won’t even entertain.). We had tossed around the idea of Lucia (pronounced loo-sha) because we thought it was a great back up to lucca if we chickened out but ultimately overtime it just seemed sort of blah to us and reminded us too much of the name Lucius (as in Malfoy…we are nerds).

    I have to admit that I’m surprised by the negative feedback. I thought the bigger issue would be spelling but it seems that most people just plain see it as a boy name. This definitely makes my heart sink a little bit. That being said, I do appreciate everyone writing in. Hopefully we either find another name we love as much or we just get over the fact that some people may scratch their heads over our girl’s name.

    Reply
    1. Patricia

      I’m sorry that you’ve received so much negative feedback from this board, but that’s always a possibility when asking others for feedback on prospective name choices, as well as a chance to see what sort of reactions your daughter may have if you call her Luca.

      Since your son has a place name of significance as his middle name, why not form your daughter’s name similarly:
      Oliver (classic male name) Hazen (place name)
      ______________ (classic female name) Lucca (place name)

      Because Luca is a traditional male name — behindthename.com says of it: “Italian and Romanian form of LUKE” — if you follow the pattern of your son’s name, you can still use Luca/Lucca for your daughter without giving her a first name that just about always is given to a boy. I knew a girl named Christopher Ann; third daughter, need I say more. Even with the clearly feminine middle name, she was perceived as a boy on paper — and of course was assigned to a boy’s dorm when she applied for college.

      You still have plenty of time to find a name along the lines of Oliver for your daughter’s first name. BNW says of Oliver: Oliver seemed a little eccentric a generation ago, but fashion has come around to its charms. Urban professionals in particular are attracted to the name’s offbeat elegance…” and mentions the name’s recent popularity in the U.K. – #1 name for several years, #2 in 2012. You might try britishbabynames.com for some inspirations for a girl’s name. Also Nameberry.com has some intriguing lists of boy/girl names that include Oliver: you may find your daughter’s name on one of those.

      But as others have said, if Luca/Lucca still seems right to *you and your husband*, then you should go ahead with it, knowing you’ve considered the name from all angles, looked at other names too, yet returned to Luca/Lucca as the one-and-only name for *your* daughter.

      Best wishes!

      Reply
      1. TheFirstA

        Oh, I love this idea. I think it does mirror your son’s name better if Lucca is in the middle position. I also like that you could use the spelling of the actual place as opposed to changing it to something more name-like/familiar.

        Reply
    2. Jennifer

      I think you should go with your gut/heart! If Luca is what you love then it will absolutely suit your little girl. My husband and I chose an Irish Boy’s name for our little girl (that coincidentally has a “cc” in it), and we both love it and love it for her. It suits her and I can’t imagine her as anyone else! I hear/see Luca or Lucca and think it’s spunky and fresh! I work in a school and read lots of names. If I saw this spelling, despite the phonetic rules, I would pronounce it Loo-ka, because I would think to myself, “why would someone be called LUCK-ah?” If you are worried about people being able to determine whether she is a girl/boy on paper, choose a more traditionally feminine middle name as many have suggested. Go for it!

      Reply
  34. Adrienne

    OP again here. I have a question for Swistle. Back in the day when I originally wrote in for advice regarding my son’s name I had asked you about the name Luca for a boy and this is what you said:

    “I know that Luca is a boy name—and yet, it sounds and looks feminine to me. It reminds me of an issue we recently discussed: that certain traditionally male names (Noah, Micah) have sounds and endings that would make them girl names if they weren’t boy names by long tradition—and some of these names are rising for baby girls, including Luca (72 new baby girls named Luca in 2009, up from 58 in 2008, up from only 19 in 2001 and 6 in 1999). I would avoid Luca because of this—especially with the popularity of the name Lucy enforcing the feminine look.”

    I realize you were still saying you didn’t think we should use the name but it seems like that was because you felt that it was leaning more feminine for you and we were considering it for our son. Just curious what makes you lean towards it being too masculine now? I was surprised by your response. Thank you! :)

    Reply
    1. Swistle Post author

      My opinion was the same for both of your letters. Both times I said felt conflicted about the name Luca in the same way, and I said almost exactly the same thing about it: that I know it’s a traditionally male name (and its worldwide and U.S. usage is predominantly male), and yet in U.S. English it reads more feminine to me.

      Reply
  35. Kanah

    I usually don’t like giving a child a name and then calling them a nickname 100% of the time, because I wonder why they didn’t get the nickname to begin with. I also am not personally a huge fan of someone going by a nickname of their middle name, as that seems too far removed from a connection to me. However, in this case, I would give the baby girl another name and call her Luca or use Luca as the middle. For example, I know a Kady whose given name is Katharine Day. I think it’s cute to use the first few letters of each name to come up with a nickname. You could do Lucy Catherine and get Luca or Lucianna Cate, Louise/Louisa, etc. I would think it was endearing rather than off-putting. Or also, you could do a double name such as Anna-Luca _________. Luca-Ann, etc. I also suggest the name Lena. I like Magdalena for a longer name with the NN Lena. Good luck!

    Reply
  36. Jen

    Adrienne, I totally feel for you grappling with a name for your gorgeous baby girl to be! We just figured out a name for ours (Tessa Marie) and it took freakin forever! Agony. My advice to you is if you have doubts about Luca/Lucca being a first name, to then place it as a middle. I love the name Lucca as a middle, since it’s a place name and will match Oliver’s middle place name. For me, doubts tend to be my intuition saying I want this to work but deep down I know it’s just not right. Or as another poster suggested, make it a hyphenated/combo first like Jennie Garth’s daughter Luca Bella, which gets rid of the confusion strangers will have. I also love the idea of Luna, which we strongly considered. Good luck!!

    Reply
  37. Adrienne

    Patricia if this baby were a boy we would definitely not have used Luca. We likely would have used Sebastian.

    Reply
    1. Patricia

      Oliver and Sebastian — perfect, and very British together. A similar style girl’s name could be perfect for you daughter, for your family. You might look at London Telegraph birth announcements to see what other parents of an Oliver or a Sebastian — or both — named their daughters:
      http://announcements.telegraph.co.uk/births

      A family with both an Oliver and a Sebastian:
      Isabel Cecilia, a sister for Sebastian, Oliver and Nicolas

      Sister of Olivers, to name just a few:
      a daughter Georgiana Jane, a sister for Oliver
      Annabel Catherine Elisabeth, a sister for Oliver
      Oliver George a brother for Emilia
      Oliver, a brother for Alice and Emily
      Oliver James, a brother for Eleanor
      Oliver David Patrick, a brother for Sophie
      Flora Isabella, a sister for Edward, Oliver and Lucy
      twin sons, Oliver William Foxton and Henry John Foxton, brothers for Amelia
      Lucy Elizabeth Patricia, a sister for Oliver and Ben
      Edward Anthony, a brother for Oliver and Charlotte
      Charlotte Rachel, a sister for Harry, Joseph and Oliver

      Also britishbabynames.com has a list of the most popular Telegraph and London Times baby names in 2012. Both Oliver (# 12 and 13) and Sebastian (#27 and 20) are on these lists. Topping the Telegraph list for girls:
      Florence
      Matilda
      Alice
      Elizabeth
      Sophie
      Charlotte
      Isla
      Isobel
      Annabel
      Beatrice
      Jemima
      Emilia
      Jessica
      Clementine
      Isabella
      Martha
      Rose
      Willa
      Flora
      Lily
      Poppy
      Sophia

      And the top of the Times’ list:
      Charlotte
      Matilda
      Amelia
      Alice
      Isla
      Annabel
      Eleanor
      Florence
      Sophia
      Beatrice
      Elizabeth
      Arabella
      Emilia
      Isabella
      Jessica
      Molly
      Sophie
      Clara
      Eliza
      Lily
      Olivia
      Poppy
      Willa

      The full lists are both very short, and you may find a name you like that goes very well with Oliver (and Sebastian) on one of them.

      Reply
  38. Bonnie Jo

    Wow so much going on here! For what it is worth I will throw in my two cents as well.

    I feel Luca is a male name almost exclusively but could come around to liking it on a girl as well so I am a bit of a fence sitter in that regard. It has been very popular as a male name in Australia(where i live)for some time now especially with those with Italian or European backgrounds. Two generations ago the name Luca would have been changed to Luke just as Antonio would be Tony and Giuseppe would be Joe etc etc. now the trend in Australia has been to go back to the traditional names and they are truly beautiful names. I know one family with a Matteo, Lorenzo and Luca just gorgeous! So Luca has had a huge rise in popularity here in the last 15 years and is firmly placed as a boys name just as it has had a resurgence in other parts of the world too.

    I would not at all be confused on how to pronounce Luca. And I would leave it that way because I really disagree with creative spelling or changing the spelling of a cultural and traditional name just for western pronunciation purposes. To me it seems like it butchers and destroys the cultural identity of the name by doing so and thus defeating the purpose of choosing a culturally traditional name in the first place. However… Lucca being the place name of your husband is completely different and so Lucca is also a wonderful nod to your family’s culture and heritage and will be a wonderful story for your daughter to tell about her name. I think that the pronunciation of Lucca should be ok and it is easily corrected and explained.

    I think that I agree with the posts that say keep Lucca as the middle name especially as it follows the pattern of your son’s name Vivienne Lucca sounds lovely! And Vivi Lu is a very sweet nickname and so is Lucca. I also like the suggestions of Luca-Marie or Luca- Belle equally as pretty and feminine and cancels out the confusion some people may have about her gender when on paper etc. I too would hear Oliver and Luca and think brothers so that is why I prefer the above suggestions. However I do adore boys names for girls and I guess that Luca on its own could work very well too, it just wouldn’t be my first choice but that decision is yours to make and I wish you all the best.

    Reply
  39. Molly

    I’m usually not a fan of creative spellings, but in this case I think it works–Louka, Loukah, Luccah, Lucah etc all read more feminine to me. With Lucca, I think you could easily explain away the confusion–she’s named after a village in Italy.

    Reply
  40. Bonnie Jo

    Not sure if this has been suggested but what about Venice! Sounds like Vivienne and Italian city name could be awesome!

    Reply
  41. Katie

    I think Luca is a well known male name. You could give it to your daughter but I think it would be the same as naming her Logan, Nick etc. I know it ends with an “a” but when I say it to myself I can only picture it on a boy. I also am not a huge fan of Lucca- I would read it as “LUCK-a” because of the double c. I know that’s how the village name is spelt but it might cause her a bit of a hassle later.

    I like the idea of giving her a longer name like Luciana and using Luca as her nick name- it’s ties into the Charlie/Charlotte, Sam/Samantha trend.

    I also love the name Vivienne though. You could call her Vi for short- Vivienne Lucca is a lovely name.

    Reply
  42. Sonia

    My son is Lucas, nn Luca. When we named him nearly 10 yrs ago, the names weren’t nearly as popular as they are now, and the first reaction we got from many people was “Awesome name! Just like the hot doctor on ER!” That cultural reference is mostly passed now, but even a decade ago Luca/Luka was all boy despite its relative unusualness. My son is named for Lucca as well — it’s one of my favorite towns in Italy, and the home of my grandmother’s family — so I totally understand wanting to honor the place. Have you thought of reading a bit about the history of the town — it had very strong ties to Florence during the Renaissance, being the city’s port — and you might find some gorgeous, unusual names in the history books.

    Reply
  43. Jodie

    I know a girl (who is 11) named Luca. I’ve never thought about it as a boy name. In fact I was surprised to read the posts that say they think of it as masculine. Her middle name (I think) is Jane. I do not know how her parents decided on her name or if they thought of it as a boys name.

    Reply
  44. Christine

    I wouldn’t use Luca on a girl myself, but that’s because I would totally use it on a boy with no hesitations. Well, one minor quibble with a Luca I knew and disliked (male) neither here nor there. But then, I tend towards names that are seen as having “softer” sounds for boys generally – my son in December will be Julian, but I also liked Adrian, Gabriel, and Luca. So that gives you some background.

    If you use it, I prefer the Lucca spelling myself (a lot) over Luca or Luka. It’s easy to say that it’s pronounced Lookah instead of Lucka, and I like that it’s actually for the place where your husband’s family is from. I also don’t have an issue with traditionally male names being used for girls, even though it isn’t my style preference. I think you have a lot of great names for the middle that would also sound amazing as first names, Mattea especially is a favorite. Additionally, I really like someone’s suggestion of Francesca (but again, it’s a name I was pushing for if this baby was a girl). I also like Francesca with the nickname Frankie, because could you imagine a perfect little spunkie Frankie?

    Anyway that’s my $.02 (or more like $.04, I guess.) Either way, I’m sure you’ll be thrilled once you see her face and whatever name you choose becomes hers.

    Reply
  45. Vesna

    wow, turned out to be quite the controversy, didn’t it?

    reading through all the comments, i wanted to add a few thoughts to what i said earlier.

    it seems to me that Lucca stands on its own. it’s relevant to your family. nobody can tell you it’s traditionally a boy’s name because it’s not. if there IS a pronounciation problem, it would be minimal. if your daughter ends up spending time in Italy when she’s older, i don’t think she’d have a hard time with her name at all.

    what someone else said about Luca / Luka being traditional male names in Italy / Croatia is true. while i don’t think that matters much in the US (where we name our daughters Maxwell with not a problem), i think if there’s a chance your daughter might venture over to Europe at some point, you *might* want to take such things into account.

    a few years back, when Luca was just appearing on the non-Italian / -Croatian naming horizon, the common reaction i’ve heard was “oh, you can’t name a boy that. it ends on a. much too feminine. boys are named Lucas. girls are named Luca.” so i do believe that outside of the name’s native country / language, people just develop different associations. i feel like one should not be too strongly guided by that as these things can change, and very quickly nowadays – within only a few years sometimes!

    so, my final vote is for Lucca! the way you want it, with no respelling and no weird feelings about using a “boy’s name” for a girl in case you were having those!
    oh, and i do hope we get an update once your daughter gets here! all the best to you and your family :)

    Reply
    1. Kaela

      I agree with almost everything you’re saying– except the part about how Luca wouldn’t be an issue, genderwise, unless she spent time in the parts of Europe where it is very common and male. There are some parts of the US (well, New York and New Jersey at least) where there are enough people of Italian heritage or actually from Italy to have Luca read automatically boy because there are so many males named Luca (it even ranks in the top 100 for boys in NJ– it ties with Oliver for 99th place.)

      I think Swistle’s point about the Italian surname drives this home. If I saw a Luca Walker, say, I might pause for a moment and consider the gender. But if I saw, say, Luca Batalli, I would assume 100% that the person was male. Especially with a brother named Oliver– two classic names, though from different cultures. Since the child will have an Italian surname, I’d avoid Luca.

      That said, I think Lucca makes the most sense. A., if you are reading these comments and still love Luca, spell it Lucca! The pronunciation issue is no big deal and it makes it a bit more feminine as well as authentic to where you got the name.

      (I still like the idea of Mattea Lucca best of all, though…)

      Reply
  46. Adrienne

    Thank you so much everyone again for the feedback. Though some of it was hard to read I definitely asked for honesty! And Vesna I really appreciate what you had to say! Unless this little one does a semester abroad in Italy she has more of a chance of traveling to Germany (where a lot of my family still live). So yes she could very well spend time in Europe.

    There’s still no other name that feels like *the one* compared to Lucca but I will keep an open mind and be on the look out for others. While the commenters who felt we should go with another name are making me hesitant, there’s just something about Lucca that I can’t shake.

    I will definitely update when she’s here :)

    Reply
    1. Kelsey D

      If that is how you feel, then go for it! At the end of the day it is your babe. And, to be honest, Lucca looks feminine to me – if I saw a list with the name Lucca on it, I would assume that it was a girl. As for pronunciation, LUKE-AH comes into mind right away. If it feels right, then DO IT!! Please keep us all posted!

      Reply
  47. Laurel

    To me, it is common knowledge, even here in the US, that Lucca is a boy’s name. I really like the idea of using Lucia. It’s a beautiful name and it still pays homage to your husband’s roots.

    Reply
  48. Reagan

    Given all the feedback, if you are still attached to Lucca, use it. I would spell it the same as the town and then you are naming her for a place you love … Not choosing a boys name.

    I work go with a very feminine middle name. I like Lucca Vivienne and Lucca Juliette .

    Reply
  49. Elizabeth

    For what it’s worth, I would 100% think “boy” if I saw the name Luca and while I would be unsure as to how to pronounce the name Lucca, I would also assume it was a boy. Lucia to me is the perfect compromise. What a beautiful name! It sounds so nice with Oliver and seems like a sweet tribute to your family’s heritage.

    Using Luca or Lucca for a girl is also extremely limiting if you have another child.

    Reply
  50. Katie

    It is so interesting to read these comments. I was surprised to read that Luca sounds “all boy.” Just to add my two cents, I work with a female Luca, there is a female trainer at my gym named Luca-Valentina, and there is a 3 or 4 y/o female Luca at my mother’s preschool. While I know a few males named Luke, I feel Luca is perfectly acceptable as a female name and not gender specific. In fact, I urge you to use it because it feels so right to you. Lucca and Luca are both beautiful and work from baby, to youth to adulthood. Maybe I don’t feel a pull to the male side because I was previously unfamiliar with the history of Luca as a “male” name outside of the U.S. This makes me think of other examples that people don’t bat an eyelash at: Drew, Jesse, Courntey, Ashley, Aubrey, etc. These names have been associated as “male,” but are totally accepted as unisex–or even more feminine now. Team Luca!

    Reply
  51. rosamonte

    I also have to say that I would definitely think that siblings named Oliver and Luca Italian-Last-Name were brothers, and I wouldn’t personally entertain the idea of naming a daughter Luca. (I also think of the domestic violence reference in the Suzanne Vega song “My Name is Luca.”)
    It seems you and your husband don’t like frilly, girly Italian names, which are definitely their own little subset. I’d look for stronger sounding names that aren’t as breathy, and ones that aren’t 4 syllables long. Alma, Agata, Amata, Aida, Gemma, Flavia, Marcella, Silvana, Vicenza…

    Reply
    1. Opal

      I don’t think the reference to the song Luca is something to impact the name choice. 1) Few children her age will know about it and it will only fade into obscurity more as time goes on. 2) And the name is really common in Europe (#1 in Germany alone), had she sung about Tom it wouldn’t have thrown that name into unusability forever either.

      I wonder if the song had something to do with the sudden rise of the name though.

      Reply
      1. rosamonte

        I should have clarified – when Luca is used on a girl, I think of the song, not when it is used on a boy.

        Reply
  52. Gail

    Hi, I weighed in earlier but have still been mulling this over and wanted to update. I’m the one who 30 years ago used Bryn for my daughter, and I’ve always had a twinge of regret that I didn’t add an extra “n” to make it Brynn, which looks and reads more feminine.

    I think Lucca is actually a wonderful way for you to have your cake and eat it, too. It’s more true to the “pattern of place name”, I don’t think it would be hard for others to remember how to spell/pronounce it, and makes it less of a boy name. I have a friend named Micca, pronounced Mee-ka, and this produces only minimal trouble in her life, and in our circle it’s a stand out name.

    So, if it was me, today, I’d go with either Lucca Vivienne or Vivienne Lucca. Good luck & best wishes!

    Reply
  53. Opal

    What about LUCASTA?

    Unlike Lucia; Lucinda; Luciana; Lucida; Lucetta; Lucy it has the LUCA part right there.
    It also adds the nickname Cas, should she want to go by something other than Luca.

    Though I don’t see the problem with naming her plain Luca.
    The main reason against seems that it is traditionally a masculine name, but not only does the gender of names change frequently, as long as there is no confusion on the part of the parents about the “true” gender of a name I don’t see why they can’t give their daughter a male name because they like the sound, it has be done sometimes with names that don’t lend themselves to it half as well as Luca.
    If anything speaks against Luca at all it’s the fact that, should she resent it, the only natural nicknames for it would be Lulu, Lou, Lucy and the like. Of course she could go by an elaborated form of Luca or by a completely different nickname, but those are not the most intuitive choices.
    This is a problem of all short names though, not just Luca.

    Reply
  54. Maria

    I’m back :)

    Thinking this over some more I am wondering why the name Luca to me seems all boy with your last name, while other people give their daughters straight up male names too, like Logan and Ryan. I think for me the difference is the last name effect. Given the Italian surname, I’d assume you either didn’t know it was traditionally a boy’s name, or that in fact, Luca was a boy. Luca O’Malley on the other hand, I wouldn’t know for sure, and most likely wouldn’t have a strong opinion one way or the. Luka Radovic, I would assume it was a boy, again because of the last name.

    I guess the bottom line is, do you love the name and if so, go for it. We hardly bat an eye these days when people name their daughters Maxwell, so why should your decision be held at a different standard? :)

    Reply
    1. Patricia

      Yes, *some* parents do chose to give their daughter a male — or a predominantly male — name, but *most* still give a little girl a female name. For me, the question is why give a girl a male name when there are so many fine female names of various styles to choose from? Why set your daughter apart with a name that is perceived as male? My ‘bottom line’ suggestion for parents considering a male name for their baby girl — especially the parent of the same gender — would be to try the name on and think of yourself called ____________ as a young child at school, as a teenager, as a career woman. Is this a name you would like for yourself? And especially with Lucas — and increasingly Luca — a popular name for boys of your generation.

      I don’t think the name is very well known yet in this country, so that *might* seem that it could go either way. But with the huge popularity of Lucas, I think the use of Luca, as the boy’s name it is, will continue to increase in the next few years and it will become better known in the U.S. as a male name.

      From the SSA baby name website:
      Popularity of the male name Lucas
      Year of birth Rank
      2012 27
      2011 29
      2010 35
      2009 39
      2008 46
      2007 53
      2006 59
      2005 58
      2004 66
      2003 71
      2002 75
      2001 83
      2000 83
      Similar male names for births in 2012
      Name Rank
      Luca 223
      Lucas 27
      Lucca 919

      In the past 10 years Luca (male) has gone from #626 to #223.

      Reply
  55. newmom

    Personally I wouldn’t name a girl Luca. Mainly because right now on Masterchef one of the people is named Luca, he is from Italy and now the name is just male to me. However, you have to follow your heart. I did know a girl, named Luca (before I knew it was a male name) and it wasn’t weird. It was fitting for her. Good luck :)

    Vivienne is stunning btw. Vivienne Luca sounds good to me

    Reply
  56. Kelsey D

    I actually spoke about this to my husband the other night, as I was quite surprised by how many people do not think it is an appropriate name for a girl. He instantly thought the spelling “Lucca” was cute on a little girl. The more I’ve sat on it, the better idea I think it is! If you love it, go for it! It’s perfect I think!

    Reply
  57. Livlife

    Wow! I had no idea this would be such a huge issue. I tried to read most of the comments, but it got pretty long. I don’t think anyone mentioned this point, though.

    There is a well-known singer, Tony Lucca. His last name is pronounced Luke-ah. For me, being familiar with him, I had no issue with the pronunciation. I think someone mentioned it is not that big of a deal. If anyone pronounces it wrong, just politely correct them and move on.

    As far as the girl/boy issue, I am usually on the side of “boy names shall not ever be bestowed on girls”. I don’t care for it. (Looking at YOU Jessica Simspon!). However, in this case, I have to disagree with the majority. I don’t think Luca reads particularly masculine. I understand that it IS masculine, but it doesn’t read that way, to me.

    Lucca, then, reads even MORE feminine with that extra C in there. Honestly, they look to me like they could be the masculine and feminine versions of the same name.

    I strongly encourage the OP to use the name Lucca…she has loved it a long time, even just by Swistle standards. Use the name you love, ultimately, that is most important. And if you do go with Luca, I would use the Lucca spelling because of the family connection and because it does seem to be more feminine.

    Oliver and Lucca are adorable together and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Good luck!

    Reply
  58. Jemima

    Leila Vienne is just perfect! She’s absolutely gorgeous, and suits her name perfectly.
    My birthday is October 13th too! :)
    Congratulations on Leila and Oliver!

    Reply
  59. Patricia

    The name you chose for your very pretty daughter seems absolutely perfect! It sounds like you both are very happy with it and that the 8-day struggle to find the right name for your daughter was worth all the angst and efforts you put into naming her. Leila Vienne is lovely; Oliver and Leila sound great together! Congratulations!

    Reply
  60. Toby

    This is all very interesting to me…. as my 7 year old daughter is called Lucca!

    How we came to choose this? I remember the song by Suzanne Vega (I’m 39) and liked it. I also liked the name Lucas for a boy for some reason. Anyway, when my wife got pregnant we picked this name after knowing we were having a girl. We also went to Italy when my wife was pregnant and we visited the town in Itally called Lucca and it was lovely so that is how we came across the spelling for her name. To me, I didn’t know anyone called this name on TV or in real life and thought it sounded totally femine.

    So… it’s all cool. Then… when she was at pre-school there was a boy called “Luca”. Then I had an old school friend call his boy “Luca”. Then ANOTHER old school friend called their son “Luca”. Then I watch TV and hear people called Luca or Luka everywhere. Arghhh!!!! ha ha.. One day at the doctor he referred to her as “Luck-ah”. Then I looked up the Suzanne Vega song one day and it is about a boy who is abused (I obviously liked the song as a youngster but didn’t really listen to the words). Great!

    Oh well… I still like the name and it’s true how some people think of it as a boy’s name or a girl’s name but we have even met a young girl called “Luca” near to where we live so I can live with it. She seems fine with it as well and that’s the most important thing.

    Reply
  61. FRAN

    Just stumbled upon this post as our now nearly 12-year old daughter LUCCA keeps asking us if we chose a boy’s name for her because we were hoping that she’d turn out male. The answer is NO!!!!!!! We just love the name Lucca for a girl and woman and she is such a beautiful and cool person. We have had many positive comments over the last 12 years about the name and know a couple of people who even named their female DOGS after her as they had missed their chance with their daughters :)
    All the best to your little bundle of joy and, regardless of your choice, rest assured that your little Leila Vienne will grow up suiting this name better than any other one you might have contemplated in the past!

    Reply
    1. Toby

      Good to know there is another Lucca out there. We too get many compliments about the name. Obviously from those that DON’T see it as a boys name!

      Reply
      1. Tegan

        My 5 year old daughter’s name is also Lucca. I get the “tradition” of it being a boy’s name, which we understood from the start (my husband’s family is also from Lucca, Italy. Mine is from Patrica), but her name has never been mispronounced, she’s never been assumed to be a boy, and we’ve had nothing but compliments, except from my grandmother, who does insist it’s a boy’s name. (We just tell her, no, Luca is a boy’s name. We named our daughter after the city Lucca).

        But I love the name Leila, too. No matter what, it’s important that you are comfortable with the name you give your children. I personally would change my daughter’s middle name, Pearl, if I could, though everyone else tells me that it’s a perfectly lovely middle name.

        Reply
  62. Rita Kiss

    I’m from Hungary here Luca is just a female name, the spelling Luca is the Hungarian feminine name (cognate with Lucy) pronounced [‘lutsa] (roughly LOO-tsah). Luca is almost 1000 year-old name here, so pls don’t say it is just a boy name. :)

    Reply
  63. Adrienne

    Wow! Circling back two years later and I see this post has gotten a couple more comments this year. We are now mulling around name ideas for baby # 3 and once again, my husband has put Luca/Lucca back on the list. This name is like a bad habit that we just can’t quit!

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Was just researching the name Luca for my 2nd daughter, who has not yet been born…and had to comment – my 1st daughter, Leila, was also born on October 13th!!! Crazy! We have the same taste in names ;-)

      Reply
  64. Bunny

    I just had to comment because I have a one year old named Lucca and we LOVE the name. And so does everyone who hears it. As a nickname she’s Lu or Lulu. I’ve never had anyone mistake it for a boy’s name here in the U.S., nor have I ever had a mispronunciation. Just my two cents!

    Reply

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