20 Charming Baby Names You’ll Want to Steal From the Brits

by Michelle Guerrere
PHOTO:

Linda Alfvegren/Trunk Archive

We think (know) the Brits do everything better. There's a reason we're so enamored with the royal family, Downton Abbey, and the like. We envy their accents, their rich history, their quaint cottages, red telephone booths… You get the gist. On top of that, we also fancy the adorable names all of the British It girls are giving their little ones. So along with the help of BabyCentre UK, we rounded up the top baby girl and boy names from the charming country. Scroll down to see which children’s names from across the pond made the cut.

 

olivia

This pretty moniker comes from the Latin word oliva, meaning "olive tree." You may recognize it as the name of Jude Law's daughter in the movie The Holiday. Hollywood was definitely on point with its naming: This was the top baby girl name for the past two years in a row. 

 

LILY

This ultra-feminine name is part of a wave of floral baby girl names taking the UK by storm (also popular now: Poppy, Daisy, and Holly). Lily comes from the Middle English word lilie, after the flower we all know and love. Although it's one spot higher than last year, it's been in the top 20 baby names for the past decade. Plus, Phil Collins, Kate Beckinsale, and Johnny Depp all bestowed this title upon their daughters.

 

SOPHIA

This more traditional title comes from the Greek word meaning "wisdom." Although it dropped one spot from last year's list, this sophisticated name has been in the top 50 consistently during the past 10 years. It's been a staple in England since the 1700s, especially for female royalty—it was the name of both King George I's mother and wife. 

 

EMILY

This super-popular name has been in the top five baby girl names in Britain for the last decade. It originates from the Latin word aemulus, meaning "rival" and has fittingly served as the moniker of many powerful British women over the years, including Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë and women's suffrage activist Emily Wilding Davison. 

 

AMELIA

Amelia with an "A" comes from the Latin word aemilia, meaning "strive." This Victorian title became popular during the reign of King George II and King George III (they both gave their daughters the name). Side note: It's also British actress Minnie Driver's birth name. 

 

AVA

This short yet sweet title jumped a whopping five spots this year. Although you may think this name coming from the Latin avis, meaning "bird" is a modern addition, it goes way back. King Pepin of the Franks (who ruled in the 700s) had a daughter named Ava who later became a saint when she was cured of her blindness. More recently, this darling name has been given to both Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman's daughters.

Other popular British baby names for girls:

  • Isla
  • Isabella
  • Isabelle
  • Sophie 
 

OLIVER

Oliver is the male counterpart to Olivia, coming from the same Latin word meaning "olive tree." Although it was a common title in the medieval age, it was less frequently used after Oliver Cromwell's rule in the 17th century. It started to see a resurgence in the 19th century and has earned itself its place as the number one boy's name for four consecutive years. 

 

MUHAMMAD

This name is from the Arabic "Hamid," which translates to "praised" and "praiser of God." This religious title is not just common in the UK; it is actually believed to be one of the top boy's names worldwide. It's also the moniker of Olympic runner Mo Farah (because of its widespread usage, going by a nickname is not out of the ordinary).

 

noah

We definitely recognize this one as the title of Ryan Gosling's character in The Notebook, but why is it also popular across the pond? Biblical names are making an international comeback, and many children know the story of Noah's ark from a young age (side note, Noah comes from the Hebrew word noach, which translates to "comfort" and "rest"). Celebrities like Alessandra Ambrosio and Megan Fox have chosen this strong name for their sons.

 

harry

Need we look any further than Prince Harry to see why this one has made the list again? It's had a firm spot in the top five for a while now and actually was the number one boy's name in 2012. The regal title comes from the medieval form of Henry, which means "home" and "power, ruler." We can't forget to remind you that J.K. Rowling based her whole seven-book series on a character with this name, Harry Potter. It's also likely become more popular since the rise of One Direction star Harry Styles.

 

jack

A nickname for John no longer, Jack was actually the MVP of baby boy names in Britain for years until Oliver ousted him. It does still originate from the name John, coming from the Hebrew name "Yochanan," which means "God is gracious." Hollywood is also on board—Luke Perry and Meg Ryan have both used this title for their sons.

 

charlie

Nameberry calls this favorite UK moniker "friendly" (perhaps because of its association with the cartoon character Charlie Brown?). This title is also the name of British writer Roald Dahl's famous character in the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Like Jack, Charlie is no longer just a nickname. Its roots go back to the Old English word ceorlmeaning "man."

Other popular British baby names for boys:

  • Jacob
  • George
  • Ethan
  • Henry

Be sure to read about the top baby sleeping tips, and tell us which of the above British baby names you like best in the comments!

Add a Comment

More Stories
1