Classic Baby Names

Classic Baby Names

What are the most classic baby names for girls and boys? They’ve been used for centuries, and the majority have always been in the Top 1000 — counted since 1880. Many of the most popular baby names today are classics, including Olivia and William.

Along with Olivia and William, other traditional baby names in the US Top 20 include Emma, Sophia, Charlotte, and Emily for girls, and James, Benjamin, Henry, and Jacob for boys. Many classic names are also royal baby names, such as Elizabeth, Charles, Victoria, and Philip.

While there are hundreds of classic baby names from the Bible, ancient cultures, and other traditional sources in common use today, these are our picks for the most, um, classic classic baby names, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

Related:

Vintage Baby Names

Royal Baby Names

Biblical Names

  1. Iris
    • Origin:

      Flower name; Greek
    • Meaning:

      "rainbow"
    • Description:

      Iris has so much going for it. It's a fashionable flower name. It's a mythological name, from the Greek goddess of the rainbow. And it's a classic name, always ranking in the girls' Top 1000 but now at its highest point ever.
  2. Amelia
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "work"
    • Description:

      Amelia is one of the hottest girls' names, a successor to the megapopular Emma and Emily. Amelia, which spent several years at Number 1 in England, vaulted into the US Top 10 in 2017 and continues to rise.
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  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. Josephine
    • Origin:

      French feminine variation of Joseph
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah increases"
    • Description:

      Josephine, with its large measure of class and character and a gently offbeat quality, has been on a gentle uphill climb in the US for over 30 years, now ranking in the Top 100. With an intriguing number of vivacious nicknames, from Jo to Josie to Fifi to Posy, Josephine is a Nameberry favorite.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Cecilia
    • Origin:

      Feminine form of Cecil, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "blind"
    • Description:

      Cecilia is a lovely classic name deservedly enjoying a new turn in the sun. Always among the Top 500 girls' names in the US, Cecilia is now at its highest point ever.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.