One of the many and varied joys of having children is giving them a name for life.
Many put a huge amount of research into something like buying a new car, even though it’s likely you’ll only keep it for a few years. So when it comes to naming your precious little someone, with that name to be at the absolute heart of their identity for the rest of their life, it makes sense to be even more diligent.
In fact, many believe that a name is so powerful that it can help to shape a person’s identity and self-esteem and how they are perceived and treated by others.
So as an exciting year begins and another 12 months of repopulation is set to begin, let’s count down the top trends coming into 2017 and dig into what these trendy names are all about.
As it originated from an English word, Grace is considered among the ever more popular ‘virtue names’ like Hope and Prudence. Perhaps popular because it exudes both kindness and strength, one famous bearer was Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco.
Not quite as popular as her Greek sister Sophia, Sophie is the French option, and a great choice for those picking from the top 10 who like the pretty ‘ee’ sound at the end of a girl’s name.
Emily dipped in popularity in 2015, but it was back with a bang in 2016. It originated from the male version Emil, meaning ‘rival’, although it’s also a variant of the Latin Aemilia which refers to eagerness or striving.
A truly feminine name is Chloe, originating from Greece and referring to the goddess of fertility. Also a biblical name, Chloe is regularly a popular choice for new baby girls as it means ‘young green shoot’.
Just like it was common among European royalty hundreds of years ago, Sophia – standing for ‘wisdom’ – is a great choice today for those seeking a classical, elegant name. Sophia, however, has slipped back a few spots in this list because of its huge popularity in the last few years.
The origin of Mia is that it was a shortened version of Maria, but it also translates directly in Italian as ‘mine’. Simple and feminine, the name began its rise in the 60s thanks to Mia Farrow.
It wasn’t too long ago that the biblical ‘Eve’ was a consistent top performer, but Ava is a derivative. ‘Avis’ is also Latin for ‘bird’, while ‘Chava’ means ‘life’ – so it’s not hard to see why this is a meaningful, popular modern choice.
In German, it actually means ‘work’, but Amelia is much more commonly regarded as being a beautiful, cheerful name for a baby girl. It was probably the origin of Emily, but Aemilia was a Shakespeare character and two Kings of England had daughters called Emilia.
In the top 3 now for a good few years, Olivia is another Shakespeare character but actor Olivia de Havilland is credited with giving it a major boost in the late 30s. It’s the feminine version of the also hugely popular Oliver, with the common link being the olive tree.
Just like in 2015, Charlotte is top of the pops again in 2016. Originally French, it’s a female version of Charles but Charlotte stands uniquely for its femininity, with Lotti and Charlie being lovely nickname versions in Australia.
We’ve all heard of Scotland’s Loch Ness monster – well Lachlan is Scottish too, with Lachlan given as a nickname for immigrants from Norway. But others say it’s a translation of ‘warlike’.
Originating from the biblical author Luke, Lucas is a name said to represent ‘illumination’, but it also has Greek origins, referring to people from the ancient Italian region of Lucania.
Ethan is a derivative of the Hebrew name Eitan, who is in the bible as the author of Psalm 89. The Psalm talks about God’s goodness, but Ethan also represents strength and faithfulness, while the actor Ethan Hawke gave the name a boost in the 1989 film Dead Poet’s Society.
Jackson is a truly modern surname, as it originated from the surname meaning ‘son of Jack’, although the late pop idol Michael Jackson is probably responsible for the recent popularity resurgence. The identically-pronounced ‘Jaxon’ is another extremely popular 2016 name.
The classic James has stood the test of time, all the way back to its biblical origins as Jacob, meaning one who follows. But since King James was the first Great British ruler, just about everyone knows a James!
He appears prominently in the New Testament as an apostle, memorably as ‘doubting Thomas’. This famous early sceptic gave several Saints their name and it’s been popular across the ages. The Greek origin of the word means ‘twin’.
The biblical names just keep on coming on the 2016 list, with the bible story famously telling of how Noah single-handedly rescued the animal kingdom in the great flood. Noah is enjoying a resurgence of popularity since 2014, but the Hebrew meaning is ‘rest’.
Think of your favourite movie and it’s likely it will have a ‘Jack’ in it – the most popular film character name ever. It’s the less formal derivative of John, but no longer just a nickname.
The origin is Germanic, but William is famously English, including William The Conquerer and William Shakespeare. Also giving rise to the popular Bill, Billy and of course Will, a virtue name that also stands for protection.
Olivia is a hugely popular girl’s name in 2016, and the male version is, of course, Oliver, which got its first boost in the 1800s with the famous novel Oliver Twist. Its massive popularity in Australia has been solid now for a decade.
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