What Are the Meanings of Some Common Children's Names?

What Are the Meanings of Some Common Children's Names?

The most-common names for newborns in 2014 in the United States were Noah and Liam for boys and Emma and Olivia for girls. Noah means “peace” or “rest,” and Liam means “strong-willed warrior.” Emma means “entire” or “universal,” and Olivia means “olive tree.”

Noah comes from the Hebrew language. A prominent Biblical figure, known for the story of the ark and the great flood, shares this name. Actors such as Noah Wiley and Noah Emmerich also share the name.

Liam comes from the name William and has Irish origins. Prominent celebrities with the name include actors, such as Liam Neeson and Liam Hemsworth, and singers, such as Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and Liam Payne of One Direction.

Emma has roots in Old French and Old German. Ermintrude and Irma are earlier variations of this name. The name became popular in medieval England where royalty commonly used it. Actors, such as Emma Thompson and Emma Watson, and fictional characters, such as the titular character from Jane Austen’s novel, contribute to its modern-day popularity.

The first record of the use of Olivia as a name comes from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” in 1599. Whether Shakespeare used the male name Oliver or the original English word as inspiration is unknown. Popular Olivias include actress-and-comedian Olivia Munn and actress-and-singer Olivia Newton-John.