Traditional Baby Names

Traditional Baby Names

Traditional baby names are those that have been used consistently in English-speaking countries for centuries — and are still in widespread use. 

While traditional names are often popular, that's not always the case. Choices such as Emma and James have always been among the most popular names in the US, while those like Antonia and Theresa have fallen off the popularity charts.

Along with Emma, traditional girl names among the current Top 10 in the US include Olivia, Sophia, Isabella, and Charlotte. 

In addition to James, the traditional boy names at the top of the popularity list include William, Oliver, Henry, and Benjamin.

Traditional names can also be rare and uncommon. The best traditional names that are heard less often today include Susannah and Leonard, Frances and Victor.

If you love traditional names, your Baby Name DNA type might be Leader or Noble. Find out more about all the types and take the quiz to analyze your own Baby Name DNA now.

The traditional names here are ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

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Classic Baby Names

Popular Names

  1. Theodore
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      As unlikely as it may seem, Theodore is a hot new hit name, vaulting into the Top 10 in 2021 for the first time ever and rising three more points last year to rank at Number 7.
  2. Olivia
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "olive tree"
    • Description:

      Olivia, a lovely Shakespearean name with an admirable balance of strength and femininity, is the Number 1 name for baby girls in the US and one of the top girls' names around the world.
  3. Charlotte
    • Origin:

      French, feminine diminutive of Charles
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      Charlotte, the name of the young Princess of Cambridge, is the latest classic name to join Sophia, Emma, Olivia, and Isabella at the top of the popularity list. It is now among the most popular girl names in many English-speaking and European countries.
  4. Oliver
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "olive tree or elf army"
    • Description:

      Oliver is an international star, ranking near the top of the charts in the US and throughout the English-speaking world, along with a host of European and Latin American countries, from Norway to Chile, Slovenia to Switzerland.
  5. Alice
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "noble"
    • Description:

      Alice is a classic literary name that's both strong and sweet, ranking in the US Top 100 and popular throughout the western world. Alice is derived from the Old French name Aalis, a diminutive of Adelais that itself came from the Germanic name Adalhaidis, which is composed of the Proto-Germanic elements aþala, meaning "noble," and haidu, "kind, appearance, type."
  6. Eleanor
    • Origin:

      English variation of French Provencal Alienor, meaning unknown
    • Description:

      Eleanor's straightforward feminine image combined with its royal medieval history is striking just the right note for parents in search of a girls' name that combines substance and style.
  7. Lucy
    • Origin:

      English variation of Lucia, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "light"
    • Description:

      A versatile classic, Lucy is both sweet and solid, a saint's name, and the heroine of several great novels. First fashionable in England and Wales, Lucy is now a popular choice in the US, The Netherlands, and New Zealand.
  8. Henry
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Henry is back. The classic Henry climbed back onto the Top 10 in the US in 2021 for the first time in over a century, and now stands at Number 7.
  9. James
    • Origin:

      English variation of Jacob, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      James is one of the classic Anglo-Saxon names, a stalwart through the ages that is more popular—and yes, stylish—than ever today. It recently came out Number 1 in a poll of America's favorite boys' baby names, and is the most common male name, counting people of all ages, in the US.
  10. Arthur
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      " bear"
    • Description:

      Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of neglect, now being polished up and restored by stylish parents, inspired perhaps by the new generation of royals. Arthur has led the list of possible names for the young British princes, chosen as a middle name for Prince Louis, son of William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales.
  11. Leo
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "lion"
    • Description:

      Leo is a strong-yet-friendly name that was common among the Romans, used for thirteen popes, and is now at its highest point ever in the US thanks in part to Leonardo "Leo" DiCaprio.
  12. William
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      William is one of the most enduring of classic names for boys. It's also among the most popular boys' names, as American parents see it as being ideally conservative yet contemporary, and hands-down the most popular baby name beginning with W of all time.
  13. Rose
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "rose, a flower"
    • Description:

      Rose is derived from the Latin rosa, which referred to the flower. There is also evidence to suggest it was a Norman variation of the Germanic name Hrodohaidis, meaning "famous type," and also Hros, "horse". In Old English it was translated as Roese and Rohese.
  14. Elizabeth
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Elizabeth is one of the most popular girls' names of all time, the female equivalent of James or William. Yet Elizabeth has so much going for it—rich history, broad appeal, and timeless style—that no matter how many little girls are named Lizzie, Eliza, and Beth, you can still make Elizabeth your own.
  15. Isabella
    • Origin:

      Spanish and Italian variation of Elizabeth, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Isabella has been a Top 10 name for girls in the US for two decades now. The Latinate form of Isabel, a variation of Elizabeth which originally derived from the Hebrew name Elisheba, Isabella reigned as Number 1 in 2009 and 2010.
  16. Nathaniel
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      Nathaniel was derived from the Hebrew name Netan’el, meaning "gift of God," composed of the elements natan, meaning "to give," and ’el, in reference to God. The name is featured several times in the Old and New Testaments, typically spelled Nathanael. In the New Testament, Nathanael is also known by his other name, Bartholomew.
  17. Isaac
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "laughter"
    • Description:

      Isaac has shaved off his biblical beard and leaped into the upper echelon of popular boys' names, outrunning cousin Isaiah. A favorite of the Puritans, Isaac has never dipped below Number 400 on the US list of top boy names.
  18. Emma
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "universal"
    • Description:

      Emma has now been among the top girl names in the United States for several years, claiming the Number 1 crown in 2008 and again from 2015 to 2018 before dropping back to second place.
  19. Benjamin
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "son of the right hand"
    • Description:

      Benjamin is a biblical name that has enjoyed widespread favor for decades, ranking in the US Top 50 for almost half a century and the Top 10 from 2015 until 2023.
  20. Thomas
    • Origin:

      Aramaic
    • Meaning:

      "twin"
    • Description:

      A solid classic with plenty of history, Thomas strikes the balance between strength and gentleness. A favorite in the UK, a staple in France, and Australia, and never absent from the US Top 100, Thomas feels like a safe bet and a name that fits into any era.