Category: English baby names
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:
By Li Xueqing, China Daily
Mosquito, Circle, Tomato – Chinese people come up with strange English names at times, names that can baffle foreign employers and even cost them their chance of scoring a high-profile job.
An American expatriate in Shanghai saw an opportunity here and decided to launch a consulting business on the best choice of English names.
What names are quintessentially ‘British’?
I see this question a lot but it’s a hard one to pin down. Do we mean solely British in origin, or only British in use? When Prince George was born our media heralded it as a “quintessentially British” name — and why not? We’ve had numerous kings bear the name, and it’s even the name of the patron saint of England. But George was originally a Greek name, brought late into our Royalty by German Hanovarians. Ask many Americans and the first George they think of is Washington or Bush.
For me, the quintessentially British names are those which are very familiar to us as a nation, that have been or are currently popular, but are little used in America, Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries. Names such as Nicola – our darling of the 70s – Darcy, Imogen, Poppy, Freya, Alfie, Jenson, Gareth, Alistair and Finlay.
I always love the slightly off-kilter (from the American perspective) British baby names plus the eccentric string of middle names. But including the names of brothers and sisters adds an extra dimension of style interest.
Counting first children not mentioned here too, trend watchers will want to note the names Elodie, Emilia, Florence, Isla, and Jemima for girls, and Barnaby, Frederick, Hugo, Montgomery, and Willoughby for boys. Also, diminutives such as Jack and Annie as not only full first names but middle names.
Recent British baby names and their siblings include:
Every few months, about as often as I allow myself to relish a hot caramel sundae and with about the same amount of delicious anticipation, I dip into the London Telegraph birth announcements to see what the upper-crusty British baby namers are up to.
And as with that sundae, the results rarely disappoint. There are always plenty of eccentric three-name combinations, lots of charming sibsets, and a collection of names not often heard in my neighborhood of New Jersey.
One trend asserting itself in this collection: R names, with a raft of children (far beyond those mentioned here) called Rory, Rufus, Rupert, Rex, and Rowley, and on the girls’ side, Ruby, Rose, Rosemary, Rosalind (and Rosalyn) and Romilly. R is a letter that’s seemed dowdy for quite some time — blame all those Baby Boom Roberts and Richards — and is due for a resurgence.
The best of the recent British baby names are, for girls:
- Clementine Annabel Emily, sister for Rupert
- Daphne Olga Amelie, sister for Henry and Beatrice
- Eliza Miranda Rosemary, sister for William