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."