Names, just like clothing styles, can go in and out of fashion. If you like to stay up-to-date on what’s trending, you will probably recognize some of this year’s top baby names. Some of the names are old ones that are experiencing a comeback, while others have a bit more of a modern ring to them. Whether new or old, this year is their time to shine. Here are the most popular baby names of 2017…so far. Did your favorite name make the cut?
The name Emma is quite popular, making the top 100 names in many European countries and holding the number one spot in the United States, Canada, Norway, and Belgium. Its universal appeal is no coincidence, considering that it actually comes from an ancient Germanic term meaning “universal.”
The name broke into the top ten in 2002 and has remained there since, dominating the list since 2014. If you give your baby girl this name, you can expect it to be paired with her last initial since there will be sure to be at least one more Emma in her class. Then again, with a name so lovely, who cares?
Once a nickname for the names “Uilliam” and “William,” Liam has come into its own and become the top-ranked male name of 2017. With superstars like Liam Neeson and Liam Hemsworth bearing the name, boys called Liam will be in good company in the years to come. The name has seen a huge surge in popularity in the past few years, finally earning top honors since remaining steady at the number two spot since 2013.
Here’s a fun bit of trivia for all you literary nerds out there. The name Olivia is generally viewed as the feminine version of the name Oliver, but it didn’t actually exist until William Shakespeare made it up in the early 17th century for his play Twelfth Night. It’s a testament to Shakespeare’s genius that centuries later, Olivia has achieved true immortality as one of the most popular baby names of 2017 proving that the Bard really did know what’s in a name.
The name Noah is an ancient one, dating back to Biblical times. Despite its age, the moniker is far from stuffy, though it has dropped down to the number two spot after being ranked the most popular male name of 2016. While it’s slightly less popular in 2017, Noah is a name with lasting power. It is derived from the Hebrew name Noach which means “rest” or “comfort.” How could a name like that not float your boat?
Short and sweet, Ava is currently clocked in at number three but could soon be poised to top the list of girls’ names. This classic name is a variation of the name “Eve” and is one of the most popular names in the world right now. It doesn’t hurt that Ava was the name of one of the 20th century’s most iconic actresses, Ava Gardner, but it was a well-known name even before the star cast her spell on the silver screen. If you’re looking for a timeless name that evokes beauty and grace, this is it.
The name Lucas has slowly been climbing up the list of popular boys’ names over the years, making its way to number three in 2017. The Latin form of the name Luke, Lucas is trending all over the place and is making its mark everywhere from Chile to New Zealand to Northern Ireland. The name is derived from the southern Italian region of Lucania, making it a good name choice for your future jet-setter.
A more elaborate version of the classic name Elizabeth, Isabella jumps up two places from the number six position last year to land at number four. This tried-and-true moniker has royal roots and was the given name of many medieval queens. Could this be the name of your own little princess? It’s a bit fancier than most of the other names on this list, but lends itself well to nicknames such as Bella.
The rise of this name coincides with the popularity of one of its namesakes, the Mason jar. Mason jars can be found everywhere these days, and have become a popular choice of drink ware at hip restaurants and weddings. If this trend continues, little boys named Mason will soon be everywhere as well. The fourth most popular boy name, Mason started its journey as a last name meaning “stoneworker” before making the leap to become a given name in its own right.
The name Sophia has been around for centuries and comes to the fifth spot on the list from ancient Greece. Meaning “wisdom,” the name became popular in the Middle Ages with European royals whose parents were perhaps hoping to bestow some wisdom upon their young leaders. The name dropped in popularity for quite some time but has been slowly making a comeback since the 1980s. It broke into the top ten in 2006 where it has since remained.
Olivia is trending on the list of top-ranked girls’ names, so it should come as no surprise that its male counterpart, Oliver, is not too far behind. Oliver takes the fifth spot on the boys list, up from number six last year. Once thought to be old-fashioned and outdated, Oliver has been making a comeback and tops the list through much of the English-speaking world. It’s also climbing the charts through much of Europe.
Short names are definitely in this year, as proved by the name Mia, which comes in at number six. This name is actually down one spot from last year but still beats out the name Maria for which it has traditionally served as a nickname. In addition to being a popular name throughout the world, Mia is also the Italian word for “mine,” making it a great name to remind your little girl that you will always love her.
Logan has jumped up five spots on the list of boy names, breaking into the top ten at number six. Originally a last name translating to “little hollow,” Logan emerged as a first name for boys. Since then, the name has quickly become gender neutral and is slowly starting to gain popularity among baby girls. The rising popularity of the name coincides with the 2017 release of the box office smash hit, Logan.
Amelia is inching closer towards the top spot, reaching number seven after being ranked eighth just last year. A variation of the name Amalia, the name Amelia first began to gain popularity in the 18th century as the name of two princesses, one the daughter of King George II and the other the daughter of King George III. In the 20th century, the name once again became well-known after Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean, became famous.
Dropping down from its spot in the top three last year, Ethan is the seventh most popular male name of 2017. Coming from the Hebrew name Eitan, the name means “solid” or “firm.” The name has been going strong for the past few decades, beginning its climb to the top of the list in the late 1980s. Today, it is perhaps most closely associated with the actor Ethan Hawke, or with the Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen.
This pretty French name comes in at number eight. The feminine form of the name Charles, Charlotte has been popular since the 17th century. The name has a long and powerful legacy and was borne by generations of European nobles. Most recently the name was given to Prince William’s second child, Princess Charlotte. It was also the name of Jane Eyre author Charlotte Brontë. Charlotte lends itself well to a number of nicknames, such as Charlie and Lottie.
Traditionally a name given to Jewish boys, Elijah has crossed over into the secular world to become a popular name with children of varied religious backgrounds. Taking the eighth spot on the list of boy names, the name Elijah dates back to Biblical times, being the given name of an Old Testament prophet. The name was also popular in medieval times, with popular variations including the Latinized form “Elias” and the English “Elis” the latter of which has since died out.
Originally a last name, Harper was once a work-related name for a player or a maker of harps. It slowly began to emerge as a given name, most notably as the name of To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee. Today, Harper is the ninth most popular female name, although it is also slowly starting to gain traction as a masculine name. Usage of the name Harper among boys has a long way to go to catch up, though, as it is only ranked 793.
The ninth-ranked male name, Aiden is derived from the old Irish name Áed, meaning “fire.” It was the name of several characters in Irish mythology. This mystical name is now most popular as a name for boys, although it is starting to see use as a girl name. While Aiden has not quite gained popularity as a feminine name, you might want to keep an eye on it because it’s probably only a matter of time before it starts popping up on lists of popular baby girl names.
While traditionally used as a nickname for longer names such as Eleanor and Ellen, this short and sweet name beats out its more formal counterparts to close out the top ten list of most popular baby names for girls. Despite its common use as a nickname, Ella actually is a name in its own right and comes from the German name Alia. Ella name jumped up to the number ten spot after being ranked sixteenth last year.
The tenth most popular name for baby boys is a classic. There’s no way you can really go wrong with James. The name has evolved a lot since its earliest days as the Hebrew name Ya’aqov. James has remained popular for almost a millennium, emerging as a popular masculine name in the 13th century. Since then, it has been the name of choice for many famous people ranging from poets to presidents to kings. This is clearly a name with a lot of staying power!
The year isn’t over yet
While these are the top baby names of 2017, the year is far from over and fame is fickle. There are many other gorgeous names that could take over the top ten by year’s end. The melodic Aria could well overtake one of the names on this list, or perhaps we could see Jacob or Madison climbing to the top. Whether or not these names stay at the top, they definitely deserve this time in the spotlight.