Niamh vs Neve

(69 Posts)
Mango194 Mon 18-Mar-13 19:52:18

One month to go until DD1 is due and one of the (very few!) names on our shortlist is Niamh, which I've always loved. We live in England; do you think most people know the correct pronunciation, or would it be better to spell it Neve (I'd rather use the authentic spelling but don't want to saddle DD with an unpronounceable name, having grown up with one myself!). I should add that our Irish connection is fairly distant (my paternal grandmother, long deceased, and no other family there with whom we're in touch). Opinions gratefully received!

KobayashiMaru Mon 18-Mar-13 19:53:26

neve doesn't make the right sound at all. Spell it properly or don't use it, please.

Oh, I love that name - both versions <helpful>
On balance I'd go with 'Niamh' as a middle name and 'Neve' for a first name - I have a non-British first name and it can be a bit wearing to always have to spell it. Several times. And then it is still spelt incorrectly.

Lovely name smile.

eachtigertires Mon 18-Mar-13 19:54:57

I prefer Niamh definitely

Niamh every time

Trazzletoes Mon 18-Mar-13 19:55:28

Ooh I think Niamh is much prettier!

Also, I thought Neve was pronounced Nev - isnt that what Neve Campbell calls herself? Perhaps I'm wrong...

Anyway, I would go for Niamh.

HollyGoHeavily Mon 18-Mar-13 19:55:34

Go with Niamh - for non-irish speakers, it's one of the more manageable Irish names smile

Niamh, definitely

Niamh is nice / Neve is not.

gertrudestein Mon 18-Mar-13 19:56:35

I think it might depend where you live ... in London I grew up with a Niamh, an Aoife and a few Sians. You only have to ask once and then you know how to spell it! But she will definitely have to spell it out all her life ...

Bunbaker Mon 18-Mar-13 19:59:19

I think most people know how Niamh is spelt these days, don't they?

Niamh Cusack used to be in Heartbeat.

Elvensong Mon 18-Mar-13 20:00:37

Agree with Kobayashi, Neve isn't pronounced the same way as Niamh.

MsAkimbo Mon 18-Mar-13 20:02:05

Love the name. The traditional spelling specifically.

A million times Niamh. Neve is truly awful.

<affronted Irish person face>

Niamh every time.

2littlemonkeysjumping Mon 18-Mar-13 20:05:58

Niamh was our number 1 girls name (but we ended up with 2 lovely boys!!) I am irish but live in uk so before dc1 arrived I did a little straw poll of some English friends, wrote it down, asked them how to pronounce it- everyone knew the name. It's beautiful spelt the proper way, but I have to confess I really dislike 'anglicising' Irish names- use it properly, or pick something else I think! As it stands, she'll probably have to spell it out a lot, but she would still need to do that if you spelt it Neve too (which I previously thought was pronounced "nevv" as per Neve Campbell as someone said up thread. Good luck for your imminent arrival!

Bunbaker Mon 18-Mar-13 20:07:37

"Neve isn't pronounced the same way as Niamh. "

Oh, I thought it was. There is a Niamh at DD's school and it is pronounced Neve.

DanGleebals Mon 18-Mar-13 20:08:48

I have a Niamh - brilliant name! I've not met anyone yet who can't pronounce it and most people can spell it too. It's such a wonderful name (I am a bit biased grin)

LeslieWink1e Mon 18-Mar-13 20:09:56

Neve is awful. Neve probably has a sister called Tyler.

Niamh. It's not that hard. I know I'm Irish so obviously it doesn't seem that hard to me, but Neve is dreadful. I love Eve though.

wigglesrock Mon 18-Mar-13 20:10:00

I'd pronounce them differently too, Neve would rhyme with Lev, it would need to be spelt Neave for me to pronounce it like Niamh.


LeslieWink1e Mon 18-Mar-13 20:10:37

Sorry, I shouldn't have said that. Can I take it back before I'm lynched.

Elvensong Mon 18-Mar-13 20:10:50

In the part of Ireland where I live, Niamh is usually pronounced something like Nee-uv, not Neeve.

weegiemum Mon 18-Mar-13 20:11:09

Neve is a made up spelling for Niamh.

Like Ailly is made up for Eilidh, or Roory (yes I've seen it) for Ruaraidh.

Please use the authentic spelling. It's hardly unusual these days!

Elvensong Mon 18-Mar-13 20:11:26

Btw, I adore the name, however it's pronounced.

nenevomito Mon 18-Mar-13 20:11:36

Niamh for sure.

Neve looks like you missed the r off never.

Trazzletoes Mon 18-Mar-13 20:12:01

bunbaker yes, Niamh is pronounced Neeve.

Neve is pronounced Nev. like Kev.

DewDr0p Mon 18-Mar-13 20:13:32

Definitely Niamh - it's gorgeous and I think well known enough not to cause her any major issues.

Floggingmolly Mon 18-Mar-13 20:15:29

Use it properly or don't use it at all.

Elvensong Mon 18-Mar-13 20:15:41

Roory for Ruairidh... I've seen Roary as well, nearly as bad. I have a Rory - lived in UK at the time so decided not to go with traditional Irish spelling. Would've chosen Niamh or Aoife if had a girl.

Gooseysgirl Mon 18-Mar-13 20:20:23

What Kobayashi said

Bunbaker Mon 18-Mar-13 20:21:25

"Neve would rhyme with Lev,"

Now, I would pronounce Neve like Neeve to rhyme with sleeve. To rhyme with Lev I would spell it Nev. So I would pronounce Niamh as Neeve. I wonder if this is regional?

I thought Neve Campbell's name was pronounced Neeve? confused

booksandchoc Mon 18-Mar-13 20:32:21

How about spelling it Neive?

Trazzletoes Mon 18-Mar-13 20:36:06

Pacific you'd think so, eh? But she's a Nev!

Well, I never! shock
I stand corrected.

Niamh, every time in that case grin

LeslieWink1e Mon 18-Mar-13 21:01:09

Nieve is snow in spanish. Nieves is a name. So I want to say nee-ev-ess

Mango194 Mon 18-Mar-13 21:03:58

Thanks everyone smile Definitely wasn't convinced about spelling it Neve, and your replies have confirmed that! Niamh is going on the shortlist - it's between that and one other name atm... we'll just have to wait and see what suits her best!

BeeBopDingALing Tue 19-Mar-13 01:00:53

I know a Neve and it's pronounced Neeve. Never heard it ever said sounding like Nev.

Either spelling, it's a beautiful name.

LinusVanPelt Tue 19-Mar-13 01:10:01

Niamh is pronounced more like "NEE-uv" where I live, with the second syllable being more like a half-syllable, if that makes any sense at all.

For me it's a big part of the charm of the name - it's not the same at all when it's just pronounced as the one-syllable "NEEV".

OkayHazel Tue 19-Mar-13 01:28:07

I knew a Neeve as a child, only really now realizing its made up. It was the only way I knew how to spell it for so long!

ThisIsMummyPig Tue 19-Mar-13 01:29:37

I know a Neve, to rhyme with sleeve, and that's how I would have thought it. On a written down basis I thought Niamh would have been Neem. I can't believe I would have been on my own with that.

MidnightMasquerader Tue 19-Mar-13 03:55:05

Neve is a misspelling and a mispronunciation of the name Niamh, so definitely don't go with it.

As others have said, the actual pronunciation of the name is with two syllables; the seond syllable very soft - so Neve/Neeve/Neave are all rather ignorant, Anglo bastardisations of the name. wink

sashh Tue 19-Mar-13 04:27:06

Please, please go with the standard (Irish) spelling.

After a life time of my name being misspelled I changed it to the common spelling.

Niamh is so common in England these days I don't think it will be a problem.

slippysnow Tue 19-Mar-13 08:37:28

On screen neve looks like nevel (or Neville). Most people know Niamh now, and if not corrections aren't that bad- you grow to anticipate them. I could write a naming book of strange variations of my name, despite its regular spelling. Congratulations smile

GooseyLoosey Tue 19-Mar-13 08:41:53

Dd has an Irish name and most people have got on OK with it. I would definitely not use an Anglicised spelling, it just looks wrong.

AmandaPayneNeedsaHoliday Tue 19-Mar-13 09:00:29

I would go with Niamh.

I think that, with Irish names, there are some names where the Anglicised spelling has become popular even in Ireland - Rory (although not quite the same name as Ruaraidh) or Orla spring to mind. But I doubt you'd get someone in Ireland naming their child Neve.

I have a name you have to spell. It is no biggie. I introduce myself and, if someone is taking down my details, automatically spell it out too. I have to do it with my very simple surname too, because there are various variations.

LeslieWink1e Tue 19-Mar-13 13:03:26

yes, Orla and Maeve are accepted spellings in ireland! In fact, the first Orlaith I was aware of was English. The girl from BB, years back now.

MarthasHarbour Tue 19-Mar-13 13:08:21

You know what would happen - she would say Neve over the phone to say a shop or something and the caller would write 'Niamh' grin

Seriously i think the name Niamh is known enough. I am biased, my friend has a Niamh wink

AmandaPayneNeedsaHoliday Tue 19-Mar-13 13:10:54

Yes, in England, if you say you are called Orla, people will write Orla, not Orlaith (or the other spelling I can never remember, the one with the d). If you say Neve, people will write Niamh.

squoosh Tue 19-Mar-13 13:15:09

Yes it's a two syllable name pronounced NEE-uv. Neve is something else entirely.

Listen here to the correct pronunciation.

Re. Neve Campbell, a bit of googling tells me that Neve (pr. Nev) is her mother's maiden name. I'm sure there's a Hebrew boy's name Neve pr. Nev also.

BikeRunSki Tue 19-Mar-13 13:16:01

My best friend's DD is Niamh. She is 4 and has never had any problems. Niamh is in common enough usage in England that people may not understand the spelling, but they do know it.

notso Tue 19-Mar-13 13:30:52

Interesting thread. DS has a Niamh, Neve and Neave in his year, the first two are pronounced Neeve, the last pronounced Nee-vuh, none are pronounced like squoosh's video!

squoosh Tue 19-Mar-13 13:33:26

I'm not surprised, I've never personally heard of a UK Niamh with a correctly pronounced name.

DancesWithTheEasterBunny Tue 19-Mar-13 13:38:02

I liked either Niamh or Neve for DD3, but DH felt that if we went with Niamh some people would pronounce it wrong and not know how to spell it, but if we went with Neve people would think we didn't know it was "supposed" to be Niamh. I gave up trying to convince him one was or another. She is called Georgina...

notso Tue 19-Mar-13 13:51:23

It's the same with Rhys, SIL goes mad when I say it the welsh way.

badtime Tue 19-Mar-13 13:58:01

lesliewink1e, Orlaith from Big Brother was Northern Irish, not English.

lljkk Tue 19-Mar-13 13:58:12

I strongly prefer Neeve. Neve is just confusing again.

I am foreign & lived here 14 years before I encountered the name Niamh (had no idea how to say it correctly). So not common at all, ime.

foxrivereight Tue 19-Mar-13 14:00:23

Niamh .

Fwiw both myself and dd have names we have to spell out constantly , although it is annoying you get used to it and it's worth it to have a pretty and unusually name grin

foxrivereight Tue 19-Mar-13 14:00:39


Beehatch Tue 19-Mar-13 14:03:46

There is a Niamh, Neve and a Nieve at school, all pronounced 'Neeve' (rhyming with sleeve)

giraffesCantDateDucks Tue 19-Mar-13 14:12:08


Natty4 Tue 19-Mar-13 14:28:15

We have a Neve and have never come across a Niamh although have met another little Neve. I know it's not a favourite on mumsnet but it's really up to personal choice.

Out of interest, does anyone know if the spelling Keira is an "accepted" and used name in Ireland now?

ItsallisnowaFeegle Tue 19-Mar-13 14:35:08

Niamh grin my 7 year old niece is a Niamh. No competition.

apachepony Tue 19-Mar-13 14:40:50

To my knowledge there's no k in Irish, so Kiera wouldn't be an accepted spelling, it would be ciara

KobayashiMaru Tue 19-Mar-13 15:00:10

it is a little used and would be accepted but not as an Irish name. k is a foreign letter.

squoosh Tue 19-Mar-13 15:13:06

Keira would be very unusal in Ireland, Ciara is the only version I've come across and there are millions (slight exagerration) of Ciaras in Ireland.

MarthasHarbour Tue 19-Mar-13 20:32:37

Yep my friend is Irish and she has a Ciara

NightmareSpoon Tue 19-Mar-13 20:46:07

Team Niamh

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