The Year in Baby Names
The top 100 names for 2008 are in! Big news this year: Aidan is at the top of the list for boys for the second year in a row, while Isabella skyrockets to #1 for the first time ever.
Top 10 Girl Names of 2008
1. Isabella-Meaning: Devoted to God.
As the name of the daughters of actor Matt Damon, singer Drew Lachey, and American Idol contestant Josh Gracin, this name is a hit. Isabella is the Italian form of Elizabeth that was brought into France in the early Middle Ages and then carried into England. The name became popular among royalty and was best-known for Isabella of France who married King Edward II of England and became the queen consort in during the 14th century. Italian actress and model Isabella Rossellini is a recent namesake.
2. Ava-Meaning: Like a bird.
Of uncertain origin, its possibly a variation of the medieval names Avis or Aveline, a phonetic variation of Eva and Evelyn, or a form of the Hebrew Chava. Actress Ava Gardner whose film career started in 1941 largely influenced the name. Numerous celebrities have chosen this name for their daughters, including Reese Witherspoon, Heather Locklear, Kevin Dillon, Jason Priestley, and Mia Hamm.
3. Emily-Meaning: Industrious, striving
The top ranked name in the United States and Canada for more than 10 years and recently fell to No. 5 in England during 2006. Listed among the top 50 names since 1975. Derived from the medieval feminine form of Aemilius that became a literary name associated with British writer Emily Bronte and American poet Emily Dickinson.
4. Elizabeth-Meaning:My God is an oath
Derived from the Greek form of the Hebrew name Elisheva. The name of Aaron's wife in the Old Testament and the mother of John the Baptist in the New Testament. Influenced by the long and successful rein of Queen Elizabeth I, which resulted in numerous variations. Also a literary name for one of the principal characters in Jane Austen's novel, "Pride and Prejudice." Consistently ranked among the top 25 for over 100 years.
5. Abigail-Meaning: A father's joy
The name of the third wife of King David in the Old Testament who referred to herself as David's "handmaid" which paved the way for its use in literature for a lady's servant. The name has steadily climbed in popularity since the 1940s, breaking into the top 100 in 1989. First lady and wife of former president John Adams is a namesake. Known today as the pen name for advice columnist Abigail Van Buren.
6. Madison-Meaning:Son of Maud
The name was derived from an English surname associated with former president James Madison and his wife Dolley. It was influenced by actress Daryl Hannah in the 1984 film, "Splash," whose character adopted the name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York. It debuted on the popularity chart in 1985.
7. Emma-Meaning: Whole, universal
Originally a shortened form of the medieval names Irmgard and Ermintrude that was introduced to Britain by the Normans. Used by English writer Jane Austen for the title character of her 19th century novel that was adapted into a movie in 1996. Also the name of Rachel's baby on the TV show "Friends." Listed among the top 100 since 1973 and is often combined with other names such as Emma Justine, Emma Marie, and Emma Rose.
8. Addison- Meaning: Adam's son
A surname that originated from a personal name derived from Addie or Adie which was a pet form of Adam during the Middle Ages. Sporadically used during the late 19th century, it faded from use until 1986. More popular as a girl's name, especially when connected to Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery, the "Grey's Anatomy" character.
9. Madeline- Meaning: Woman from Magdala
Derived from the French Madeleine which was taken from Magdala, a biblical place name for a village located on the Sea of Galilee and the home of Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus. Also a literary name for the heroine in a series of children's books created by author Ludwig Bemelmans. Listed among the top 100 since 1994.
10. Olivia-Meaning: Olive tree
William Shakespeare is credited with inventing the name for the rich heiress wooed by a duke in his play, "Twelfth Night" possibly taken from the Latin word "oliva" which means "olive." The name was influenced during the 1970s by Australian singer and actress Olivia Newton-John and first entered the top 100 in 1990.
Top 10 Boy Names of 2008
1. Aidan-Meaning:Little fire
Made famous by the character Aidan Shaw, played by actor Josh Corbett, who was the boyfriend of Carrie Bradshaw in the TV show Sex and the City. A form of the name Aodan. Used by several early Irish saints. Irish American actor Aidan Quinn has brought attention to the name.
2. Jayden-Meaning:God has heard
A form of Jadon, a biblical figure in the Old Testament. Entered the top 100 in 2003. The name of the second son of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. Also used for girls.
3. Jacob-Meaning:Holder of the heel
Has come in and out of vogue for over 100 years. Landed at No. 1 for the first time in 1999, knocking Michael off the top after 38 years. In the Old Testament, Jacob was born holding his twin brother Esau's heel. Namesake Jacob Grimm, the German linguist and writer, was the author of "Grimm's Fairy Tales" with his brother Wilhelm. Jacobus is the Latin form of the name.
4. Michael-Meaning:Who resembles God
Has flirted among the 50 most popular names for well over 100 years. Climbed to No. 1 for the first time in 1954 and spent 38 years in the top spot. Michael was one of the seven archangels and the leader of heaven's armies in the New Testament. Kings, saints, and emperors have been given this name. Today most people think of musician Michael Jackson or basketball star Michael Jordan.
5. Ethan-Meaning: Firm, steadfast
A wise man in the Old Testament, well-known Revolutionary War leader Ethan Allen first brought attention to the name in the U.S. American novelist Edith Wharton wrote "Ethan Frome" in 1911 which was adapted into a film in 1993. It is a top name in several English-speaking countries.
One of the contemporary names with an "en" ending. Debuted on the popularity chart in 1992, quickly climbing among the top 100. It is the name of actor Kevin Costner's son.
English version of Jacob. A biblical name for two apostles of Jesus. Grew rapidly in popularity when James Stuart ascended the throne of England in 1602. Listed among the top five names for 100 years in the U.S. Faded in 1981, yet stayed within the top 20. Six presidents are also among the namesakes.
In the Old Testament, Caleb was one of 12 spies sent into Israel by Moses, Along with Moses, he and Joshua are the only ones who lived along enough to enter the promised land. Listed among the top 100 in 1989.
The first apostle chosen by Christ. The name has seen much popularity in Scotland and a renewed interest in Great Britain since the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960. Historical namesakes in the U.S. include two presidents and industrialist Andrew Carnegie.
10. Matthew-Meaning: Gift of God
A biblical name for one of the 12 apostles and the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. Ranked among the top 10 since 1972 and is one of the most common names found among English-speaking countries. Matt is a popular shortened form. "Friends" actor Matthew Perry has help keep the name current. Tennis star Mats Wilander uses the Swedish and Norwegian variation.