Choosing a baby name can go one of two ways: both parents easily settle on a name or the whole name-choosing process is tortuous and drawn-out. It’s rather discouraging to have found “the perfect name” only to have your significant other reel in disgust. There’s a reason they say “You don’t know how many people you dislike until you try to name a baby”. Plain and simple, naming a baby is hard.
A long time ago, naming a baby was as simple as passing down the family name; it is why there were so many Charles' and Henrys and Richards who ruled over England. Speaking of England, parents today have added to the stress of naming a baby by seeking out potential names from other cultures, and the good ol’ UK has been dishing out some good names.
We know Olivia and Oliver are popular UK-based names, but what other gems can we expect from the UK? By taking a look at what is currently popular in the UK, we can see that there are many trending types of names: “virtue names”, nature names (floral and bird), and old-fashioned names seem to be rising in the UK, and that trend should spread here. Here are 25 UK baby names that will take over America in the next 5 years.
If you look up the name Daisy, you’ll see that it originated as a nickname for Margaret. That may seem odd, but here’s a quick lesson: Marguerite, the French version of Margaret, means “flower”. However, Daisy has made a comeback in the UK after dipping on the charts for over 100 years. And Daisy is coming back as a standalone name – no need to keep Margaret hanging around.
In 2017, Daisy ranked 22nd in the UK and 109th in America. It shouldn’t be too long before we see more Daisies crossing the pond.
Literature fans know the name Daisy from The Great Gatsby and Daisy Miller. Literature isn’t the only place Daisy is popping up; both Meg Ryan and Jamie Oliver have daughters named Daisy. But don’t let the sweet sounding name put you off, Daisy can be a tough girl too, as seen in Daisy Johnson from Agents of Shield.
Another floral name, Ivy is climbing the charts in the UK. Ranked at #24 in the UK, Ivy is showing that it's got major potential. What’s the appeal of this botanical name? Not only does it sound pleasant and feminine, it has a pretty solid meaning. In the botanical world, all flowers and plants have a “meaning” – that’s why we give red roses to lovers and yellow roses to friends. Ivy, thanks to the climbing and clinging nature of the plant, is associated with faithfulness and fidelity.
We know this name is going to take America by storm because it has already climbed to the #112 spot, the highest it has ever been in our country.
Looking for an Ivy namesake? Try Ivy Compton-Burnett, a British author, or explore the many fictional Ivies including Ivy from Downton Abbey.
A beautiful name meaning “air”, Aria is an Italian name that is rapidly popping up throughout the UK. Aria is also a musical term for a particular type of melody. Think classic Italian opera. Aria is also an Italian Saint’s name: Aria of Rome. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise then that Aria is popular throughout Europe - it sounds beautiful and is rooted in Italian music and culture. Ranked at #18 in the UK in 2017, Aria actually isn’t too far behind on the American lists (#23 on Namberry).
Aria’s growing popularity in America is likely due to Aria from Pretty Little Liars and Arya from Game of Thrones. Want something similar? Try Arianna or Aryana instead. Aria pairs well with siblings named Luna, Charlotte, Harper, Gemma, and Seraphina.
Despite sounding like the “sky”, Skye actually refers to an island off the coast of Scotland, not the sun-and-clouds type of sky. A quick Google image search should clue you in super-fast as to why this name is so popular in the UK. Skye, the island, looks like a magical place straight out of the fairy tales with mossy green cliffs, vibrant waters, and towering waterfalls. I may just move there myself.
Thinking about the name Skye, it’s easy to picture a little girl with mysterious eyes and a heart full of beauty; beauty that can take your breath away – just like the beauty of the Scottish isle itself. It’s no surprise that Skye ranks as number 39 in Scotland and 116 in Wales. Although Skye is currently 417 on the American charts, there’s no doubt that this beautiful name will “sky”rocket to the top of our charts within the next few years.
Although the “virtue names” (such as Faith, Hope, Charity, Constance) are popular in America, there is one more virtue name that has yet to grow as popular stateside. UK parents who want to choose a virtue name have found favor with Felicity, a name meaning “happy” or “good fortune.” Maybe you remember Felix the cat? Both Felix and Felicity come from the same Latin root word meaning “lucky.” What’s not to love about this name? A feminine sound and a very good meaning.
Felicity from The Green Arrow series shows that girls named Felicity can be smart, beautiful, and lucky. Felicity is also the name of an American Girl doll. Looking for a slightly different name? Try Felicia or Felice. Felicity pairs well with siblings named Clara, Evangeline, Florence, Max, Henry, and Sean.
Claire has been popular name choice for quite some time, but between Clara and Claire, the European name lists have been showing a strong preference for Clara. Clara ranks well on US charts (at #99), but European charts reflect the love of Clara: England at #88, Ireland at #73, and Portugal at #18.
According to Numerology, girls named Clara have a deep desire for love; they seek harmony, companionship, and peace. Despite the desire for love and peace, Clara is not “high in the sky”; she is also practical and competent. Bright indeed!
Famous Claras include St. Clara, Ewan McGregor’s daughter, Clara Schumann, a composer, and Clara Barton, the woman who founded the Red Cross. Need a sibling's name to go along with Clara? Try Alice, Anna, Clementine, or Ivy.
While many Americans might recognize this name from the musician Imogen Heap, Imogen has roots in the UK dating back to Shakespeare’s time. Imogen was actually a typo from one of Shakespeare’s printers! Oops! The original name in the play was Innogen, a Celtic name meaning maiden. The name stuck around, however, especially in the UK. English parents have loved the name for centuries!
It is pronounced as IHM-eh-jen. Imogen has not yet been on American’s top 1000 list, which means there is plenty of time for you to snag this name before all your friends do! Imogen is a hip yet feminine name that shows off a little bit of cultural know-how. Plus, you get to use cute nicknames like Immy (like Emmy for Emily).
Fatima is a lovely girl’s name that is growing throughout the UK as well as the rest of Europe. Perhaps many people have heard of the town Fatima in Portugal; the name, however, is Arabic in origin – not Portuguese. Fatima is an Arabic name meaning “captivating.” It can also be translated as “a woman who abstains”. Fatima is also one of the four perfect women mentioned in the Qu’ran.
Fatima’s popularity in England indicates that this name may grow in popularity stateside as well. In 1996, Fatima was ranked as #253, but by the time 2016 rolled around, the name sprung up to #122 on the list of popular girl names. Not too shabby!
Need sibling names for Fatima? Try Nicklebee (hey, it’s what the Brits have been doing), Trev, Hetti, or Tania.
Americans might recognize the name Esme from the Twilight series: Esme Cullen was Edward’s “mom”. Esmé, often written with the accent mark, is much more than just a name for vampire lovers. Esmé is a French name meaning “esteemed” or “beloved.” The name looks beautiful in print, but to hear the name said out loud? It is soft, feminine, and pretty – everything you could ask for in a girl’s name.
As a French name, it’s understandable that it would gain some popularity in the UK, but the name fits quite well into American culture; it’s not as awkward as some French names can be (to non-French speakers, that is.)
Esme pairs well with siblings named Sebastian, Cora, Ezra (although that might be a little too matchy-matchy for my taste), Luna, and Atticus.
What could be more British than Henry? I mean, there were several King Henry’s! You might think that the UK would get tired of good ol’ Henry, but Henry is still popular in the UK. (Although, it is technically German in origin, the Brits have claimed Henry as one of their own.) Meaning “estate ruler”, Harry continues to be a tried-and-true name. Henry isn’t too bad on the American lists either, at #22, but I predict that it will continue on its upward trend and break into the top 10 within the next five years or so.
Popular Henrys include Henry Ford, Henry Miller, and Henry Aaron – you might know him as Hank Aaron. If Henry isn’t your jam, consider some spinoffs of the name, which include Henri, Henderson, Hal, Hank, and Harry.
Logan, meaning “little hollow”, was born in the UK; this name was originally a Scottish last name. It shouldn’t be a surprise then how popular this name is with UK parents. In the UK, Logan takes the #7 spot for most used boys’ names.
Logan is popular in America (#18), but it’s still not quite as popular as the name is in the UK, particularly Scotland. So what’s the deal with Logan growing in popularity in America within the next few years? Of course, Logan for a boy will continue to trend upwards, but I think the real trendsetter will be Logan as a girl’s name.
Whether you choose Logan for a baby girl or baby boy, it pairs well with Riley, Evan, Carter, Blake, Ash, Charlie (Charlotte), and Elliot.
In America, Finley has been growing in popularity as a girl's name, but Finley in the UK remains a popular name for boys (ranked #36 in the UK versus #236 fo the US). Finley is an Irish name meaning “fair-haired hero”; over time the meaning has shifted a bit to mean “fair warrior”. Of course, any good UK name has a tie to Shakespeare; in the case of Finley, it was a Scottish surname in Macbeth’s family.
As a bonus, Finley has some cool nicknames for the little dudes including Finn, Fin, or Lee. A popular TV Fin includes Finn Hudson (from Glee). Other popular Finle’s include Finley Quaye, a Scottish musician, and Finley Peter Dunne, an American writer. Whether you’ve got a little girl or a little man, Finley is a solid name choice.
Max, which means the “greatest”, has been holding a steady spot on the UK name list at #26 (compared to #118 in the US). Max can be a great standalone name, but it can also act as a nickname for longer, more formal names including Maxwell and Maximillian. Fancy!
Famous people named Max include Max Whitlock (he won a gold medal for the Brits at the Rio Olympic Games) and Max Brown, an English actor. Christiana Aguilera, J.LO, and Charlie Sheen all have sons named Max. Spelling variations include Maxx, and other nicknames include Maxi or Maxxy.
Max isn’t limited to just the boys, however. Max makes a perfectly suitable name for a baby girl too. Max works well with siblings named Harrison, Samuel, Noelle, Olivia, and Kai.
What do you think of when you hear the name Arthur? Growing up in the 90s, I think of Arthur the aardvark, but in the UK, Arthur is just as strong of a name as ever, ranked at #41. All aardvarks aside, the name means “bear” in Gaelic and conjures up the image of strong, sturdy males. Think King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. A much better image than the PBS cartoon!
Arthur will be making his way back to the US within the next 5 years thanks to cultured parents who are bringing the name back to its rightful former glory.
Arthur works well with sibling names like Hazel, Sebastian, Felix (Felicity), Beatrice, Oliver (Olivia), and Clara. These sibling combos are Grade A Stylish.
In the UK, Frankie ranks #64 for a boys’ name. Currently, it ranks #992 in the US, for both a boy’s and a girl's name. However, the Frankie trend will reach the US shores within the next five years.
Frankie evolved as a nickname from longer, more formal names such as Francis, Frances, Frank, and Franklin. However, don’t feel pressured to choose a longer name and then settle for Frankie as just a nickname. Frankie, as the UK lists prove, is a good choice for a standalone name. When used as a standalone name, Frankie means “liberated person from France.” And even if you aren’t a liberated person from France, it’s still a good name.
Famous Frankie’s include Frankie Avalon, an American singer, Frankie Jonas, and Frankie Gaye, the brother of Marvin Gaye. Good sibling combos include Norah, Indi, Hero, and Rebel.
We may know and love Aubrey as a girl's name, but the UK parents are giving American parents something to think about: Aubrey as a boy's name. Aubrey, meaning “elf ruler”, has been labeled as an “upscale British name.” Okay so “elf ruler” may not carry a super impressive meaning, but it sure is a nice sounding name!
If thinking of Aubrey as a boy’s name is hard, consider this fun fact: Aubrey used to be a guys-only name. According to Nameberry, the name started to shift from a unisex one to one for a girl in 1974. Do you already have an Aubrey in your family? It pairs well with Rohan, Rowan, Ellison, and Lauren.
If you aren’t into Aubrey, but still want a cool UK name for your boy, consider Auberon or Albus, another popular “A” name in England.
9 Carol / Karol
If you ever grew up watching the Brady Bunch, you might think of Carol as a girl’s name. Or hey – there’s even Carol King! But the UK trends are showing up something new: Carol (or Karol) as a boy’s name! The spelling Karol is simply the Polish variation of Carl. This name has deep roots in Europe: Carl (and therefore Carol) comes from the Old German name Charles.
It may come as a surprise that this name was ever used as a girl’s name; Carol/Karol actually means “man” according to Babynames.uk.
Famous Karol’s include Karol Wojtyla (aka Pope St. John Paul II), Karol Beck (a Slovakian tennis player), and Lewis Carroll (the author of Alice and Wonderland). Lots of spelling options to consider: Carol, Karol, Caroll, Karel, Karole.
8 Teddy / Thea
In the UK, Teddy ranks as a boy’s name at #66 and comes with a pretty solid meaning: “God's gift.” But the UK is giving us another gift: Teddy as a girl’s name. Fans of Grey’s Anatomy may remember that Teddy can indeed be a girl’s name – a likable, tough, smart woman to boot.
Theodora, the female version of another popular UK name, Theodore, comes with plenty of good nicknames to choose from: Teddy, Thea, and even Dora (although you may have to work hard to get Dora the Explorer out of your head). Both Teddy and Thea can work without the formality of Theodora, so choose what name works best for your family. Like long formal names? Great! Then opt for Theodora with Teddy as a nickname.
We all dream of our little babies growing up to be heroes of some sort, don’t we? Not that we need a cape and superpowers, we just want our kids to do good, be good, and be as much of a hero as they can be. The UK parents are one step ahead of us: they are naming their babies Hero.
Although this isn’t super high on the UK list, it has been trending upwards. But is Hero a boy’s name or a girl’s name? Hero, a Greek name meaning “courage”, is typically seen as a girl’s name since Hero appeared in Greek mythology as a priestess of Aphrodite. However, I would argue that it could be a unisex name since the English word “hero” is typically male (heroine is the feminine version). So all historical facts aside, Hero could be used for your little girl or your little boy.
Another UK name with a famous Shakespeare connection: Ophelia. Ophelia was the would-be wife of Hamlet… until of course Hamlet accidentally killed her dad and Ophelia fell into a deep (and fatal) depression. Despite the tragedy of Shakespeare’s Ophelia, the name is beautiful and the popularity of the name continues to rise. This name is often said to mean “help”, which only adds to the endearing quality of this name. It should really catch on in the US in a few years.
Despite Ophelia’s rough beginning as a doomed love interested of Hamlet, there have been plenty of Ophelia’s out there to create new Ophelia memories: Ophelia from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Ophelia as played by Blake Lively, and Ophelia (Ofelia) in Pan’s Labyrinth.
Ophelia works well with siblings named Luna, Florence, Max, Jude, Imogen, and Axel.
We may think of Juno as a spunky teenager who got knocked up in high school, but Juno is a much more regal name than a teenage mom might lead you to believe. In Roman mythology, Juno was the wife of the king of all of the gods. Her name literally means “queen of heaven” which rightly fits the ruler of the universe.
Juno pairs well with siblings named Rex, Kingsly, Isolde, Hermione, and Edward.
Juno also appeared in Shakespeare play The Tempest (are we sensing a trend yet with this UK names?). Coldplay’s Will Champion named one of his daughters Juno; Juno is also said to be the goddess of Rome, the goddess of marriage, and the goddess of all women. Seems like little baby Juno will have big shoes to fill!
Luna brings us back to the nature-inspired names that have been so popular in the UK. As Americans, we probably can think of one Luna: Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. Luna Lovegood’s quirky nature may be enough for us to fall in love with the name, but there is a lot more to love about the name Luna. Obviously, Luna means “moon” but the inspirations behind the name date back to Roman times, where people worshipped the goddess of the moon.
Luna is increasingly popular in the UK and other parts of Europe. Luna has broken into the Top 100 charts in the following countries: Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
Celebrities with baby Lunas include John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, as well as Penelope Cruz. Not sure if you love Luna? Consider Stella for an equally celestial name.
The UK is showing its love for nature with the next name on the list: Ferne. The name pays homage to ferns, the almost prehistoric-looking green plants. Why do UK parents want to name their girls in remembrance of these plants? As all plants are given a symbolic meaning, the fern is gifted a good one: ferns symbolize sincerity. That’s not the only reason a fern should be honored. In alternative medicine, ferns are believed to offer remedies for conditions including baldness, nightmares, and toothaches.
Besides the character from Charlotte’s Web, there have been plenty of famous Ferns: Fern Britton, Fern Isabel (an American painter), and Fern Michaels (an American author).
But what middle name would go with Ferne? Try a name that ends with an “a”, such as Lilianna, Stephania, or Amaya.
Paloma is a beautiful, feminine name; it practically rolls right off your tongue. It is a very feminine Spanish name that the UK is quickly adopting, although it is especially popular in Spain and Italy. Meaning “dove”, the name conjures up images of peaceful, beautiful girls. Doves are well-known for symbolizing peace, but Greek mythology often associated doves with love. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is often seen with doves surrounding her. Either way, you’ve got peace and love. Peace, Love, and Paloma!
Paloma fits in beautifully with other nature-inspired sibling names: Hawk (see the bird connection there?), River, Skye, Daisy, Fern, and Ocean (yep, that one is gaining popularity too).
Real life Palomas include the daughter of Picasso, Paloma Picasso, Salma Hayek’s daughter Valentina Paloma Pinault, and Paloma Herrera, a famous ballerina from the American Ballet Theatre.
And coming to our last name on the list, we have another bird-inspired name: Wren. Unlike Paloma, which is very much a feminine name, Wren can be used for either a boy’s name or a girl’s name. In either case, the name pays homage to the English bird, the wren.
So why the wren? Why are UK parents so excited about this name? This songbird has a lot of ties to Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland, the wren is referred to as a “magician” or even “the bird of prophecy.” The Irish love this bird for other reasons too. It is a vibrant, social bird that prioritizes efficiency. The Irish see the wren as a creature that is always moving forward – not a bad trait to wish upon your child!
Sources: nameberry.com, babynames.co.uk, babynamewizard.com, mirror.co.uk, wikipedia.com, almanac.com, goodtoknow.co.uk
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