Each year the US Government (social security administration) puts out a list of last year's most popular baby names. Below are the most popular baby names from last year. We list the most popular boy names, and the most popular girl names. We will update this list as the Government provides more data to us.
Unsure about which name to choose, or want more options? Here are some great resources for baby name books (these make great gifts!):
1. 100,000 Baby Names, The Most Complete Baby Name Book, also available on Kindle:
2. The Name Book: Over 10,000 Baby Names with Meanings, Origins, and Spiritual Significance, also available on Kindle:
3. Baby Names by Eleanor Turner, not available on Kindle:
Here is the list of 2017 Most Popular Baby Names issued by the US Government (of course, these are always a year behind, so these are from 2016 records):
Below are the origins and meanings for each of the Boy names:
Noah: Derived from the Hebrew name נוֹחַ (Noach) meaning "rest, comfort". According to the Old Testament, Noah was the builder of the Ark that allowed him, his family, and animals of each species to survive the great Flood. After the Flood he received the sign of the rainbow as a covenant from God. As an English Christian name, Noah has been used since the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans.
Liam:Irish short form of WILLIAM (see William description below!).
Mason: From an English surname meaning "stoneworker", from an Old French word of Germanic origin (akin to Old English macian "to make").
Jacob: From the Latin Iacobus, which was from the Greek Ιακωβος (Iakobos) , which was from the Hebrew name יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov). In the Old Testament, Jacob (later called Israel) is the son of Isaac and Rebecca and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel" or "supplanter". Other theories claim that it is in fact derived from a hypothetical name like יַעֲקֹבְאֵל (Ya'aqov'el) meaning "may God protect".
William: From the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil "will, desire" and helm "helmet, protection". SaintWilliam of Gellone was an 8th-century cousin of Charlemagne who became a monk. The name was common among the Normans, and it became extremely popular in England after William the Conqueror was recognized as the first Norman king of England. It was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia.
Ethan: Means "solid, enduring" in Hebrew. This is the name of a wise man in the Old Testament. After the Protestant Reformation it was occasionally used as a given name in the English-speaking world, and it became somewhat common in America due to the fame of the revolutionary Ethan Allen (1738-1789). It only became popular towards the end of the 20th century. This was the name of the main character in Edith Wharton's novel 'Ethan Frome' (1911).
James: Originated with the late Latin name "Iacomus" which was derived from the Greek "Iakobos" which is the New Testament form of the Hebrew Jacob. This was also the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The meaning is "supplanter" or one who follows another.
Alexander: Latinized form of the Greek name Αλεξανδρος (Alexandros), which meant "defending men" from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, help" andανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος ). In Greek mythology this was another name of the hero Paris, and it also belongs to several characters in the New Testament. However, the most famous bearer was Alexander the Great, King of Macedon. In the 4th century BC he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia, and parts of India. Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.
Michael: From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el) meaning "who is like God?". This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies, and thus is considered the patron saint of soldiers.
Benjamin: A Hebrew baby name, with the meaning "son of my right hand." Many Jewish families historically name their last (youngest) boy Benjamin. The "son of my right hand" means the son from the favored side of the body, symbolizing strength and favoritism.
Below are the origins and meanings for each of the Girl names:
Emma: Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen meaning "whole" or "universal". It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of king Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of king Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma.
Olivia: This name was first used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy 'Twelfth Night' (1602). Shakespeare may have based it on OLIVER or OLIVA, or perhaps directly on the Latin word oliva meaning "olive". In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.
Sophia: Means "wisdom" in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia "Holy Wisdom", which was the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.
Ava: A variant of Eve, which is from the Hebrew name חַוָּה (Chawwah), which was derived from the Hebrew word חוה (chawah) "to breathe" or the related word חיה (chayah)"to live". According to the Old Testament Book of Genesis, Eve and Adam were the first humans. She gave the forbidden fruit to Adam, causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Despite this potentially negative association, the name was occasionally used during the Middle Ages. In the English-speaking world both Eve and the Latin form Eva were revived in the 19th century.
Isabella: Latinate form of ISABEL. This name was borne by many medieval royals, including queen consorts of England, France, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire and Hungary, as well as the powerful ruling queen Isabella of Castile (properly called Isabel).
Mia: A diminutive form of Maria, which is a Latin form of Greek Μαρια, from Hebrew מִרְיָם (see MARY). Maria is the usual form of the name in many European languages, as well as a secondary form in other languages such as English (where the common spelling is Mary). In some countries, for example Germany, Poland and Italy, Maria is occasionally used as a masculine middle name.
Abigail: From the Hebrew name אֲבִיגָיִל ('Avigayil) meaning "my father is joy". In the Old Testament this is the name of Nabal's wife. After Nabal's death she became the third wife of King David.
Emily: English feminine form of Aemilius (see EMIL). In the English-speaking world it was not common until after the German House of Hanover came to the British throne in the 18th century; the princess Amelia Sophia (1711-1786) was commonly known as Emily in English, even though Amelia is an unrelated name.
Charlotte: This is the female form of the male name Charles, which is of French origin and means "free man" or "petite." The name dates back to the 18th century and was made popular again in the 1950's by the book Charlotte's Web. Variations include Charlie, Lottie, Carlota, and Carlotta.
Harper: This name transformed from the last name Harper, which has Irish, English, and Scottish. The meaning is a person who plays the harp as an occupation, a "harper."