What’s in a name?

To help you pick a great baby name, we reveal the meanings behind some of today’s top choices.


To give you some inspiration we’ve compiled a list of the Top Ten Girls’ and Boys’ Names 2006, as voted for by Prima Baby readers. We’ve also included some dos and don’ts for naming your baby, which will help you to make a decision your child will thank you for in the future.


Top 10 girls’ names

Grace From the word ‘grace’, which is used today to describe elegance and beauty.
Evie Derived from Eve, which means ‘life’ or ‘breath of life’ in Hebrew.
Jessica Originates from Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice. He may have got the idea from the Hebrew word yishai, which means ‘riches’ or ‘a gift’.
Daisy From the flower that gets its name from the old English ‘day’s eye’, due to the fact that the flower opens its petals in the morning and closes them at night.
Lucy From the Latin lucere, which means ‘to shine, glitter,
be light’. Often given as a name to babies born at daybreak.
Megan The Welsh form of Margaret based on the pet name Meg.
Ellie Pet form of Eleanor, which was introduced in England from France in the 12th century when Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine.
From rubens, the Latin word for ‘red’.
Olivia First found in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and relating to the word olive, an ancient symbol of peace.
Amelia Relates to the old German word Amalia that means ‘hard-working’,  ‘industrious’ and ‘energetic’.

Top 10 boys’ names

Jack Originally from the pet form of John, Jankin, that meant ‘little John’ in old English.
Ethan Biblical name that means ‘long-lived’ in Hebrew.
Joshua From the Hebrew meaning ‘God saves’.
Thomas A name of Hebrew derivation meaning ‘twin’. Also
a biblical name referring to one of the 12 apostles.
Dylan Dylan was a legendary Celtic god of the sea. The name comes from the Celtic word meaning ‘from the sea’.
Harry Pet form of Henry that comes from the old German words for ‘ruler’ and ‘power’.
Alexander From the Greek meaning ‘man’s defender and protector’.
Charlie Pet form of Charles that derives from the German word Karl, meaning ‘free man’.
Alfie Pet form of Alfred that comes from the old English meaning ‘man of intelligent and wise judgement and counsel’.
Oliver Like Olivia, it’s a derivative of olive, which is an ancient symbol of friendship and peace. Made popular by the Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.


Do go for imaginative first names with common surnames and vice versa. John Smith probably wishes his parents had been more imaginative with his first name whereas Balthazar Farquhar probably wishes they hadn’t.

Don’t use names with embarrassing connotations or initials such as Bea Ursula Mason. Think about it carefully –
it may not be obvious to you but it will be to your child’s classmates!

Don’t feel pressured by friends and relatives. Keep an open mind, but remember that it’s yours and your partner’s decision. Don’t announce your baby’s name until after he’s born so people won’t try to change your mind.

Do sound it out. Some names sound better together than others. For example, as a general rule don’t put a first name that ends in a vowel with a second name that starts with one as they will tend to run into each other.

Don’t struggle for ideas. Check some of the many books available – they can be a useful source of names you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.


Do enjoy choosing a name. This is something you may only get to do once in your life and there’s plenty of time (nine whole months in fact), so relax and make the most of what is a very special responsibility.

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