There are many difficult moments in the life of a parent, but one of the most important of all is naming their baby. Whether it’s a name that they hold dear, or one of particular significance to their family, or simply a popular name – choosing one is important, and more so, permanent. Remember we talked about some celebrities’ kids names which will eventually haunt them for the rest of their lives…
A name sticks with its’ bearer for the rest of their lives, which is why it’s very important to choose wisely. In 2013, roughly half a million parents participated in a survey resulting in a list of 100 most popular baby names in the United States. Let’s have a look at the first ten pairs of them.
1. Sophia / Jackson
Sophia comes from ancient Greek and means knowledge (or wisdom), whereas Jackson comes from Scotland, and means “God has shown favor / has been gracious.” Both of these names have been quite popular in the past few years, but in 2013 they made it to the top of the list.
2. Emma / Aiden
Emma is not as you would be tempted to think, short for Emilia. Instead, it is an old European name found in the German, Swedish and English languages with roughly the same meaning – “universal”, “whole”, “complete”. Aidan, originating from Ireland and Scotland, is the English form of Aodhan, a celtic name stemming from “Aodh”, which means “fiery” and was also the name of a Celtic Sun God.
3. Olivia / Liam
The first account of the name Olivia is found in Shakespeare’s play “The Twelfth Night”; it is believed the name is based on the Latin word “oliva” meaning olive. Liam is of Irish origin, a short form of Uilliam, originating in the Frankish “Willahelm”, literally meaning “helmet of will” or “protection”. No wonder it made the list of the most popular baby names in the United States.
4. Isabella / Lucas
Isabella is a very popular name throughout Europe and has belonged to many important historical figures, but it originates in Biblical Hebrew, literally meaning “devoted to God.” Lucas is the Latin form of Luke, which in turn is the English form of the Greek name “Loukas”, meaning “from Lucania”, Lucania being a region in Italy; as an English name it has been in use since the 12th century, and was made popular by St. Luke, the author of the Third Gospel.
5. Mia / Noah
Mia is a Scandinavian, Dutch and German diminutive form of the name Maria, which is of Hebrew origin, meaning “wished-for child”, or “bitter” in other translations. This diminutive is in use under different spellings and forms in many languages around the world. Noah is yet another Hebrew name (spelled Noach originally), meaning rest, or comfort. It is also the name of the Biblical character believed to have built the Ark when God flooded the Earth.
6. Ava / Mason
Ava is a variant of the name Eve, who, according to the Bible, was the first woman. The name was derived from the Hebrew words “chawah” (to breathe) or “chayah” (to live). Mason is one of those names that appeared in the Middle Ages in correlation with the person’s occupation; it is literally synonymous to the word mason – meaning stoneworker, which, in turn, derived from an old French word of Germanic origin.
7. Lily / Jayden
Derived from the Latin word “lillium”, meaning “lily”, the name has been used as a symbol of purity, due to the characteristics of the flower it also represents. Jayden is a variant of Jaden, which is a recently invented name, but it is also possibly related to Biblical Jadon, meaning “thankful” or “he will judge” in Hebrew.
8. Zoe / Ethan
Zoe is an interesting name, because it’s a Greek translation for Eve, and means “life”. It’s pretty uncommon in English, being used mostly by Eastern Christians in various spellings. Ethan is yet another Hebrew-name originating in the Bible and meaning solid, or enduring; in the Old Testament, the name is bore by a wise man, and what parent, given the choice to pick up not only one of the most popular baby names in the United States, but a very powerful one, wouldn’t?
9. Emily / Jacob
Emily comes from Latin and is the feminine form of the name Aemilius, deriving from the word “aemulus” that means rival, or enemy. Other interpretations say that the meaning is, in fact, “industrious” or “striving”. Jacob is a rather famous name – originating in Hebrew, passing through Greek, then Latin, this is the name of a very important biblical figurehead – the father of the twelve founders of the tribes of Israel.
10. Chloe / Jack
Chloe is a relatively recent name that has been in use since the Protestant Reformation. But its origins are older, stemming from ancient Greek, and meaning “green herb” or “green shoot” – a characteristic used to describe the goddess Demeter. Jack started out as a diminutive for John sometime in the Middle Ages, but later became regarded as an independent name. Over time, it even became a slang word, generically meaning “man”.
If you are at the beginning of your parenthood, we hope this list of the most popular baby names in the United States gave you a few ideas to wrap your mind around. And remember, make a wise choice, as your son or daughter will have to carry the name for the entirety of his / her life.