Top Names that Peaked in 2006
Origin:Italian word name or Scandinavian short form of Maria
Meaning:"mine or bitter"
Description:Mia originated as a short form of Maria, which ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Miryam. In modern times, Mia has been used as a nickname for names including Amelia, Emilia, and Miriam. Mia is also an Italian and Spanish word meaning 'mine.'
Description:Jacob comes from the Latin name Iacobus, which was ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Ya’aqov. In the Old Testament, Jacob was one of the most important patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He was the youngest son of Isaac and Rebecca and the twin brother of Esau, as well as the husband of both Leah and Rachel. The 12 tribes of Israel evolved from his 12 sons.
Origin:Feminine variation of Emil, Latin
Description:Emily was derived from the Roman name Aemilia, which may have evolved from the Latin word aemulus, meaning "hardworking" or "rival." Amelia, although similar, has separate origins — it was derived from the Germanic name Amalia. Emilia, however, has the same Latin root as Emily.
Meaning:"Salvation of the Lord"
Description:Isaiah derives from the Hebrew Yesha’yahu, containing the elements yasha’, meaning “to save,” and yah, in reference to the Hebrew god. The biblical Isaiah, son of Amos, was the most important of the major prophets, with an Old Testament book named for him. He prophesized that the Children of Israel would be exiled from their homeland, but that God would bring the back.
Meaning:"the Lord is my salvation"
Description:Joshua was derived from the Hebrew name Yehoshu’a, from the roots yeho, referring to God, and yasha’, meaning “to save.” Joshua shares origins with the name Jesus, which comes from the Aramaic variation Yeshu’a. An important figure in the Old Testament, Joshua was the successor to Moses who finally led the Israelites into the Promised Land, inspiring the hymn "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho."
Origin:Spanish, Italian, German, Greek variation of Helen
Meaning:"bright, shining light"
Description:Elena, a pan-European version of Helen, has roots in Spanish, Italian, Slavic, and Romanian, among others. Helen, the name from which it derives, came from the Greek word helene, meaning "torch." Alternate spellings include Elaina, Ellena, and Alena.
Origin:Greek mythology name; Central American Indian empire name; Latinate variation of May; Spanish, diminutive of Amalia; variation of Maia; Hebrew
Description:In addition to being the name of a Central American culture, Maya was the legendary Greek mother of Hermes by Zeus, and means "illusion" in Sanskrit and Eastern Pantheism. It can also be spelled Maia, though both names have so many possible origins and meanings that not all of them are related. To the Romans, Maia/Maya was the incarnation of the earth mother and goddess of spring, after whom they named the month of May.
Meaning:"follower of Christ"
Description:Christian has fallen a bit from its 90's and 00's heights, but it's still quite popular. Once considered overly pious, Christian is now seen as making a bold statement of faith by some, while also having secular appeal for others, perhaps influenced by such celebrities as Christian Slater and Christian Bale, not to mention the fashion world's Dior, Lacroix, Louboutin and Audigier.
Meaning:"flat tropical grassland"
Description:A place name with a deep Southern accent, the once-obscure Savannah shot to fame, with others of its genre, on the heels of the best seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set in the mossy Georgia city of Savannah. Originally a substitute for the overused Samantha, Savannah is now becoming overused itself, long among the top girls' names starting with S.
Origin:Spanish and English
Description:Angel is a perennial Hispanic boys’ name, but it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer that brought it into the Anglo-male camp, where it's now heard more frequently, though it still poses some gender confusion. Angel is very popular, and very traditionally masculine, in the Latino community.
Meaning:"birthday [of the Lord]"
Description:Natalia was derived from the Latin word natalis, meaning “birthday.” It refers to the birthday of Jesus Christ, and thus originated as a name for girls born on Christmas Day. Related forms include the French Natalie, Portuguese Natalina, and Russian diminutive Natasha.
Origin:Irish and Scottish
Meaning:"son of the marsh-dwellers"
Description:Carson is one of the most long-running popular androgynous baby names, with a dash of the Wild West via the legendary Missouri frontiersman Kit Carson. Dating back to when it was the name of Nancy Drew's Dad, Carson is still steadily in the Top 100 baby names.
Current Carsons include TV personalities Carson Daly and Carson Kressley, and Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer. Carson Wells was the bounty hunter character played by Woody Harrelson in No Country for Old Men, and Carson is the name chosen by actress Kathryn Erbe for her son.
Origin:Italian and Spanish variations of Lilian
Meaning:"lily, a flower"
Description:This melodious and feminine Latin variation of the Lily family is a favorite in the Hispanic community and would work beautifully with an Anglo surname as well. It's among the Spanish and Italian names for girls that make smooth transitions to the English-speaking world. The late Sopranos star James Gandolfini has a daughter named Liliana Ruth.
Meaning:"son of Brice"
Description:A surname name that can transition to first -- it entered the Top 1000 in 1980 and is now firmly in the Top 100. Actress NeNe Leakes chose it for her son. R&B singer Bryson Tiller's popularity may have played a part in accelerating Bryson's rise.
Origin:Spanish variation of James
Description:The energetic Diego is rising rapidly along with a lot of other authentically Spanish baby names that work perfectly well with surnames of any origin.
Origin:Hebrew, or Turkish
Meaning:"oak tree, or halo, moonlight"
Description:Tired of Ava and Isla? Consider Ayla, a more offbeat choice and a lovely name that means light as well as tree. Its literary reference is the independent and feisty heroine of Jean Auel's The Clan of the Cave Bear.
Description:An Old Testament name with a Gaelic lilt, Malachi entered the list in 1987.
Description:Abel, the name of Adam and Eve's unfortunate younger son, compensates with positive connotations: capable, competent, ready and willing.
Origin:French variation of Elizabeth
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Elise originated as French diminutive of Elizabeth but is now most commonly used as self-contained name. In English and French speaking countries, Elise is pronounced with two syllables, but in countries with Germanic or Scandinavian languages it is pronounced with three syllables, closer to Elisa.
Meaning:"ruler of the elves"
Description:Avery's a last-name-first-name being used increasingly for girls -- perhaps because of Avery's similarity to Ava and Ivory. It's still well-used for boys and is one of today's most popular unisex names. About 2000 baby boys were named Avery in 2018, compared with about 8000 baby girls.
Description:Britney Spears put this old-fashioned surname name back on the map when she chose it as her son Sean's middle name, which the family uses as his first.
Description:Alexa was a steadily popular modern classic until Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa was released in 2013. It remains relatively well used in the US despite this, but has dropped from #50 in 2010 to #230 in 2020 as a result.
Meaning:"he who struggles with God"
Description:Though it was used by the Puritans in the sixteenth century, the founding of the modern Jewish state in 1948 transformed Israel from a traditional favorite into an icon of Judaism.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:Caden is a key member of the rhyming contingent that dates all the similar sounding Cadens, Jadens, Braedons, and Aidans as part of a millennial megatrend.
Description:A favorite among younger parents, this is one of the names that rose to the surface when Tyler and Kyle started to sink.
Meaning:"flourishing, thriving; eloquent"
Description:Omar has a perfect mix of exoticism and familiarity, with the additional plus of a strong, open initial O. Commonly used among Muslim families, Omar was long associated with twelfth century Persian poet Omar Khayyam, though it sounds anything but ancient now.
More recent well known bearers have been World War II General Omar Bradley and actors Omar Sharif(born Michael) and Omar Epps.
Origin:Spelling variation of Caden
Description:A popular member of popular family: Kadin, Kaeden, Kaiden, and Kayden -- along with Caden, Caiden, and Cayden, as well as Cade and Kade.
Origin:Native American tribe and place name; Sioux
Description:A Native American tribe name which is found in the names of two US states, Dakota was one of the first trendy nineties place names, but is now flagging a little in popularity. The cultural question around using a Native American tribe name as a baby name may be partly to blame.
Origin:Modern spelling of Jaalah, Hebrew
Description:Not quite as unusual as it might seem, it first entered the popularity list in 1995, as a possible alternative to the very popular Kayla. In the Bible, an alternate spelling is Jaala.
Origin:Latin, feminine variation of Adrian
Meaning:"man of Adria"
Description:This a-ending feminine form of Adrian, from the northern Italian city of Adria, is a soft and lovely Italian choice. It appears as a character in Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:Orion is a rising star, with both mythical and celestial overtones.
Meaning:"God's gracious gift"
Description:Gia is a cute if slight name that calls to mind stylish sisters Mia, Lea, Pia, Tia, and Nia. One of the most familiar Italian baby names in the US, Gia is a short form of Gianna, which in turn is a diminutive of Giovanna, the feminine form of Giovanni, the Italian equivalent of John—all of them meaning "God's gracious gift."
Origin:Spanish variation of Ishmael
Description:Spanish rendition of Ishmael high on the Latino hit parade.
Meaning:"under God's rule, companion in night conversation"
Description:Exotic and lovely -- and much more distinctive now than Samantha or Tamara. Samara is a city in western Russia, a winged seed like the whirlygigs that fall from maple trees, as well as a bona fide first name that could make a more unusual update on Samantha or Mara. It can also be a variant spelling of the Arabic name Samira or Sameera.
Origin:Italian and Spanish variation of Alexandra
Description:This softened version is even prettier than the original.
Meaning:"comforted by God"
Description:Nehemiah is an Old Testament name used by the Puritans, whose white-bearded image kept it out of favor for centuries, until it suddenly reappeared in 1998, along with the more user-friendly Josiah and Isaiah.
Origin:Combination of Anna and Lise
Description:Variously spelled Annalise and Annaliese, this is not a modern smoosh but a traditional German combo-name (the liese part coming from a short form of Elizabeth, with a definite Heidi-esque feel). But though it may be seen as old style in Germany, it's a recent success in this country: Annalise jumped onto the popularity list for the first time in 1997.
Meaning:"little dark one"
Description:Keira is an attractive girls’ name that's gotten a huge boost from the meteoric rise of Keira Knightley. Original spelling Kiera, which relates more directly to the male Kieran, was the more popular form until the rise of Keira Knightley reversed the order. Both are Anglicized versions of the Irish Ciara.
Description:Maia was derived from the Greek word maia, meaning "mother." In Greek legend, she was the fair-haired daughter of Atlas who mothered Zeus's favorite illegitimate son, Hermes. To the Romans, Maia was the incarnation of the earth mother and goddess of spring, after whom they named the month of May. Maya is the more common spelling.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:A new-style name based on Kyle and a cousin of Dylan, in spelling if not sound or image.
Origin:Scandinavian variation of Gunther
Description:A key figure in Norse legend and a traditional Scandinavian favorite making inroads here.
Meaning:"settlement with a leek garden"
Description:This first name was once a surname derived from Old English. Used quietly a century ago, the current fashion for two-syllable boy names ending in n makes this one a new hit.
Origin:Italian variation of Alexander
Description:For anyone seeking a more exotic and unusual version of Alexander, this is a real winner.
Origin:Spanish or Tupi; may also be derivation of Anais.
Description:This lovely, soft, exotic name is somewhat popular in the US but is unheard of in England and Wales.
Description:Siena is a soft and delicate Tuscan town name given a big fashion boost by lovely young actress/gossip column staple Sienna Miller. A real up-and-comer.
Origin:Spelling variation of Jasmine, Persian flower name
Description:The inclusion of the trendy "z" doesn't do much for this variant of Jasmine. We recommend the original spelling.
Origin:Variation of Aidan, Irish
Meaning:"little and fiery"
Description:Although this variation is less popular than ultra-trendy Aiden, this simplified spelling doesn't do anything for the name.
Origin:Spelling variation of Ryan
Description:An attempt to make this name swing more to the feminine side, though the original Ryan is becoming perfectly acceptable for girls.
Origin:French word name
Meaning:"large claw of a bird of prey"
Description:Despite its somewhat menacing meaning, this name has been widely used in recent years, probably due to the appeal of its trendy on ending.
Meaning:"as God is"
Description:Old Testament name all but unknown outside the Latino community, it is nonetheless in the US Top 1000, where it has been since 1990.