What, exactly, are English names? Names most often found in England? (Short answer: No.) Names commonly used in English-speaking countries? (Kind of.) Or names rooted in the English language? (Definitely).
Many of the names most popular in countries where the official language is English — usually defined as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, along with Ireland and New Zealand — are in fact rooted in other languages and cultures. Emma‘s origins are German, for instance, while Sophia is Greek. Noah is Hebrew, and Liam is Irish.
Many of these names are used widely around the world, far beyond English-speaking cultures. Emma, for example, is a Top 10 girls’ name in Norway, Italy, Finland, and Hungary, while Noah is in the Top 10 in Germany, Sweden, and Belgium.
Some names commonly considered English names are in fact English versions of names from other cultures. William is an English version of an originally-German name, for example, while Jane is the English feminization of John, itself originating in Hebrew.
Still there are many names that can be considered authentic English names. These include classics such as, along with English surnames used as first names, English word names, and place names from English-speaking countries.
Our roundup of the most well-known and best English names:
This week’s news includes names damaged by hurricanes, baby names fit for a prince or princess, matchy first and middle names, and how to handle reactions to your child’s name.
Hurricane names: The fall of Harvey, Katrina, and Irma
Hurricanes are so destructive on lives and property that it may seem silly to be concerned their negative effect on baby names, but perhaps not to people with the name Katrina, Sandy, and now Harvey and Irma. Use of the name Katrina fell by 85 percent after the terrible hurricane that struck New Orleans in 2005. Now the baby name Harvey, which was just coming back into style in the US after a nearly 70-year downturn, is likely to face the same negative fate. And the name Irma is not even going to get her shot, if she ever had one. Sandy was popular enough for long enough that it may escape over-identification with the storm of that name. But anyone named Katrina, Harvey, and Irma will be plagued by hurricane jokes for many years to come.
You’ve probably heard that William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child. The world is already placing bets on what George and Charlotte’s little brother or sister will be called.
The best analysis I’ve read is Elea’s predictions – the top contenders include Alice and Arthur. From everything we know about the royal couple, we wouldn’t expect anything outrageous, so the odds of them calling their baby Brexit or Daenerys are roughly zero.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Not quite as many announcements as usual this month, but still a really interesting bunch. The boys were a particularly international crew, from Bruno to Eamonn to Sven. And of particular note was an amazing set of sibling middle names: Hummingbird, Nightingale, Mayflower and Wildrose! But what was perhaps most striking was a boy named Wren for the second month in a row!
Here’s the complete list.
By Eleanor Nickerson
After much murmuring and supposition over the last few months, it is now official that the third royal Cambridge baby is on the way.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
It’s become a Nameberry tradition every Labor Day to offer a blog on occupational surname names. This year, we’ve tried to find some examples beyond the usual Coopers and Hunters and Masons and look for less obvious ones. And though many, if not most, of these original occupations no longer exist in the modern world, they are all still good, employable names.