Emma made a surprise return to the Number 1 spot, having done handsprings up the popularity charts thanks to a legion of Emma heroines, from Bovary to Goldman to Jane Austen's protagonist. So parents who have turned from Emily to Emma seeking something more distinctive will have to keep looking.
The name was given a big boost when it was given to Rachel and Ross's baby on Friends in 2002.
It's simple but has deep history, is streamlined and modern-feeling yet distinctly feminine. It's hard to find all those qualities combined in one name, which is exactly why so many parents (over 17,000 last year) have chosen Emma.
Parents who love Emma but think it's overexposed have been moving to such alternatives as Amelia, Emilia, Amelie, Emmeline, and Ella. But, of course, these names might be poised to move up and take Emma's place near the top of the list.
A very old royal name well used throughout the centuries (Queen Emma married King Ethelred the Unready in 1002), Emma is also historically associated with Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson and muse of painter George Romney.
It's worth noting that Emma, Emily, and the new British Number 1 Amelia all derive from different roots and have different meanings. But they continue to feel like very similar names.
Three of the hottest young female stars share the name: Emma Watson, Emma Roberts, and Emma (born Emily) Stone.
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