Quick! An important trivia question: What is the most popular name in the world? The answer can be found at the end of this article.
Naming a baby is, of course, the most excruciating task awaiting those expecting a baby. In Anglo cultures, where any collection of sounds can make for a name, the possibilities are endless, heedless of meaning. Name upon name gets kicked around back and forth between the proud parents to be, the meaning of this one debated, the meaning of that one hated, arguments form and questions of taste abound. Meanwhile, friends are more than willing to help. After all, it's fun for them. Just to make the decision a bit more complicated, read on for another exotic idea or fifty - really, it's just an innocuous collection of name meanings and favorites...
First of all, there are the most popular. In America in 2004, those were Emma (the meaning of which is "whole" or "complete"), Madison ("gift of god" or "small fighter"), Emily ("flattering"), Kaitlyn ("pure"), Hailey ("field of hay"), Olivia ("olive"), Isabella ("devoted to god"), Hannah ("favor" or "grace"), Sarah ("princess") and Abigail ("giver of joy"). For boys, it was Jacob (the meaning of which is "supplanter"), Aidan ("little fire"), Ethan ("strong"), Ryan ("kingly"), Matthew ("gift of god"), Michael (also "gift of god"), Tyler (a British name derived from "Taylor"), Joshua ("god is salavation"), Nicholas ("victory"), Connor ("strong willed" or "wise").
All fine names to be sure, but come on! You don't want to give your son or daughter just the same old name, do you? Not when there is so much color in those baby name books (and today databases)! Not when the meaning of your choice just, doesn't, well, jibe with your picture of this perfect baby. So walk the wild side of names. Or at least listen to my suggestions. Those of us not expecting love making suggestions.
You probably know of some more typical origins of today's names such as English, Celtic, Hebrew, Scottish and such, but what about further asea? How about Sametta ("sunny day") from the Ivory Coast? From India comes Morisha ("god is within you") or Nyana ("eyes"), the latter of which could be indescribably seductive to parents of certain so so cute babies. Ahanu, too, is vitally descriptive of a baby we'd all be thrilled to laugh: It's an Algonquin name, meaning "laughing." Isn't that nice? From Turkish, there's Yasamin or the more popular (indeed, quite popular) Jasmine, the meaning of which is known.
Not sold yet? How about continuing by meaning? Serena means "beautiful," as do more than 100 others in the English-speaking world, including Alanna, Bonnie, Buthaynah, Elvira, Oludo (from Nigeria), Sapphira, Zerlinda, and, of course, Venus. For "little one," there's Abha (from Hindi), Etta (German) and Sagirah (Arabic). There are a couple dozen names that mean "love," all stranger than you would think. How about Amora or Tivona or Persephone? Mindy is about the most typical on that list. Interestingly, twenty-two names exist with "star" as a meaning. Names like Esther and Estelle are well-known, but there's also Jakobi, Cochava, Izar, Trella and - stop me if you've heard it before - Star.
This was barely scratching the surface... there are millions more, really, and a discussion about name meanings and such could go on forever. My recommendation? Zsuzsa (of Hungarian origin, the meaning of which is "lily"). And the most common name in the world is Mohammed.