10 Most Popular Girl's Names


What will you call your little one?
What will you call your little one?
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Naming your child is never an easy decision, unless you have the obligation or desire to choose a family legacy. A lot of thought should go into choosing a name. After all, your child will ideally use it for the rest of her life; unless, that is, she feels you've chosen poorly and elects to change it. Yes, that name that you spent hours thoughtfully brainstorming and arguing with your spouse over. You can attempt to avoid this by choosing from the current 10 most popular girl's names. At least if your daughter hates it, she'll be in good company.

10
Mia

Slavic in origin, as Milka, Milena or Milenka, the popular girl's name Mia means "dear" or "darling girl." This sweet sentiment may be one reason that Mia is a top 10 girl's name. Interestingly, Mia is not only popular in England and the United States, but also in Germany and the Philippines, making it the most versatile name on the list. Also worth mentioning, it didn't even land on the radar of the United States until the 1950s. If you end up having a darling girl, then Mia is a name you might want to consider.

9
Chloe

The name Chloe has been gaining steam with regularity since the 1970s and is currently peaking in 2012 as the ninth-most-popular female name in the United States. The name is Greek in origin, meaning "young green shoot," and is often linked to growth and fertility in antiquity.

There are many spellings and variations of the name, depending on where you're from, but the standard C-h-l-o-é is how it's generally spelled in the U.S. If you want to avoid the Kardashian association, stay away from the "k."

8
Madison
It's not just the name of a fashion-forward street anymore.
It's not just the name of a fashion-forward street anymore.
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It's the name of the capital of Wisconsin, a famous avenue in New York City, and the eighth most popular girl's name in the United States. If you guessed Madison, then you get the prize -- or you saw the title of the page. The name Madison was barely even used for a girl's name until 1985, existing almost exclusively as a surname in the late 1800s, and disappearing as a first name almost altogether for 60 years or so. The exception was naming boys Madison in the late 1800s through roughly the 1950s. Some trace the rise in making it a girl's name to the movie 1984 movie "Splash," in which actress Daryl Hannah played a mermaid who named herself for the New York avenue.

7
Abigail

Keeping with the trend of dipping back a few hundred years for inspiration, Abigail comes in at No. 7 on the list of most popular female names in the United States. The interesting thing about Abigail is that it was only marginally popular in the late 1800s before nearly disappearing for more than 50 years. In the 1980s and '90s, parents rediscovered the name with a vengeance. It's originally a Hebrew name, Avigail, meaning "father's joy" or "father rejoice." If your husband rejoices at the news of a daughter, then Abigail might be a great choice for a name.

6
Emily

If you're looking for a name that has stood the test of time, then Emily pretty much takes the cake. It was popular in the mid-to-late 1800s, dipped some until the 1950s, and has been in the top 75 girl's names since the 1970s. Latin for "eager," Emily is believed to have originally derived from the Roman name, Aemilia. Emily is not only popular in the United States, but the UK, Australia and New Zealand, as well. If Emily is the name you choose, your daughter will be among notable female writers with Dickinson and Brontë, and a Nobel Prize winner in Emily Greene Balch.

5
Ava

Ava, believed to perhaps be a variant of the name Eve, is a very popular name in the UK as well as the United States, where it ranks No. 5 on the popularity list. There's no single place to trace the current popularity of the name, but it did come into prominence in the 1950s when actress Ava Gardner was on the silver screen. And like most old-fashioned names, it has become quite popular since the early 1990s. If you choose Ava for your daughter, know that it means "life," "blooming" or "birdlike."

4
Olivia
This Olivia seems pretty peaceful, living up to her name.
This Olivia seems pretty peaceful, living up to her name.
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Keeping with the trend of blowing the dust off of older names, Olivia clocks in at No. 4 on the list of top 10 girl's names from 2011. If you have a flair for the literary, you can't do much better. Rumor has it that William Shakespeare himself made up the name Olivia for his play "Twelfth Night." Despite its impressive origins, the name itself didn't become very popular until the 1990s, and has since exploded. Its origins lie in Latin, but it can be translated into several different meanings, depending on what language you're using. But they all have similar themes, from "peace" and "kind one" to "olive tree."

3
Emma

Jane Austen used the name Emma Woodhouse as the title character of her popular novel from 1815. Perhaps because of that book, the name actually peaked in the 1800s as one of the most popular girls names in the world. Thanks to the trend of using old school names in the new millennium, Emma saw a big comeback after some very low numbers in the 1970s. It didn't hurt its popularity that Ross and Rachel from "Friends" also named their little girl Emma. In 2011, it was the third most popular girl's name in the United States. Even though you may simply be enchanted by the simplicity of the name, you might be interested to know that it means "all-embracing" in German.

2
Sophia

Your daughter can join the ranks of the Coppolas and the Lorens if you choose to go with the second most popular girls name from 2011, according to the Social Security Administration. The name Sophia was fairly popular in the late 1800s in the United States before dying off a great deal in the 1930s and 40s. But since the early 1990s, this name, meaning "wisdom" in Greek, has boomed big time. You can go with the formal Sophia or shorten to Sophie if you like.

1
Isabella

Any fans of the Twilight book series shouldn't be surprised to learn that Isabella was the most popular girl's name in 2011. The popular vampire trilogy from author Stephenie Meyer has certainly made quite an impact on the masses, especially considering that Jacob was the most popular boy's name right alongside Isabella. This is unfortunate news for Team Edward.

Despite its current pop-lit inspiration, the name is actually a very old Romance language moniker, meaning "consecrated to God" in both Hebrew and Spanish. Naming your daughter Isabella will also add a royal flair, as she'll share the name with more than a dozen Queens throughout history.

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  • "Emily Greene Balch." Nobelprize.org. March 17, 2012. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1946/balch-bio.html
  • "Isabella." Familyeducation.com. March 17, 2012. http://baby-names.familyeducation.com/name-meaning/isabella
  • "Olvia." Familyeducation.com. March 17, 2012. http://baby-names.familyeducation.com/name-meaning/olivia
  • "Popular Baby Names." Ssa.gov. March 17, 2012. http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/
  • "The Baby Name Wizard." Babynamewizard.com. March 17, 2012. http://www.babynamewizard.com
  • "Top Baby Names of 2012." Parenting.com. March 17, 2012. http://www.parenting.com/gallery/most-popular-baby-boy-girl-names-2012
  • "What's Old Is New: 150 Old Fashioned but Trendy Baby Names." Babyhold.com. March 17, 2012. http://www.babyhold.com/babynames/Tips/popular_old_fashioned_baby_names/