Sunday, May 18, 2014

Everett vs Everest

Photo Courtesy of Rachael Spiegel Photography

It's a problem that many namers face at some stage. You love two very, very similar names. You can't use both, but how do you choose one over the other?

I often have this problem when deciding on names to feature on the blog. The particular example that springs to mind is Audra. I was seriously debating between Audrey ( a beautiful classic) and Audra. But Audra (to me) is just that little more spunky, a little more unexpected. So Audra it was. Likewise, I wrote about Bram because I love it. But occasionally I wonder if Bran wouldn't make for the better name. For me it comes down to associations. For Bran there's the cereal, but then there's also Bran Stark from 'Game of Thrones'. But I've read the books and he is admittedly not one of my favourite characters. As a lover of horror though, I love the connection Bram has to Bram Stoker's Dracula. So Bram definitely has the edge for me.

Which brings me to the two subjects of this post. Everett and Everest. These two are very high on my personal list of potential names for possible future sons. They probably are for a lot of people. Yet it's pretty obvious that they are far too similar to use both. So lets compare them head to head in a "Name Battle" I'll include my thoughts, but you may feel differently!

Origin, Meaning & Associations
These could easily be three separate headings, but I often find these things to be so intertwined that it's helpful to consider them together.

Everett - It's an Old English name, from the German Everard meaning 'strong as a wild boar'. It's also a place name with towns named Everett in the US and Canada, and an ice covered mountain range called the Everett Range in Antarctica.

Everest - Unclear. Some say it's of Old English origin, possibly derived from Everett. It's also possibly derived from the French "Evreax", a town name in Normandy that was transferred into use as a surname after the Normans invaded England. Or maybe from the French Evariste, itself a version of the Greek name Evaristus, meaning 'well pleasing'. Then of course there is Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, which cements Everest as both a place and a nature name. Overall, it's origin and meaning may not be definitively certain, but the possibilities are rich.

Famous Namesakes 
Because sometimes it's helpful to know if someone has (or is likely too) put a negative spin on your name. Or if your child will have someone or something to be inspired by.

Everett - Most examples that spring to mind are surnames, or even middle names. Examples of these are aplenty - actors Rupert Everett, Thomas Everett Scott and Darren Everett Criss; former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop etc. First name bearers are a little rarer, such as Former US Senator Everett Dirkson or 'Citizen Kane' actor Everett Sloane. Fictional examples of Everett as a first name are not unusual though, such as George Clooneys character Everett McGill in the movie 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' or Everett Hitch, a gunslinger played by Viggo Mortensen in 'Appaloosa'.

Everest - Can you call a mountain a namesake? Mount Everest was named for Sir George Everest, but not because he discovered it. The name was actually suggested by Sir Andrew Waugh, the then British Surveyor General of India, to honour his predecessor. This was a somewhat controversial move, as it ignored the names already used by the Tibetans and Nepalese, reportedly because their borders were closed to foreigners at the time making it hard to gather local names. Another argument was that since there were many local names, one could not be chosen over the others. George Everest himself objected naming the mountain Everest as it couldn't be written in Hindi or pronounced by the local Indian population.

Want some more recent celebrity buzz? George Lucas and Mellody Hobson named their daughter Everest in August 2013.

Pronunciation & Nicknames
Some people fall in love with a name for it's nicknames. Others aren't too fussed. But if it matters to you....

Everett - Pronounced EV-er-et or Ev-ritt. My personal favourite nickname and reason I first looked at Everett is nickname Rhett (or Rett). It's adorable. There's also Ev, Evie, E, Ever, Eveready. It's also worth noting here that some bearers report that people have trouble pronouncing their name, with the most common misunderstandings being Evert, Evan and - funnily enough - Everest.

Everest - Pronounced EV-eh-rest (although mountain namesake George Everest pronounced it EEV-rist). Possible nicknames include Ev, Evie, E, Ever, Rest, Mountain.

Popularity is an point that can divide or decide. Some want a name that is popular because it means it is familiar and well liked, others prefer a name that is rare and will make their child stand out in a crowd.

Everett - Everett is a bit of a throwback name. Peaking at #81 in the U.S in 1906, it's not unusual for people to have a grandfather or great grandfather with the name. It never really got unfashionable as such, as it has never left the top 1000 and it's "low point" was just #647 in 1995. It has bounced back rapidly in recent years though, gaining 25 places in 2013 to attain a position of #189. Which for many equates to well liked but not over-used.

It's also getting fairly regular use for girls, but nowhere near as much as for boys.

Everest - Everest first charted for boys in 1914, and popped up sporadically after that until 1994, when it became a regular on the SSA lists. It has been very slowly climbing in recent years, charting at #2660 in 2013. Everest has also started charting for girls in recent years - but in contrast to the boys, was ranked at #13,515 in 2013.

But perhaps more importantly - have you ever met an Everest?

Feel & Impressions
These are the things that often attract us most strongly to a name. What feelings does it evoke for you? What characteristics or traits do you envision someone with this name having? And do you like those things?

Everett - To me Everett exudes southern charm, without being too syrupy. It's distinguished, but not snobby. The Ever part conveys a sense of reliability and dependability. An Everett seems steady, down to earth - fun and adventurous without being too rash or impulsive.

Everest - I'm a sucker for a name with a nature connection, and this is a good one. Mountains feel earthy and make you think of strength and constancy. Add a bit of snow to their peaks and they are beautiful, majestic. And Mount Everest itself is a symbol of great achievement amongst mountain climbers - dangerous and difficult, but the ultimate challenge. Which makes it something of an aspirational name.

Its a hard choice - for me they're both so charming, slightly preppy, and yet approachable and earthy. If I were looking for a first name, I'd go with Everett. It may be more popular (which I'm not really a fan of personally), but I love that nickname Rhett, and it does hit the middle ground of recognised but not too common. Plus my surname is pretty heavy on the "S"s, so a name with an "S" sound at the end isn't great for everyday use. However for a middle name I'd choose Everest over Everett in a heartbeat. I love the symbolism, and it's just the right degree of unexpected and quirky - qualities that I feel are great for the middle position. And just to clarify, I'm talking in terms of use for a boy. Using Everett for a girl isn't something I'd personally consider, although Everest? Maybe....

How about you - what arguments would you add, and which (if either) would you be more likely to choose?

I'll be making name battles such as this a semi-regular (i.e. one or two a month) feature from now on, so let me know if there are any very similar names you'd like to see go head to head in future posts!


  1. I named my son Everest on May 6 2005 and every time he meets someone new they all comment on how great a name he has. Powerful unique without being weird!

  2. My son's name is Everest and we've gotten a lot of compliments on his name choice. He certainly has a big name to live up to. However, his name is often remembered incorrectly and he's called Everett quite too often.

  3. I will name my son Everest because my name is Edmund at its very symbolic!

  4. I will name my son Everest as my name is Edmund so to me it feels very symbolic!

  5. We named our son Everest, born 2006. We love the name and have received a lot of complements. There are no other Everest's at his school and most people do not know of any others. Also, everyone knows how to pronounce it and spell it which is a plus.

  6. Had a baby boy December 2015, named him Everest as well. Have loves the name since my hubby said it when I was only 5 weeks pregnant. I knew it would fit him so well.

  7. I named my son Everest in 2002. I was watching a National Geographic special on Mt. Everest and knew it would be a perfect name. Hes 13 and very proud of his name.

  8. I love both of these names! I'm pregnant now but don't know the sex. I think if I have a boy, I'll name him Everett... Girl, Everest.

  9. I think the name Everest is very weird and if ppl say it's "unique", they mean weird. It's like naming your child Vesuvius or Kilimanjaro. You just think of the mountain. That's it. I love unique names, but won't branch out this far with my kids.

  10. I love love love the name Everest, when i was doing some family tree look ups a great great great great great great great grandpa of mine had it as a middle name and I took note, because I thought it was beautiful. My worry is how someone might be teased during life due to this name, for example if they are tall/short or big/skinny. i think you would have to be smack bang average in height and weight to have this name.