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BellaOnline's Baby Names Editor

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Emma - Girl Name

Guest Author - Nancy Man

Just a few decades ago, things were not looking so hot for the name Emma. The name had been steadily declining in popularity in the U.S. since the start of the century. By the mid-1970s, only several hundred newborns were named Emma every year.

But then the 1980s came along. Emma suddenly became fashionable again. That long, slow decline quickly corrected itself. Emma became one of the top 100 baby names in the nation in 1993, then went on to crack the top 10 in 2002:
  • 2010 - 3rd most popular name in the nation
  • 2009 - 2nd
  • 2008 - 1st
  • 2007 - 3rd
  • 2006 - 2nd
  • 2005 - 2nd
  • 2004 - 2nd
  • 2003 - 2nd
  • 2002 - 4th
  • 2001 - 13th
  • 2000 - 17th
It broke Emily's 11-year streak to become the #1 name in the nation for one year, 2008. Then slipped back to #2 in 2009, losing the top spot to Isabella.

It's interesting to note that Emma isn't appealing to American parents only. The name has been concurrently climbing charts across the globe, especially in Northern European countries such as Finland, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Scotland and Sweden.

This simple-yet-suddenly-popular name can be traced back to a Germanic word that meant "entire" or "whole." (Ironically, the decidedly unfashionable name Irma comes from the same source.) But certain Emmas may have alternate origins for their names. For instance, they may have been named in honor of specific relatives with longer monikers like Emerald, Emiliana, Emmanuelle and Emmeline -- or even male names, like Emmerich, Emerson and Emmett.

Notable Emmas include the following:
  • Emma Bunton (b. 1976) - "Baby Spice"
  • Emma Goldman (1869-1940) - Lithuanian-born anarchist
  • Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) - American poet
  • Emma Roberts (b. 1991) - American actress and singer
  • Emma Thompson (b. 1959) - English actress
  • Emma Watson (b. 1990) - English actress
There's also the fictional Emma Woodhouse of Jane Austen's classic novel Emma.


10,000 Most Popular Baby Girl Names 10,000 Most Popular Baby Girl Names

Want more than the top 100 or top 1,000 baby girl names? Here's a complete list of the 10,000 most popular baby girl names in the nation! Click to learn more.
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Mia - Girl Name
Emily - Girl Name
Madison - Girl Name
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Content copyright © 2014 by Nancy Man. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Nancy Man. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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