Should You Go British for Your Baby Names?

Mike and I spent our honeymoon in England, where we dreamed of opening a charming little bed and breakfast out in the English countryside. (Alas, the closest we’ve come to that is an overgrown garden and a guest room for my parents in our kinda charming suburban colonial.)

If we’d lived out our dreams, maybe we would have picked our daughters’ names from the UK top 20 list: Katie would have been a Poppy, and our Maggie a Maisie. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the most popular baby names in the U.K. for your naming inspiration.

Top British Boys’ Names

There isn’t a lot of crossover between our top 5 and the British top 5. In fact, James was the only one that showed up in the U.S. top 20. But all of these names are classics that would be just as perfect for an American boy.

1. Oliver may be king in England, but it only ranks number 78 here.
2. Jack has been stuck in the 40 range in the U.S. for a while now, though Jackson has broken the top 30.
3. Harry—as in Prince Harry and Harry Potter—has a wonderful British vibe. It’s not very popular here, currently at 709 after spending some time in the 500 range during the early 2000s.
4. Charlie ranks at 236 in the U.S., but the more formal version, Charles, comes in 62nd. Who would have thought Americans would be more prim and proper?
5. James ranks 17th in the U.S.

Top British Girls’ Names

When it comes to naming girls, the U.S. and U.K. have very similar tastes—all of the names except Isabelle appear in the U.S. top 20 names, and two of the names also appear in the U.S. top 5.

1. Lily, a beautiful flower name, ranks in the top 20 in the U.S. Maybe its popularity across the pond will help propel it to the top 10 here.
2. Emily currently ranks number 6 on the U.S. charts.
3. Isabella is second on the U.S. charts—and obviously even more popular in the U.K. than here, since the variant Isabelle also ranks at the top of their charts.
4. Sophia tops the U.S. charts, but comes in number 4 here.
5. Isabelle Apparently, we really like having that “a” at the end—Isabelle ranked at #114 last year in the U.S. If you like Isabella but don’t like how popular it is, consider switching out that ending “a” for an “e.”

What do you think of Britain’s lists? Would you go for an Oliver or a Lily?

Photo: British baby by MartiniDry / Shutterstock.com

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