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Italian names that start with the letter 'O'

Italian girl names that start with 'O'

Orietta, Oriana, and Oriella

The Italian names Orietta, Oriana, and Oriella are related. Although they start with the letter ‘O’, they come from the Latin name Aurea, which begins with ‘Au.’

The transition from ‘Au’ to ‘O’ in those names mirrors the spelling change of the words for “gold,” which are “aurum” in Latin (hence its symbol ‘Au’ in the periodic table of the elements) and “oro,” in Italian.

Orsola and Orsolina

The Italian names Orsola and Orsolina start with an ‘O,’ but they come from the Latin name Ursula, which begins with a ‘U’ as it comes from “ursa,” the Latin word for “female bear.”

The transition from ‘U’ to ‘O’ in those names parallels the spelling change that the Italian word “orso” (meaning “bear”) underwent as it evolved from the Latin word “ursus.”


Onorina is an Italian name that comes from the Latin name Honorius, itself derived from “honor,” a word that has the same spelling in Latin as it does in American English (it is spelled “honour” in British English).

Like the name Onorina, the Italian word for “honor” also starts with an ‘O’ because the initial ‘H’ that was present in Latin has been dropped. The Italian word for “honor” is “onore.”


The female name Ombretta comes from an endearing diminutive form of the Italian word “ombra” which means “shadow.”

This is a rather recent Italian name as it does not originate from Latin or other ancient languages. The name is used in a late 19th-century novel by Antonio Fogazzaro titled “The Little World of the Past” (“Piccolo mondo antico” in Italian).

Italian boy names that start with 'O'

Ancient names that begin with ‘H’ which produced Italian names that start with ‘O’

Several Italian male names that start with ‘O’ are adaptations of Latin and Greek names that begin with ‘H’ (followed by ‘o’). The initial ‘H’ is gone from the Italian version. Such names include Orazio, Onorato, Onorio, Ortensio, and Omero.

Orazio comes from the Latin name Horatius (which produced Horace in English). Onorato and Onorio come from Honoratus, a Latin name that means “honored.” And Ortensio is derived from the Latin name Hortensius.

The initial ‘H’ is also absent from Omero, the Italian form of Homer, the name of the ancient Greek poet who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Latin version of the name (Homerus) has an ‘H’ at the beginning, and so does the English version, used for a character in “The Simpsons” television series.

Olimpio, Osvaldo, Otello, and Orfeo

Italian rarely uses the letter ‘y’ (except in loanwords). This is apparent in the Italian term for the “Olympic games” (“Giochi Olimpici”), as well as in the spelling of the Italian name Olimpio, which, like the Olympic games, derives from the name of Mount Olympus (“Monte Olimpo” in Italian).

Osvaldo is the Italian version of the name Oswald. The Italian language rarely uses the letter ‘w’ (except in loanwords like “weekend”), which explains part of the spelling differences between these two names.

Otello is the Italian spelling of the name Othello which is also the title of a play by William Shakespeare and that of one of its main characters, a Moorish commander serving as a general in the Venetian army.

Orfeo is the Italian version of the Ancient Greek name Orpheus. The spelling difference is similar to how Italian vocabulary words like “filosofia” (philosophy) and “fisica” (physics) use the letter ‘f’ instead of the letter combination ‘ph’ found in their English counterparts.