Traditions of Naming a Baby
It's a lot of fun to think up baby names when you are expecting. It can also be a bit of a challenge. After all, your baby is going to carry the name you give her or him for the rest of their lives. It is an important decision to make, and there are thousands of baby name books on the market.
Naming a baby wasn't always such a difficult decision to make. Names were much more traditional and sometimes even boring in past eras. As recently as the 1960s, people have been coming up with more unique and interesting names for their children. That's just the western part of the world. Many regions and cultures stick to the traditions.
Many African Americans give their babies unique names, while pride in their African roots has also inspired African and Muslim names.
Similarly, Mormons often give their babies unique names. One common practice is to combine a grandmother's and grandfather's name. Mormons may have also started the trend of using surnames as first names.
In the Jewish tradition, babies receive a naming ceremony about eight days after birth. Jewish people often believe in naming their children after a person who is charitable, in hopes that the new baby will take after that person. Naming ceremonies are not so unusual. Indians and Buddhists also have naming ceremonies.
Many Europeans have customs of naming their children after their parents: a newborn boy will take the father's name and although less commonly, a baby girl will take the mother's name. In Italian, Greek and Spanish cultures, the first boy and girl are named after their paternal grandparents. The French honor grandparents by using their first names as middle names for their newborns.
Americans tended to name their babies traditional names taken from the Bible, books, and loved ones. Naming the firstborn son after his father is still very common. Modern America is becoming more and more creative in naming their babies.
Top 5 Girl Names Through the Decades
Names were never that unique up until as recently as the 1960s. For example the name Mary remained the #1 name in the US from 1880 all the way until 1960.
Top Names For Girls in 1900
Top Names For Girls in 1910
Top Names For Girls in 1920
Top Names For Girls in 1930
Top Names for Girls in 1940
Top Names For Girls in 1950
Top Names For Girls in 1960
Top Names For Girls in 1970
Top Names For Girls in 1980
Top Names for Girls in 1990
Top Names For Girls in 2000
Top Names For Girls in 2010
Top 5 Boy Names Through the Decades
In the last one hundred years, the top boy names haven't changed much and even recently many of the names that were popular in decades past are still in the top ten. This could have to do with naming male children after their fathers. Male names have been getting broader, recently names like Jacob and Jayden have come into fashion.
Top Names For Boys in 1900
Top Names For Boys in 1910
Top Names For Boys in 1920
Top Names For Boys in 1930
Top Names For Boys in 1940
Top Names For Boys in 1950
Top Names For Boys in 1960
Top Names For Boys in 1970
Top Names For Boys in 1980
Top Names for Boys in 1990
Top Names For Boys in 2000
Top Names For Boys in 2010
Names of the Ancient Gods and Goddesses
If you love mythology, why not take a name from a god or goddess from Greek and Roman mythology? Each god has a distinct personality and has a special purpose.
Powerful Male Gods
Apollo: Roman and Greek god of music, healing and light
Aquillo: Roman god of the north wind
Ares: Greek god of war
Auster: Roman god of the south wind
Atlas: Greek god who held heaven on his shoulders
Bacchos: Roman god of wine, parties and festivities
Cratos: God of strength and power
Cronus: Greek god, ruling god of the Titans
Dionysys: Greek god of wine
Eros: Greek god of love
Helios: Greek god of the sun
Hercules: Half god, half mortal who eventually became a full god. Hercules signifies strength and triumph.
Hades: Greek god of the underworld
Hermes: Greek god, messenger for the gods
Janus: Roman god of transitions, doorways and new beginnings
Lares: Roman god and guardian of spirits
Morpheus: God of dreams
Moros: Greek god of fate
Plutus: Greek god of wealth
Poiseidon: Greek god of the sea
Romolus: Roman god, founder of Rome
Sancus: Roman god of oaths and good faith
Virtus: God of courage and military
Vulcan: Roman god of fire
Zeus: Greek god of the sky. Zeus is the ruler of all gods.
Is Your Child Destined to Be a Goddess?
Aphrodite: Greek goddess of love and passion
Artemis: Greek goddess of hunting and child bearing
Athena: Greek goddess, founder of Athens and goddess of wisdom
Aurora: Roman goddess of dawn
Chloe: Greek goddess of the harvest
Demeter: Greek goddess of earth and agriculture
Diana: Roman goddess of hunt, virgins and women
Doris: Greek goddess of the sea
Fortuna: Roman goddess of fame and fortune
Hera: Greek goddess of marriage and women
Hestia: Greek goddess of family hearth and home
Iris: Greek goddess of rainbows, messenger for the gods
Juno: Roman goddess of marriage and women
Laverna: Roman goddess of the underworld
Luna: Roman goddess of the moon
Leto: Greek goddess of motherhood
Maia: Roman goddess of spring and rebirth
Meditrina: Roman goddess of wine and good health
Minerva: Roman goddess of wisdom
Persephone: Greek goddess of the underworld
Phoebe: Greek goddess of intellect and prophecy
Rhea: Greek goddess of fertility, mother of Zeus
Roma: Roman goddess of the city of Rome
Selene: Greek goddess of the moon and logic
Terra: Roman goddess of the earth and fertility
Thalia: Greek goddess of festivity
Vesta: Roman goddess of fire
While names taken from the Bible have been used for centuries, there are some less-common names that may suit your child.
Names Taken From Places Around the World
A popular trend has been to name a child after a city, state or country. Here are some places that would make excellent names for your baby.
Some Names for your Flower Child
Tough Sounding Boy Names
Is it harmful to give your baby an unusual name?
A few years back, an article in New York Times was written about names. According to research, children with odd names got bad grades, were less popular and more likely to become "psychoneurotic". The theory was debunked when another study was done that interviewed adults with odd names who became successful.
Common Girl Names and Their Meanings
Amanda: English, Worthy of love
Amy: French, Beloved by all
Amber: Arabic, Jewel
Angela: Greek, Messenger of God
Ann: Hebrew, Favor of grace, prayer
Ariel, Hebrew, Lioness of God
Ashley: Anglo-Saxon, One who lives near the ash tree
Autumn: English, born in the fall
Ava: German, Desired
Audrey: Anglo-Saxon, Nobility, strength
Bella, Italian, Beautiful
Brittney: English, From Britain
Christine: Latin, Follower of Christ
Dawn: Anglo-Saxon, Awaken
Deborah: Biblical, A bee
Donna: Italian, Womanly, Feminine
Elizabeth: Hebrew, God's promise
Emily: French, Industrious, striving
Francesca: Italian, Free one
Hannah: Hebrew, God has favored me
Isabella: Italian, Devoted to God
Jeanette: French; Hebrew, God is gracious
Jennifer: English, fair, yeilding
Jessica: Hebrew, Rich
Julie: French, Youthful
Katherine: English, Pure
Kimberly: English, Royal fortress
Laura: Latin, The bay or a laurel plant
Lisa: German, Devoted to God
Lois: Greek, Superior
Lucy: Latin, Light
Madison: English, Strong fighter
Mackenzie: Irish, Fire born, wise ruler, good looking
Madeline: French, Tower
Mary: Biblical, Rebellion, bitterness, Mother of Christ
Melissa: Greek, A bee or honey
Mia: Italian, Mine
Olivia: Latin, olive, peace symbol
Raffaella: Hebrew, God has healed
Ramona: Spanish, Protecting hands
Rita: Spanish, Pearl
Sabrina: Italian, From the border
Samantha: English, Listener
Sarah: Hebrew, Princess
Sharice: English, The fruit and its tree
Sofia: Italian, Wise
Susana: Spanish, lily
Teresa: Italian, To harvest
Tiffany: Greek, God's incarnate
Vanessa: Greek, Butterfly
Victoria: Italian, Victory
Wendy: English, Friend
What is the oldest name in recorded history?
Kent, first recorded in what we now know as Britain back in 55 B.C. and is still in use today.
Common Boy Names and Their Meanings
Aaron: Hebrew, Mountain
Adam: Hebrew, Earth
Aiden: Gaelic, Fire
Anthony: English, Priceless, praised
Bailey: English, Bailiff
Brandon: Old English, Gorse hill
Brian: Celtic, He Ascends, strength
Christopher: Latin, Follower of Christ
David: Hebrew, Beloved
Dean: Old English, Church official
Dennis: Greek, Follower of Dionysys
Dominic: Latin, Of the Lord
Ethan: Hebrew, long lived
Frank: English, Free and truthful
Jacob: Hebrew, He who grasps the heel
James: Hebrew, Supplanter
Jason: Greek, Healer
Jayden: American, combination of Jason and Aiden
Joseph: Hebrew, God's will increases
Joshua: Hebrew, God is salvation
Justin: Hebrew, Just and righteous
Kenneth: Scottish, Handsome
Kevin: Irish, Handsome
Lance: German, Land
Matthew: English, Gift of God
Michael: Hebrew, God like
Nathan: Hebrew, He who gives
Nicolas: English, Victory of the people
Paul: Latin, Small
Peter: Greek, Rock
Robert: English, Bright fame
Richard: English, Brave ruler
Sergio: Italian, Servant
Simon: Hebrew, To be heard
Steven: Greek, Crown
Thomas: Greek, A twin
Vincent: Latin, Victory
William: German, Protection
Zachary: Hebrew, The Lord recalled
Did You Know??
Murderess Susan Atkins gave birth to a baby while living in a commune lead by convicted killer Charles Manson. Charles named her baby boy Zezozose Zadfrack Glutz. After they were arrested, the baby was adopted and given a much more reasonable name: Paul.
Weirdest Celebrity Baby Names
Celebrities like to give their children unusual names. Some names, like Angelina Jolie's daughter, Shiloh or Katie Holme's daughter Suri, are quite different but could hardly be called bizarre. So as a final note, here are some of the craziest names celebrities have chosen for their unfortunate children. I know it looks like I made some of these up, but I didn't.
Talulah, Scout and Rumer Willis, daughters of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis
Dweezil, Moon Unit and Diva Thin Muffin, children of Frank Zappa
Lark Song, chld of Mia Farrow
Zola Ivy, child of Eddie Murphy
Pilot Inspekter, son of Jason Lee
Fifi Trixibelle, Heavenly Hirani Tiger Lily, daughters of Paula Yates
Calico and Sonora Rose, Alice Cooper's kids
Destry, child of Steven Speilberg
Zolten and Moxie Crime Fighter, Penn Jillette's children
Prince Michael I and Prince Michael II (a.k.a Blanket), the late Michael Jackson's sons
Audio Science, Shannyn Sossaman's kid
Hopper, Sean Penn and Robin Wright's child
London Emilio, Slash's child
Tu, Rob Morrow's child (full name would sound like TOMORROW)
Memphis Eve, Bono's child
Kal-El, Nicolas Cage's child
Sage Moonblood, child of Sylvester Stallone
Apple, daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow
and my personal favorite:
Jermajesty, Jermaine Jackson's son (in case you're wondering, the name is Jermine and Your Majesty combined--talk about an ego!)
babynology from New York on July 20, 2013:
Your hub became a useful reference for them who looking for baby names. Many Thanks
Emily from Florida on April 07, 2013:
A lot of interesting information. I never knew some of the facts you dug up. Definitely going to keep this hub in mind if I have more kids!
Cecelia Kramer from Everywhere but mostly Cali on February 21, 2013:
Interesting list of names. It's hard to pick a name for a child now a days since the name will be the same as 900 other kids or a very unique name the kids might not like later in life because he or she gets teased for it. I know where to look though to find some good names right here.
Amy DeMarco (author) from Chicago on July 29, 2011:
Cabodavid- those are some great names you picked guys picked out! I love all of those names you chose for your daughter. Mercedes is very pretty, so is Arabella. Thanks for commenting!!
cabodavid from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Mexico on July 27, 2011:
We agonized over the first child's name in the early 1980's and finally agreed on Nicholas Alexander. Number 2 child was more difficult - after many fights - it came down to Alexander Channing (C. a famous Unitarian). Still can't figure out why she didn't like Basil...
Daughter came along and there was no compromising so we went with all of them- Mercedes Theresa Chouinard Arabella Ming Mandich we call her Mer, Mercy and Mercedes. No regrets on any of them and the children like their names. Living in Mexico - Mercedes is very common as was Ming when we lived in the Chinese community.
ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on July 04, 2011:
I understand George Forman named his five boys george his daughter he name geogia. That just seems lazy to me.
I didn't name either of my boys after me, I don't believe in it. I think every boy deserves his own name. Also If I named him after me he would be called junior even when he's fifty or little earl even if he is built like a line backer.
KidsPartyFavors on June 29, 2011:
This is so important for me! Thanks again for posting!
Amy DeMarco (author) from Chicago on June 27, 2011:
Thanks for commenting! I hope the article gave you some ideas. Feel free to share this article with your sisters!
Cecelia Millhouse from Sanford, North Carolina on June 27, 2011:
Thanks for this very informative and intresting with 2 pregnant sisters I am always looking for unique suggestions
Amy DeMarco (author) from Chicago on June 26, 2011:
Glad you enjoyed it :)
mama_em on June 25, 2011:
Really interesting. Thanks for a great Hub!
Amy DeMarco (author) from Chicago on June 25, 2011:
Thank you for the comment, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Jennifer is a beautiful name also the name to one of my best friends. I know the celebrity names would be a hit! As always, I appreciate all your warm comments!
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on June 25, 2011:
Wow amymarie, you've done a great hub here on baby names, really well done with the research and how its written. Jennifer is one of my fave girl's names. Any boy baby named Eros will have a lot to live up for in life...lol. In the future from what I know and hear around, there's going to be a lot of Hunters and Conners running about. Thanks and that is the cherry on top with the weirdest celebrity baby names.