favorite names, of all time

Hey, post-college/grad school self. Check out this list for a thorough refresher of what names your 18-year-old self were thinking of for your kids!
  1. Alexander
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "defending men"
    • Description:

      Alexander has been in a Top 25 boys' name in the US for 30 years now. But namers are still attracted to its imposing historic pedigree.
  2. Alexandra
    • Origin:

      Greek, feminine form of Alexander
    • Meaning:

      "defending men"
    • Description:

      Alexandra fell out of the Top 100 for the first time since 1983 in 2015 but is still a popular choice. Strong, tasteful, and elegant, Alexandra remains a chic modern classic with a solid historic pedigree.
  3. Annalise
    • Origin:

      German, combination of Anna and Lise
    • Meaning:

      "grace and pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Variously spelled Annalise and Annaliese as well as several other forms, this is not a modern smoosh but a traditional German combo-name with a definite Heidi-esque feel.
  4. Aurelia
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "the golden one"
    • Description:

      Aurelia is an ancient Roman name that's become a surprise hit in the contemporary world. A top favorite on Nameberry, it reentered the US Top 1000 in 2014 after a 70-year absence and continues to climb.
  5. Beckett
    • Origin:

      English and Irish
    • Meaning:

      "bee hive, little brook or bee cottage"
    • Description:

      Beckett is one of the big baby name hits of the decade.
  6. 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.
  7. Cordelia
    • Origin:

      Latin; Celtic
    • Meaning:

      "heart; daughter of the sea"
    • Description:

      Cordelia is exactly the kind of old-fashioned, grown-up name for girls that many parents are seeking for their daughters today. The name of King Lear's one sympathetic daughter, Cordelia has both style and substance along with its Shakespearean pedigree.
  8. Edward
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "wealthy guardian"
    • Description:

      Unlike perennials William, John and James, Edward is a classic that moves in and out of fashion. This royal Anglo-Saxon standard has benefited in recent years from the popularity of the hot hero of the vampire sensation Twilight — Edward Cullen — who has given his name a new infusion of cool.
  9. 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.
  10. Elodie
    • Origin:

      French, variation of Alodia, German
    • Meaning:

      "foreign riches"
    • Description:

      The lyrical and melodious Elodie, a Nameberry favorite, is starting to rise through the US popularity charts for the first time since the 1880s. It's a uncommon member of the trending El- family of names, which includes Ella, Eloise, and Eleanor.
  11. 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 8.
  12. Joia
    • Kaia
      • Origin:

        Latin, Scandinavian, or Hawaiian
      • Meaning:

        "to rejoice or sea"
      • Description:

        The new Maia, the next Kayla, Kaia has been on the charts since the year 2000. You might see it as a female form of the also-rising Kai, which means sea in Hawaiian and is sometimes used for girls as well, or as a Kardashianization of the ancient goddess name Caia.
    • Katarina
      • Origin:

        Slovak variation of Katherine
      • Meaning:

        "pure"
      • Description:

        The Russian version of Katherine is usually Ekaterina, but this Slovak form is used throughout Eastern Europe and may be more friendly to the American ear.
    • Katia
      • Origin:

        Russian diminutive of Ekaterina
      • Meaning:

        "pure"
      • Description:

        One of the warm and earthy Russian nickname names now coming into style. Denzel Washington is the father of a Katia.
    • Lars
      • Origin:

        Scandinavian from Latin Laurentius
      • Meaning:

        "crowned with laurel"
      • Description:

        Lars is a perfect candidate for a cross-cultural passport: it has been heard often enough here to sound familiar and friendly, yet retains the charisma of a charming foreigner.
    • Liesl
      • Origin:

        German diminutive of Elizabeth
      • Meaning:

        "pledged to God"
      • Description:

        While we long dismissed Liesl as being stuck in the Alps with Heidi, the Nameberry community has forced us to reconsider. Yes, like Heidi, Liesl is an old German nickname-name that has never quite moved beyond its Alpine image. But the same thing might have been said of Elsa a few years ago, and many other names that once seemed inextricably tied to their countries of origin: think Enzo and Saoirse and Freya and Soren.
    • Serafina
      • Origin:

        Italian and Spanish variation of Seraphina
      • Meaning:

        "ardent"
      • Description:

        Serafina is a name so lovely it's worthy of an angel. But the more stylish spelling today is Seraphina.
    • Seraphine
      • Origin:

        French from Hebrew
      • Meaning:

        "burning ones"
      • Description:

        Seraphine is the Gallic version of the angelic name Seraphina. But while Seraphina has been rising rapidly since Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck chose it for their second daughter, Seraphine has been largely ignored, though we believe the French vowel-sound ending will soon be more stylish than the a-endings that have predominated in girls' names for years.
    • Skye
      • Origin:

        Scottish place-name
      • Description:

        The e-addition takes the name from slightly hippie-ish nature name to the place name of a picturesque island off the coast of Scotland, and for baby namers it's by far the more popular spelling.