The last time I wrote a baby name article, I think I mentioned that my partner and I were having a difficult time coming to an agreement about a name. Well, we're no nearer to getting it resolved! Ridiculous, I know, especially since we're past the half way point now. He's more than happy to wait until the baby is born before we name him/her, whereas I want to be prepared!
For the record, I've always found names for girls much easier to choose than names for boys, and have a list that goes on for days.
My partner wants an English name for our baby, whereas I want a Scandinavian name. I'm interested in choosing a name that is out of the ordinary, whereas my partner wants to use something too ordinary.
In this article, I'm going to introduce you to 20 names taking the UK by storm right now. Some of them you will be familiar with, others will hopefully come as a pleasant surprise. The upsides of choosing a name that's big in the UK is that they tend to be the sorts of names that are easily pronounceable as well as used and accepted world over.
I am going to start with Ava, which happens to be one of my favourite names on the list! A variant of Eve, Ava currently stands as the 5th most popular name for girls in the UK and I can't say that I'm really all that surprised.
Ava is one of those girls names that is uber popular with celebrities. Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe have a daughter called Ava Elizabeth (quite a beautiful combination, don't you think?). Heather Locklear also happened to like this combo and have her daughter the same first and middle names.
Ava means 'life' or 'living one,' which is up there with some of the most beautiful meanings you could hope for. Personally, I think this name has a gorgeous, calming vibe about it, and it's one I would consider for my daughter.
The name Mason originates from and English surname meaning 'stoneworker,' and it's currently the 34th most popular name in the UK. It's a handsome, masculine name with several variant spellings available, including Masen, Mayson and Maysinn.
Someone mentioned that if you call your son Mason, they might get teased with the name Mason Jar. Personally I think this association is erring slightly on the side of ridiculous, and comes from someone who wants to make trouble for the sake of making trouble. All the Masons I have known - and I know a few - have never been bullied about their name.
Some celebrities which have opted to use the name Mason for their children include Mellissa Joan Heart and Kourtney Kardashian. Once cute nickname you could opt for is Mace.
Another personal favourite here! Mia is the Scandinavia diminutive of Maria, though it also has connections with the Italian word mia which means 'mine.'
In the UK, Mia is the 10th most popular name for girls, and that isn't surprising at all. It's simple and feminine with a touch of artsy sophistication about it. Mia is also impossible to forget! It works just as beautifully on a newborn baby girl as it does on an adult woman.
I mentioned that my partner and I were struggling to agree on names? Well Mia is one that we actually both agreed on! It was the exceptional Mia Farrow who first introduced me to this stunning name about 15 years ago, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since.
James is an illustrious name which goes way back in time, and is mentioned in The Bible and the New Testament. It has been in use in England since the 13 century, though it was more popular in Scotland, where it was the name of several kings, including the 17th century ruler James VI who inherited to English throne.
Other famous bearers include the English explorer Captain James Cook, the Irish poet and novelist James Joyce and the fictional British spy James Bond. It's currently the 12th most popular name in the UK. Potential nicknames that you could use include Jim and Jimmy.
I have bumped into a few people called James in my time, and they have always seemed to be smart, handsome and motivated, humble, quiet and exceedingly kind.
It really didn't come as a shock to discover that Amelia is topping the popularity charts in the UK - it's currently the 2nd most popular name for girls. I don't think I can remember a time when it wasn't a popular choice! It does have something of a vintage feeling about it, but it's subtle enough not to be an issue.
I love the nickname Millie, which is just as warm, friendly and sweet as Amelia is. Other potential nicknames include Mae, Lia, Melia and Mills, all of which I can't help but fall in love with.
One combination that I love with this name is Amelia Lily. (Amelia Lily Oliver is an English pop singer who starred in the eighth series of The X Factor UK back in 2011.)
Ranked as the 26th most common name for boys in the UK Logan is from a surname which originates from a Scottish place name meaning 'little hollow' in Scottish Gaelic. It is one of those masculine names which you would immediately recognise in Scotland. (Though you will also be familiar with it because it's the name of Wolverine from X-Men.)
While I thought that it was a relatively new phenomenon to give your child the first name Logan, as it turns out, one mom found out the name of her son dates back to the mid 1800's in her family.
You might be interested to know that the second highest peak in North America is actually called Mount Logan. While a lot of people are against using it as a girl's name, Logan is a unisex choice.
Olivia is as classy as classy gets! First used by William Shakespeare in his comedy Twelfth Night in 1602 this name has a long history. There's speculation that he may have based the name on Oliver or that he may have taken his inspiration from the Latin word olea which means 'olive.'
Olivia has been used in the English speaking word since the 18th Century, but it was only in the last half of the 20th Century that is began to become popular. In the UK it is currently the most popular name for girls.
Olivia is a pretty and simultaneously strong name, making it the perfect choice for a little girl born in 2017/18. My favourite nickname would have to be Liv which is just perfection in every sense of the word.
I never actively disliked the name Jack, but then Captain Jack Sparrow came along and changed that. But please, don't let my childishness ruin this name for you! At the moment Jack is the 4th most popular name for boys in the UK.
Jack is actually the medieval diminutive of John and was especially common during the Middle Ages. It actually became a slang word meaning 'man,' and can be found used frequently in nursery rhymes and fairy tales.
It's a short, simple and tasteful name that withstands the test of time. It's just as easy to imagine a baby boy carrying this name, as it is to imagine a dad of four with a 9-5. Three famous bearers include writers Jack London and Jack Kerouac and actor Jack Nicolson.
This ancient Greek name has soured in popularity in recent years. Back in 2005 only 18 girls in the UK were given the name Aria. But astonishingly, it's popularity has increased by 3,000% in 10 years and in 2015, 562 girls received the name.
The increase in popularity may have something to do with G.R.R. Martin's Game Of Thrones, and the character Arya Stark, which is a variant spelling of Aria, though it is pronounced in exactly the same way.
Meaning 'song,' 'melody' or 'air' in Italian, as an English name Aria has only been used since the 20th century. Surprisingly, it's not a common choice in Italy. In my opinion, it has an ethereal, 'not of this world' feeling about it. Despite its rise in popularity, it's not a name that you'll hear used wherever you go.
Noah is much more popular in the UK than I could have imagined. As it stands, it's the 6ht most common name in the UK. (It's also a hot choice in Scandinavia, especially Norway.) The name originates from the Hebrew name Noach which means 'rest' or 'comfort.' As told by the Old Testament, Noah was the builder of the Arc which saved him, his family and two animals of each species to survive the Great Flood.
As an English name, Noah has been in use since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century. It's a short, simple, strong name, used by the likes of Radiohead front man Thom Yorke for his son. One anxiety that a few parents share is that Noah will share the same fate as the name Jason, which is now viewed as 'pretty 1970's-1980's.'
The Scottish name Isla is a variant of the name Islay, and it comes from the Gaelic word Ailceah which means 'rocky place.' Isla is also the Spanish word for Island. I initially thought that Isla was pronounced as it is written, but apparently it's actually pronounced EYE-lah.
One mom called her daughter Isla because they live in Ireland and her birth reminded her of the calm waves and serenity of their home. I have witnessed the rise in popularity of this name, and I think it's just a good thing. This name needs to be heard more!
One famous bearer you may be familiar with is Isla Fisher. And if you're a big Harry Potter fan, you'll remember that Isla Black is Sirius Black's Great-Great Aunt. I have read comments from some people who think that it sounds 'trashy,' but I couldn't disagree more.
Oscar has one of the most intriguing meanings on all of this list behind it, and means 'man of fire.' It's a strong name that has seen a huge revival in recent years, and is currently the 10th most popular name in the UK. One of the most notable bearers of the name would have to be the Irish writer and humorist Oscar Wilde.
Again, like with Oliver, some people have the tendency to think that the name Oscar is one that ought to be given to pets not people. Or that you shouldn't call your child Oscar because of the association with Oscar the Grouch. And again, I have to disagree! This name has spirit about it, something more than most other names, though I can't put my finger on what that 'more' is exactly. Hopefully you'll get what I mean.
It was inevitable that Freya - pronounced FRAY-ah - was going to turn up on this list! I love, love, love this name, but the fact that nearly every second girl seems to be called it is making me less enthusiastic about giving it to my little girl. (If the baby IS a little girl!)
But don't let me stop you from taking it into consideration! The fact that it's hugely popular in the UK (though not yet in the US!) doesn't take away from the fact that it's a gorgeous, strong name with a fascinating history.
From the Old Norse Freyja which means 'lady,' Freya was the goddess of love, beauty, war and death in Norse mythology. Though the spelling Freya isn't usually used in Scandinavia, where instead they opt for Freja.
Theo is a short form for the names Theodore and Theobald, as well as other names which begin with Theo. It's currently the 29th most popular name in the UK and from what I have seen, it's only going to grow in popularity.
Originating in Greece, the name Theo means 'divine gift.' I don't know what you think, but to me, this name has always had a slightly exotic and mysterious feeling to it. It's a name that's something a little bit different, but not too different.
One of my best friends at school was called Theo and I can remember that there was always a debate about how his name was pronounced. I always pronounced it THEE-o but most of the teachers pronounced it Fee-oh. I even heard it pronounced Tay-o at some point.
The name Grace comes, rather simply, from the English word grace, which derives from Latin gratia. It was 'created' as a name in the 17th century by the Puritans. One famous bearer you are bound to be familiar with is the late Grace Kelly.
While some people think it's 'horrible' and 'sounds like the name of an 80 year old woman,' I actually think the opposite. There's something so gentle, soft and sweet with this name, and I have met several little girls called Grace who wear their name beautifully and with pride.
One mom called her daughter HanaGrace Leila Rose which I think is almost too lovely to be true. Her daughter ended up loving the name Grace so much that she prefers to go by Grace instead of any other of her given names.
In Medieval England, Oliver was a common name, but became something of a rarity after the 17th century. It saw a revival in the 19th century which may have had something to do with Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist. Now it is the most popular name for boys born in the UK. An interesting fact for you to mull over is that in English, Oliver is an old slang word for the moon.
I read an amusing comment which said that 'Oliver is a good name for a cat,' to which I concur. But I also think it makes a great name for a little human boy to grow into! Someone else said that it sounds 'stuffy' and 'outdated,' which I heavily disagree with. I think that Oliver is one of those special, timeless names.
I have had a quiet obsession with the name Emily ever since I was a child. Interestingly, it only became common in the English speaking world in the 18th Century, a lot later than I would have presumed. It's currently the 3rd most popular name for girls in the UK.
One of the most famous bearers has to be Emily Brontë, author of the classic novel Wuthering Heights. I have actually met quite a few women who have been greatly inspired by the novel and its author, and have decided that, if they were to have a baby girl, they would call her Emily.
I have always thought Emily to be a lovely name, and the potential nicknames, including Em, Emmy and Milly are just as sweet. One Emily said she was given the name because her parents were unable to decide between the names Emma and Lily.
Originating from the Latin word leo meaning 'lion,' Leo is a name that dates back to the 5th century. It is also the name of a constellation as well as the fifth sign of the zodiac, and the most widely accepted of all 12. If you did decide to go with Leo, at least your son would have plenty to talk about if anyone asked him about the story behind his name!
It's currently the 13th most popular name in the UK and interestingly, but perhaps not all the surprisingly, some parents have given it to their child because they wished for them to be 'lion hearted.'
I have encountered several Leos in my lifetime, and they have always been deeply intelligent, wildly creative and enthusiastic to the point that it can get exhausting after a while!
My mom's name is Rose (it's actually Rosemary but few actually call her that...) so I will always have an affiliation with this name. It was the Normans who introduced the name to England, though it looked somewhat different back then and appeared as Roese and Rohese. I think both of those spellings are so intriguing!
This sweet, simple, feminine name had a revival in the 19th century, and it's currently ranked as the 62nd most popular name for girls. One of my favourite fictional Roses would have to be Rose Dewitt Bukater (played by Kate Winset) one of the main characters in James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic.
It has an element of popularity with celebrities, too. In 2008 actress Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban named their daughter Rose. If you are looking for something a bit longer, you could try Rosalinda, Rosalie or Roselyn.
As I started with one of my favourite female names, I'm going to end with one of my male favourites! (Actually, come to think about it, Ava and Arlo would pair together beautifully for a set of twins...)
Pronounced AR-loh, the meaning of the name Arlo isn't certain, but it's thought to perhaps be inspired by the fictional place name Arlo Hill from the 1590 poem The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser.
It may also be Anglo Saxon in origin and mean 'army' or 'war.' Despite its associations, it does come across as a friendly and approachable name! In Italy, Arlo is actually a variant of Charles. Arlo is currently the 49th most popular name, but I have a feeling it's going to rocket higher very soon. Don't let the connection with war cloud your judgement too much. If you like the name, do some deeper reading and come to the conclusion yourself.
Sources: BehindTheName.com, GoodToKnow.co.uk, TheTelegraph.co.uk
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