Choosing the baby’s name is one of the most emotional aspects of pregnancy. While attempting to choose the soon-to-be-born child’s name, have you been conscious of avoiding ones that sound like they belong strongly to one nation or another? Does your spouse ever comment, “That name sounds too British or maybe even too American.” Many parents proudly give their baby a moniker that honors their heritage. With the influence of the internet there has become a globalization on baby names. It is often hard to judge where some baby names originate. Unique names, even those from other countries are now sounding like regular ol’ names.
Are there really strong cultural differences in baby-naming trends? Currently, Aussie names are all the rage. Possibly because there is current backlash from American television show Kath and Kim? If you would like to choose a name for your bub that clearly states ‘Made in Australia’, search no further than my ultimate list of Aussie names. Demographer Mark McCrindle claims Aussie parents are opting for sophistication and substance over quirky spellings. You be the judge. To satisfy your curiosity, here are the top 15 baby names for baby boys and baby girls in Australia:
For the third year in a row, Oliver has beaten out William to take top position for our sweet baby boys. Not only is Oliver the most popular in the entire country, it is also the number one pick in each of the six states. The name Oliver originated in Latin. In the Middle Ages, the name became well-known in Western Europe because of the French epic “La Chanson de Roland’, in which Oliver was a friend and advisor of the hero Roland.
In England, Oliver was a common medieval name. The name also became popular in the 19th century due to the title character in Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist which was about a poor orphan living on the streets of London. The meaning of the name Oliver is the olive tree. The biblical olive tree symbolizes fruitfulness, beauty and dignity. ‘Extending an olive branch’ signifies an offer of peace.
Charlotte has regained its top position on the girls’ list after taking a tumble to second place a few years back. The birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015 boosted Charlotte’s popularity along with it’s charming nicknames…Lottie and Charlie. Charlotte is a name with both English and French origins. The meaning of the name is free. It is also the feminine form of Charlie.
Charlotte is an elegant royal name with multiple role models, from Charlotte Bronte, to the band The Good Charlotte and maybe the most popular…the spidery protagonist of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. England’s Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of King George III was probably the first popular Charlotte. George and Charlotte ruled England during the French and American revolutions. Charlotte was the mother of fifteen children and a huge fan and patron of Mozart and Bach. Charlotte is an appealing name to a wide range of parents because not only does it sound feminine it is also sophisticated.
Both names in the number two spot have been popularized by Shakespeare. William (Shakespeare’s first name) means “strong, willed warrior and is also a popular name for Royalty in England. The name William originally came from the Germanic name Willahelm. Willahelm was composed of wil (which stands for desire) and helm (helmet protection). The name was common among the Normans and it became extremely popular in England from Willam the Conquerer, who was recognized as the first Norman king of England.
Immediately following William the Conquerer, three other English kings were named William as well as rulers in Sicily, Scotland, the Netherlands and Prussia. Most recently,the first born son of Prince Charles is named William. With this information it makes sense that people with the name William have a deep inner desire to use their abilities in leadership and to have personal independence. They would rather focus on large, important issues and delegate the details. Sounds like a king to me!
Olivia, a name thought to have been coined by Shakespeare, is a fictional character in Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night. Whether or not Shakespeare created this name, Olivia is a name with English origins. It was derived from the male name, Oliver. Oliver is a derivation of the old Norse name Aleifr.
In Latin the meaning of Olivia is peace and stands for strength and admirability. It has been said that people with the name of Olivia love change, adventure and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile. Olivia’s fight being restricted by rules and conventions.
They are optimistic, intelligent and make friends easily. If you choose the name Olivia for your baby the nicknames are darling and include Liv, Oli, Livvy and Libby. There are many famous Olivias, Olivia de Havilland, Olivia Wilde and Olivia Hussey. One of the more famous actresses/singers, who also happens to be Australian, is Olivia Newton-John.
Jack is a durable, cheery everyman form of John and has been the chosen name for dozens of celebs. A few that come to my mind include American actor Jack Nicholson, the American writer Jack London and Jack Kerouac. The meaning of Jack is God is gracious. Jack is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common and somehow it became a slang word meaning “man”.
The name Jack has been a favorite name used in fairy tales. To name a few, “Jack Sprat”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, and “Little Jack Horner.”Jack is an unusual name because it is frequently used as a verb and a noun for a variety of objects and actions. It is also used in many compound words and phrases. For example hijack, jack-in-the-box, jack o’lantern, jackhammer, jackknife, jackpot and lumberjack. The Encyclopedia Britannica linked the word Jack to the common name: “Jack, a word with a great variety of meanings and applications, all traceable to the common use of the word as a by=name or a man.”
Australian mums have a love affair with short three-lettered names for their little girls. Thanks to Ava Gardner the name Ava is stylish with a hint of mystery. Ava is a variation of Eve. The name Ava may have come from the Latin word “avis” which means bird. Or it could also be a short form of the name Chava, meaning life or living one. Whatever the origin of the name, there is no denying that Ava has staked her claim as one of the most popular baby names among millennial parents.
Something happened around the turn of the millennium to bolster the popularity of this underused “Old Hollywood” name. It may have been that newer celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe chose Ava for their baby’s name. Ava is a fascinating name because it is actually much more of an ancient name than its modern sound of three letters. St. Ava was the daughter of King Pepin and was cured of blindness and became a nun.
Noah is a strong, Biblical name which is perfect for a baby boy…short, simple and strong. The name Noah is derived from the Hebrew “nukhu”. The name is born in the Bible by the patriarch commanded by God to build the ark, upon which he saved his family and two of every species from the great flood. Noah is seen as the second progenitor of the human race.
The name Noah is most likely of Babylonian or Assyrian origin meaning repose or rest. There is another possible explanation of the name Noah which believes that Noah is derived from the Hebrew root meaning “to comfort”. People with the name Noah have a deep inner need for quiet and a desire to understand and analyze the world they live in and to learn the deeper truths of life. Noah is an intuitive name and one any child would be proud to be named after.
Amelia is a lovely Victorian name. Amelia is a variant of the medieval name Amalia and sometimes it gets confused with Emilia. The name became popular in England after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century The name Amelia was used by daughters of George II and George III. The Latin version of the name means “Industrious” and “striving”. That description fits one of the most famous Amelia.
Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean which gives this name even more spunk. Amelia is currently one of the hottest names going right now. It may be because many moms might associate Amelia with the wacky children’s book character they read in their youth. Or possibly some adults appreciate the character Shakespeare created in A Comedy of Errors. Amelia is also one of those names that is loaded with darling nick names, i.e. Mia, Amy, Lia and one made famous by a British actress. Amelia is the birth name of Minnie Driver.
Thomas is one of the most commonly used classic names used over time worldwide and it is given to over 7,000 little baby boys each year. The meaning for Thomas is twin. The name Thomas is simple, straightforward and strong. Rumor has it that Thomas came about because there were too many apostles named Judas so Jesus renamed one Thomas to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and the Judas also known as Thaddeus Thomas has a great variety of nicknames and variations (Tom or Tommie) attached to it, since it became a common name in most European countries. A foreign twist like “Tavish “or “Tuomas” may be a unique way to hold onto an old traditional name. Boys with the name of Thomas tend to be a powerful force to all whose lives they touch. They are capable charismatic leaders. If you are looking for a name with a lot of tradition behind it then Thomas is a great choice.
Mia is an appealing, unfussy name that has enjoyed a rise up the name charts. It is a charmingly modern name with history, springing from the name Maria. Mia is a shortened version of Maria and is also Italian for “mine”. Mia does not feel quite as trendy as its popularity trending might indicate. It is a likeable name yet does not stand out. Mia sidesteps all the curlicues and ruffles attached to names like Isabella and Olivia, yet it is distinctly feminine. Mia is a name with something for everyone. It is simple and modern yet also has depth and history. Mia’s success is largely attributed to Mia Farrow, born Maria. Her name entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 1964, the very year that Farrow gained wide attention for her role on the night time soap Peyton Place.
Biblical boys names are perennial favorites and appear on popular baby names lists year after year. James is a perfect example. James is not only the name of one apostle in the New Testament, but two. James is a strong name of Kings, Presidents and the fictional British spy, James Bond. In the 17th century the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne, becoming the first ruler of all Britain. Following his term of service the name James rose in popularity.
James is a classic boys’ name derived from the Hebrew name Jacob. It means “supplanter” or one who follows. The name of James is not only popular in Australia, in the U.S, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England, James is a name that has been in the top 10 for decades. People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community and a need to work with others and to be appreciated.
The name Chloe comes from Greek mythology (Greek Goddess of agriculture and fertility Demeter) and also the bible. (Chloe is a convert mentioned by St. Paul) The name means “blooming” or “young green shoot” symbolizing springtime and new growth. Not only is the name Chloe mentioned in the New Testament, Chloe appears in Uncle Tom’s Cabin and is the real name of Nobel prize-winning writer Toni Morrison.
Girls with this name have a deep inner desire to inspire others in a higher cause and to share their own strongly held views on spiritual matters. Chloe eschews femininity and fashion. In 1952 Gaby Aghion named her Parisian luxury ready-to-wear fashion designs, Chloe. Famous Chloes’ include Chloe Lukasiask (dancer), Chloe Alison (singer), and Khloe (spelled with a K) Kardashian (socialite)
L names have had a long run at the top of baby names lists, but it seems E names are on the ascension with Ethan and Emily.
The name Ethan stands for strong, safe and firm. In the Old Testament, Ethan is praised for being a wise man. The name Ethan was given a big boost when the Tom Cruise character from the Mission Impossible movies became popular. Ethan has been successful at being a classic name. It is also fashionable, serious, cheery, strong and even sensitive. His prime historic namesake is Ethan Allen who was a Revolutionary War hero or for those who don’t follow history…Ethan Allen is a designer furniture chain. In literature the name is associated with Ethan Frome. Ethan Hawke, an actor, is a more current namesake. Including Australia, Ethan has been in the top 10 names in the U.S., England, Wales and Scotland.
Emily is a feminine English name which comes from the Latin name Aemilia. The root word aemulus means ‘rival’. Emily is also a form of an English, Spanish, German, Latin Dutch and Italian girl name, Amelia in the English language. Another explanation for the name comes from the Greek name Amalia, which means friendly, tender and kind.
All the Emily’s I have known fit the Greek meaning! The name Emily has been a popular name since the 1700’s. Depending on which country you live the name Emily has risen and fallen in popularity. With an exception to England and Wales, the name Emily has always been in the top 10 for girls. Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte have both helped to give the name Emily literary associations.
There is a bridge in Stowe, Vermont called Gold Brook Covered Bridge that is known as ‘Emily’s Bridge’. The bridge is haunted by a ghost named Emily. All stories told about this Emily ghost…run down by horses, a spurned lover or broken-hearted, end with Emily plunging into the river below or hanging herself from the bridge. Never-the-less, Emily is a lovely name.
There is something very trendy about little boy names that start with the letter L. Note that the final three of our top ten boys names begin with the L letter.
Lucas is a form of Luke or Lucius, meaning “light-giving’ or “illumination” Luke, another biblical name, is the author of the third gospel of the New Testament. In Hebrew, the biblical name of Lucas means ‘bringer of light or morning’. The most famous Lucas was a physician in Rome and an early convert to Christianity. He became friends with Paul and was his companion during his imprisonment. Lucas wrote one of the four gospels describing the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The nickname Luke is the name used in the Bible. The Greeks claim ownership of Lucas saying the name comes from a personal name, Greek Loukas or ‘man from Lucania’. Lucania is a region of southern Italy thought to have been named in ancient times meaning ‘bright or shining’.
Sophie is derived from the Greek word for wisdom. Sophie comes directly from the name Sophia. This was the name of an early, probably mythical saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. The story is told that Sophia was born in Italy and had three daughters: Faith, Hope and Charity. The girls were named after virtues mentioned by Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. The guards took Sophia’s daughters one by one, from oldest to youngest and tortured them to death in an attempt to force their mother to renounce her faith in Christ. Afterwards, Sophia buried her daughters’ bodies and remained by their graves for three days until she died herself. Saint Sophia is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church on September 17. Kind of a gruesome story, but don’t let it stop you from using the name Sophie. Sophie is the cuter, more irreverent twin to Sophia. She is lively and down-to-earth. Sophie is a generally a smart and beautiful girl.
Liam means strong-willed warrior and protector. It is a shortened form of the Irish name Uilliam and also a version of William. Liam began as a short form of William, but has become so popular it now stands on its own. Now it is in the Top 10 in Australia and the U.S it is the fastest-rising Irish name. Liam is a common name amongst soccer players. It might be because of Irish-born actor Liam Neeson or former Oasis member Liam Gallagher. My bet is One Direction member Liam Payne has been driving the name Liam up the charts. Until the end of the 18th century, Liam was virtually unknown outside of Ireland. In the mid-1850’s, over a million and a half people left Ireland to escape the catastrophic great famine and from then on, Irish names were heard everywhere. Jaunty and richly textured, the name Liam could go all the way to the top!
The name Grace is derived from the Latin word gratia. Grace was one of the virtue names created in the 17th century by the Puritans. Grace has been described as “One of the most luminous of names”, probably because of elegance of Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco. Grace stands for goodness and generosity. Latin ties it to “God’s grace,” and Greek mythology ties it to beauty, blossom and joy. The name Grace is not only popular in Australia, add the U.S., Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and Canada to the list. Who would have thought a virtuous name such as Grace would become so trendy? The name Grace has been chosen for their children by celebrities such as Mark Wahlberg or Ed Burns. If Grace is too overused for your daughter, but you still love the name, consider an exotic variation like Engracia or Grazielia.
Lachian is a favorite not only in Australia but England and Scotland. It is as Scottish as tartan plaid kilts. Lachian is an ancient name originally used to describe the Viking invaders of Scotland from the land of the Lochs. Loch is Scottish for lake. Lachlan, a derivitive that means “Lord of the Lochs” and was originally meant as a Scotish title for someone who owned a Scottish lake. This is a great name, incredible strong and handsome for a boy. Lachian has been described as the name for a lively, authoritarian, self-assured and passionate man who needs to be physically active and always moving forward. Lachian is an extremely popular name in Australia, ranking in the top 10 every year for the last decade. Outside of Australia is is not nearly as common. I have never heard of someone naming their baby Lachian. I am not even sure how to pronounce it. I would like to meet a Lachian!
Ella appears in the short form of multiple names for girls. Just a sample of a few of those names; Eleanor, Isabella, Gabriella, Ellen, Elanor, Luella, Jesabelle, all go by the name Ella. It is simple, its sweet and parents who think they prefer a longer name usually end up calling their sweet daughter, Ella. With that many names, there are also many meanings. The two I liked the best included “light” and “beautiful fairy woman”.
Ella is so popular because It sounds both vintage and modern at the same time. The name had not been overly used for a few generations, so a lot of parents are choosing Ella because it sounds fresh. Currently there are an awful lot of little girls running around named Ella—along with those called Ellie and Bella. If you are looking for a unique twist on Ella that has not been used, try naming your little girl Arabella…it is a wine farm in South Africa that few have heard of.