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Top Baby Names in the UK

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

We may share a language, but the British and American choices for baby names couldn’t be much farther apart. In fact, our top 10 baby names bear little resemblance to their top 10—unless you count that Twilight-inspired Jacob and Isabella duo.

For instance, Harry and Amelia top the British charts, but they rank much lower here in the U.S.—number 709 and 30, respectively. And two of the most popular names in the UK are Alfie and Jessica—neither of which charts highly in the U.S. (Jessica’s at 120, and Alfie’s even lower—it hasn’t even broken the top 1000.)

And some of those UK chart toppers may be worth importing, especially if you’re looking for something semi-traditional but not so popular here. My picks for girls include Isla, a name which comes from a river in Scotland (it’s pronounced Eye-la); Harriet, an old-fashioned name along the lines of more popular American choices like Charlotte and Scarlett; and Zara, the name of one of the Queen’s grandchildren, a nice alternative if you like Zoe. For boys, try Finley, a name that means hero; Oliver, one of the top 10 in the UK, but much less popular here (it currently ranks number 56); or Callum, a fresh alternative to the -den names like Brayden, Jaden and Aidan.

One of the interesting trends in the UK is the use of nicknames as the “official” name, instead of the full name—like Alfie instead of Alfred or Millie instead of Millicent. I think it’s especially interesting, given the UK’s traditionally more formal mindset. Maybe they’re starting to loosen up a little?

Here’s a glimpse at the top 10 in England and Wales:

BOYS

1. Harry  2. Oliver  3. Jack  4. Alfie  5. Charlie  6. Thomas  7. Jacob  8. James  9. Joshua  10. William

GIRLS

1. Amelia  2. Olivia  3. Lily  4. Jessica  5. Emily  6. Sophie  7. Ruby  8. Grace  9. Ava  10. Isabella

You can see the full top 100 baby names on the British Office for National Statistics website.

What do you think of the British taste in baby names? Do you see anything on the list you might love for your baby?

Photo: British baby by MartiniDry / Shutterstock.com

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