What “Enos” Sounds Like In Italian…

“M” of the blog Married to Italy posted a funny baby name story a while back.

M, an American, was living in Italy with her then-boyfriend (how husband). Over a family dinner, her boyfriend’s sister-in-law announced she was pregnant. Talk then turned to baby names.

After weeks of discussion they had finally settled on one name that had traditional Emiliana roots, but sounded perhaps a tad more modern than the other suggestions.

My boyfriend’s brother, as he was standing over the table serving out some pasta into everyone’s dishes, announced that they really liked the name “Enos”.

Let me repeat that with an Italian accent…


Phonetically we’re looking at something more or less like “Anus”.


As soon as the name was said, I literally inhaled a noodle. Then followed a somewhat embarrassing choking and coughing spurt. As if that weren’t bad enough, amidst my recovery, I asked “You’re joking, right?” (A little part of me really thought he was joking).

M then had to tell the family why she was so shocked by the name. She calls her attempt at an explanation a “disaster,” but it’s actually hilarious (for the reader, anyway).

She ultimately saved her nephew from having the name Enos/Anus, so it was all worth it.

M ends the post with some excellent baby name advice:

If a lesson can be learned from this experience, it is that you should screen all baby names with any major language you come into contact with on a frequent basis. And, really, all Europeans at the very least should be screening for English.

P.S. Wondering about the name Enos? Enos/Enosh is an Old Testament name that means “mortal man” or “mankind” in Hebrew. The first chimp to go into orbit (a few months after Yuri Gagarin went on the first manned space flight) happened to be named Enos.

4 thoughts on “What “Enos” Sounds Like In Italian…

  1. In the Netherlands, Cock used to be a fairly common nickname for Cornelius (I recently read an article about a guy called Cock Fuchs).

    Some other Dutch names that don’t work in English are Fokke, Freek, Ruud, Siemen and Joke.

    On the other hand Bill doesn’t work in Dutch (‘bil’ meaning ‘butt cheek’) and neither does Piper. It is pronounced almost the same as ‘pijper’, which means, to put it politely, ‘someone who performs oral sex on a man’.

  2. We had a dear friend who was of the Greatest Generation here in the States named Enos. Pronounced Eenis, as in rhymes with penis…

  3. A friend of mine was going to be named Autumn, but her German grandmother said “That’s a boy’s name!”, i.e. the German pronunciation of Adam.

  4. there’s an italian gymnast called Enus Mariani. She won the junior european championship in 2012. I’m pretty sure the name is made up, and I don’t think her parents knew what it would sound like in english.

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