All of us are unique in our own little way. But you sure will guarantee your kid’s uniqueness, and even greatness, if you give them such one of a kind name like Shaquille or Tupac. For most of us, however, we prefer something more common.
The past year saw the rise of the names Jace, Oliver and Sebastian in terms of popularity. These names may crack the most common names used by next year. But for this year, the following is a list of the top ten most popular names for boys. Note that names that have multiple spellings have been combined, like Aidan and Aiden.
This name has been on top of the list for eight straight years now. It is derived from Aodhan, which in turn is a form of Aodh. Aodh was the name of a sun god in Celtic lore. While the name has been around for the longest time for sons of Scotland and Ireland, its popularity has spread to the rest of the English-speaking world. The name is also common in Turkey and the Arab world, albeit with a different pronunciation.
The name traces its roots from England and Scotland. Literally speaking, it means the son of Jack. It is actually one of the more common surnames in the United States, accounting for a third of a percent of the total population. This makes it the thirteenth most used family name in the U.S. It has been gaining popularity, however, as a first name. So popular, in fact, that it is considered the second most popular name for boys for 2012.
The name Ethan actually has a Hebrew origin. While some have it as Eitan or Eytan, Ethan has evolved to be the most common spelling of the name. The name denotes a person’s firmness, strength and long life. Ethans are also known to be impetuous and impulsive.
Liam is a short form of the English name William and Irish name Uilliam. The name, along with Gwilym, Wil, and Gwil, became popular in England, Wales and Ireland after the Norman conquest. At that time, there was a tremendous influx of French names. Aside from William, the names Alain, Guy and Aeginald also transformed the landscape, leading to the death of Saxon names like Ethelred. William, on the other hand, had German elements, coming from the words vila and helma. It means helmet of will.
While the name is traditionally a name given to boys, it recently has been used for both sexes. Mason was originally a family name, though like Jackson, it also has gained popularity as a given name. The word mason means one who works with stone.
The name Noah has a Hebrew root. The origin of the name, however, has different interpretations. One school of thought is that the Holy Book implies the definition of rest to Noah when it stated in Genesis chapter 5, verse 29 that “…and he called his name Noah, saying, this same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands.” A second school of thought, however, claims that it came from the Hebrew word Nahum, meaning to comfort. Dropping the last consonant will allow it to be pronounced to something similar to Noah.
The name Lucas is derived from the ancient Greeks. Greeks during ancient times used to describe a man from Lucania as Loukas. This, in turn, eventually evolved into the modern spelling of Lucas.
Jacob is a very common first name that has been one of the most popular in the U.S. since 1999. The name is related to James. The name has a Hebrew origin, with roots in the Bible. Jacob is the name of the Hebrew patriarch, the son of Isaac and Rebecca, and younger twin brother of Esau. In Hebrew, the name Jacob means to be behind or to follow. This is connected to the birth of the twins, when Jacob came out of the womb holding on to the heels of Esau. However, another part of the Bible defined the word as to cheat. In Aramaic, Jacob means to be a follower of God. The name is also widely used in the Arab and Muslim world because Jacob is actually also venerated in the Islamic faith. As a result, we have similar names in Muslim societies, like Yakub in Arab and Yakup in Turkish.
Jayden is a relatively new name in the U.S. It first made the list of top 1000 most popular names only in 1994, when it debuted at number 851. The popularity of the name skyrocketed, especially among ethnic minorities, after the popular actor Will Smith named his child Jaden in 1998. While a similar name, Jadon, can be traced to the Bible in the book of Nehemiah, it only became popular after Jayden had taken off. It was thus a case of the variant spelling of a name pulling up the original. Trekkies will probably recognize the name Jayden when it was used in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Unknown planet inhabitants gave Lieutenant Commander Data that name after he had lost his memory. This was probably the first reference of the name in popular culture. Some theorize that the name is an amalgamation of Jason and Hayden.
The name Jack has its origin from Middle English, when it was used as an indirect diminutive of the name John. Thus, we had the former President of the U.S. John F. Kennedy being referred to by friends, family and close associates as Jack. It has evolved however to become a given name in its own right. It is used in the English language for a variety of purpose, from jackknife and jackpot to hijack and lumberjack. This variety of meanings probably gave rise to the term jack of all trades, reflecting the flexibility of the word that can be used in different situations.