Picking a name can be one of the most stressful and overwrought steps of planning for a new baby. You want the name to be unique and reflect your beliefs and hopes for the new family member, but also not so unique it leads to school-yard teasing down the line.
As guidance, here are some of the most popular baby names in North America, and their meanings. Through this list of the top ten most popular baby names- both the five top girl names and the top five boy names- you can start your search with a strong meaning to aid in this deeply personal decision.
- Sophia- Translated from ancient Greek meaning “wisdom,” Sophia was also an early saint in medieval Christian mythology. The name was popularized by European royalty in the middle ages and came into popularity again in the 18th Century.
- Jackson- A traditionally Scottish name, the direct translation of Jackson represents patronage or “son of Jack.” Originally based on the names “John” or “Jack,” it can mean “God has shown favor,” or “God has been gracious.”
- Emma- Emma as a name is given the meaning for “whole” or “universal” across several languages, including English, Swedish, American, and German. Emma has been a commonly used name since the 19th Century.
- Aiden- Aiden is an actual name directly from mythology, as the name for the Celtic sun god. Therefore a loose meaning can be “firey.” Although this is commonly a male name, some use the feminine “Aidan.”
- Olivia- A little-known fact about this popular girl’s name is that it first appeared in Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, as a feminized form of the name “Oliver.” It comes from a Greek root, which means “olive tree” therefore symbolizing peace.
- Liam- A shortened form of the Celtic “Uilliam,” or the English “William.” Liam means “helmet of will” or to be a strong-willed warrior.
- Ava- A slightly tweaked version of the name “Eve,” Ava could also come from the Latin word for “bird”- avis. Or, it could possibly be a Chava, translated to “life” or “living one” from the Hebrew form of Eve.
- Lucas- Lucas is a derivative of the names Luke or Lucius, both of which translate to “light-giving” or “illumination.” This is especially relevant as Lucas was the author of the third gospel in the Christian New Testament.
- Mia- Although the name originally comes as a shortened version of the name Maria, the name for girls was popularized by actress Mia Farrow. The meaning in Latin is for “wished-for child.”
- Noah- Another Biblical name, Noah is a Hebrew name meaning “rest” or “comfort.” In the Biblical story, Noah was the man who built a raft for the great flood, saving two of every animal.
As these names show, picking a name for your child can have much deeper meaning than first glance. Finding the Latin, old English, or other such translation before deciding on a name can give extra meaning to what you eventually settle on for your little one.