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Top 20 Baby Names Of 2011

Updated on November 6, 2011

Naming Your Baby

If you're expecting a new bundle of joy into your life within the next year you might be wondering what some of the popular names are for the 2011. Most of the top name choices have become popular due to things going on around the world. They could be popular due to movies, books, names of other people or they could just be a rotation of names making a comeback from decades ago.

First Things First

Once you find out that you are going to be a proud new parent, you should immediately start writing down every name that you like. You can find good ideas for baby names all around you. Television, movies, books, and ideas from others are a great place to start. Starting with as many baby names as possible in the beginning will make your ultimate name choice that much better easier the end. You will need to come up with a first and middle name, but I recommend starting with just the first name in the beginning. After you have chosen your child's first name the middle name will just seem to fall into place. If you have no idea where to start, take a look at 2011's top baby names below.

Top Hottest Baby Names in 2011

TOP 10 GIRL NAMES:

Isabella

Origin/meaning: Italian, "God's oath"

Why it's a top name: The now-number one name Isabella went on a 40-year hiatus from 1950-1990, when it didn't crack the top 1,000. The worldly, beautiful Isabella is likely here to stay, partly boosted by use of the name in the popular Twilight series.

Emma

Origin/meaning:German, "Universal"

Why it's a top name: Emma's meaning holds the basis of its appeal: it's universally liked and known. It fell out of favor during the '60s and 70s but has yo-yoed in the top five since 2002. The name's sweet and smart nature will keep it in vogue for a while longer.

Olivia

Origin/meaning: Latin, "Olive tree"

Why it's a top name: Olivia is an elegant, graceful name for the ages that parents started dusting off in the '90s. Its stock has only gone up since, and it has remained a top 10 fixture since 1994.

Sophia

Origin/meaning: Greek, "Wise"

Why it's a top name: This ancient Greek moniker rose through the ranks in the late '90s, and has been in the top 10 for four years. It's easy to see why, thanks to name's beautiful sound and sage quality.

Ava

Origin/meaning:German, "Form of Eve"

Why it's a top name: Even though actress Ava Gardner was wildly popular in her time, the ultra-feminine name didn't ascend into favor until 2002. After five years in the top 10, it likely won't be going anywhere any time soon; parents seem to love the 3-letter simplicity and old Hollywood glam combo.

Emily

Origin/meaning: Latin, "Industrious"

Why it's a top name: Emily's popularity hasn't waned much since it hovered in the top 100 from the '70s -- until now. Emily was number one from 1996-2007; in 2008, it came third, and now, it's in sixth place. Does this signal the name's decline? Seeing as it hasn't dropped from the top 300 in a century, energetic, spunky Emily will most likely always have a place as a top name.

Madison

Origin/meaning:English, "Son of Matthew"

Why it's a top name: While always a popular surname, Madison as a girl's name didn't even register in the top 1,000 names until the mid-'80s (possibly thanks to the movie Splash, which came out in 1984). It peaked in the early '00s, but has dropped one place per year since 2007. It's still a very "in" girl's name -- you're likely to know at least one on the playground -- and even if it does fall from the top 10, its sophisticated quality will keep it around a while longer.

Abigail

Origin/meaning:Hebrew, "Father's joy"

Why it's a top name: Even though Abigail only broke the top 100 in 1989, the name is still a classic (Abigail Adams rocked it back in the 1700s), and has held a strong showing in the top 10 since 2001. Abigail has a sweet, prim innocence to it, but also a solid good nature, too.

Chloe

Origin/meaning: Greek, "Blooming"

Why it's a top name: Chloe was barely a blip on the radar until parents plucked the name from obscurity in 1998, when it cracked the top 100. The name has only risen ever since, and its quirky blend of funky, sophisticated and chic will likely keep it in the top 10 for a while.

Mia

Origin/meaning: Italian, "Mine"

Why it's a top name: Mia's new to the top 10 list, but its appeal has only ascended since 2000 when it entered the top 100 -- and it's sure to keep on rising. Mia's a short and sweet name that packs a vivacious punch.

TOP 10 BOY NAMES:

Jacob

Origin/meaning: Hebrew, "Supplanter, substitute"

Why it's a top name: Jacob has held a top spot since 2000, thanks to its dependable, all-around good guy feel. Nickname Jake shows off their fun side.

Ethan

Origin/meaning:Hebrew, "Strong, firm"

Why it's a top name: Ethan is cerebral and poetic, but still holds all-American appeal -- keeping it in the top 25 since 2000.

Michael

Origin/meaning:Hebrew, "Who is like God?"

Why it's a top name: Michael is a perennial fave for the ages: it's held a number one or two spot since 1954. Even as grown men, Michaels always seem to maintain their boyish charm.

Alexander

Origin/meaning: Greek, "Defender of mankind"

Why it's a top name: This regal name conquered the top 20 list in 2000, and has only increased in popularity since. You can bet an Alexander will be noble and courageous -- but the nickname Alex conveys a playful side.

William

Origin/meaning:English, German, "Protector"

Why it's a top name: You're bound to know at least one William; the name hasn't slipped from the top 20 since 1900. While the full name has a proper, grown-up feel, nicknames Bill, Will and Willy take the formal edge off.

Joshua

Origin/meaning:Hebrew, "God is my salvation"

Why it's a top name: Joshua gained favor in the 1970s (the namedoes have a cool hippie feel). Joshua can always fall back on its biblical appeal, but its down-to-earth nature only helped its popularity surge.

Daniel

Origin/meaning:Hebrew, "God is my judge"

Why it's a top name: Daniels are just as solid and dependable as their name's popularity; it's been a top 50 pick since the '20s. While Dans tend to be good-head-on-his-shoulders kind of guys, Dannys always seem to have a mischievous (but good-natured) streak.

Jayden

Origin/meaning:Hebrew, "God has heard"

Why it's a top name: Ten years ago, Jayden barely made the top 100 boy names. Today, it's in the top 10. Yep, Britney, who gave her second son that name, did have a hand in its popularity boost. When her son was born in 2006, it ranked 49; one year later, it skyrocketed to 18. The name's modern, unisex feel will likely keep it on the top ten list for a while.

Noah

Origin/meaning:Hebrew, "Peaceful"

Why it's a top name: Noah is a new name to the top 10 block, and only broke the top 50 in 1996. Noahs are quiet and thoughtful, and just saying the name invites calm. Although Noah might have to deal with a few ark jokes now and then, it's a great alternative to flashy, trendy names or the more common classics.

Anthony

Origin/meaning: Latin, Greek, "Praiseworthy (Latin), flourishing (Greek)"

Why it's a top name: Anthony is a true classical name from its Latin and Greek roots, which helps explains why it's been in the top 50 since 1900. Anthonys tend to be strong and silent, while Tonys are more fun-loving, life-of-the-party guys.

Tip # 1

Before choosing a name with a unique pronunciation or spelling keep in mind that your child will spend his or her lifetime explaining to others how the name is really spelled or pronounced. No one likes having their name constantly misspelled or mispronounced that's for sure.

Some Additional Names To Consider

So maybe the most popular baby names of 2011 aren't for you or your baby. Are you looking for something original that hasn't been used a million times before? Try on some of these for size.

For Your Baby Girl:

Arabella

Joni

Willow

Amaya

Adeline

Ellena

For Your Baby Boy:

Kannon

Waylon

Aiden

Ellis

Cash

Mika

The names "Pippa" and "Asher" are the top trend-makers of 2011 & the most Googled names of the year!

Put Your Baby's Name On It

Decided on a name? Great! Here are a few "must haves" for your new bundle of joy. Not yet? Well you can always use these to come back to once you decide.

Eight Timeless Rules For Naming A Baby

1. Start thinking of names as soon as you find out you're pregnant. If you grow tired of a name after a couple months you probably won't be happy with it later on.

2. Make sure to say your chosen name out loud along with your last name several times to see if it runs together smoothly. You don't want the name to sound odd or run together.

3. Try the names out on your friends. If they act like they don't understand what you are saying or have to ask how it's spelled... just think what your child will go through down the road.

4. Don't let pressure get the best of you. Don't give your child a name simply because a family memeber suggests it. Name your child something that means something to you.

5. If you do feel obiligated to use a family members name... make it the middle name. I don't know many kids that wan't to be named Louise these days but it won't sound as bad if you name them Elizabeth Louise.

6. Be prepared for all of the nicknames that may come from your baby's name. Also, if you give your child a name with several variations of spelling, expect them to have to remind people of the spelling.

7. Think like a bully. You don't want to give your child a name that can be easily made into a punch line. Ex. Peggy = Piggy or Roberta = Robert. You also want to watch the initials. Please don't name your child Patricia Isabel Graves -- P.I.G.

8. The Ex Rule: Even if your husband's ex-girlfriend's name has always been one of your favorites, don't go with it and hope you'll forget. You won't, and neither will he.

What's Your Opinion?

If you had to choose, which name would you pick for your little girl?

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What Do You Think?

Which of these is your favorite baby boy name? If you had to choose.

See results

Let's Debate!

Is it better to have a boy or girl first?

Girl all the way!

Girl all the way!

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    • anonymous 4 years ago

      GIRL

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Girls are natural mothers, they'll help with the other children. This also helps them to be a leader and a good example setter and should help them when they are in their teenage years. This is how my wife and I set it up (lol)

    • fitnessmaster1 6 years ago

      I would like to get a gril first, this is my dream.

    Boy, you better believe it!

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      • Sharon Berry 6 years ago from Michigan

        I like the idea of having a boy first. The older big brother, protector of the siblings always appealed to me.

      • The Great Conve 6 years ago

        I agree that having a boy first is probably better for many reasons but it sure would be nice to have a girl :)

      • heidishome 6 years ago

        Boy first for sure. I have two and love them! Plus then the little girl will have a big brother to protect her from dating boys in the teen years.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          very much useful. I love it when I get to participate in lens! If you like to browse lens as much as I do, mine has a great educational topic with poll questions for my readers to enjoy.

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          Nany Palacio 6 years ago

          Thank you very helpful, we are expecting the Third, and we are looking for great names!! we do not yet if is a boy or girl.... but we are investigating. Thanks for your great lens!

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          Sharon Berry 6 years ago from Michigan

          I think this would be very helpful for the expecting parents. A good name is important and should be considered very carefully. You have listed many good suggestions. Very nice lens.

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          marymckinney629 6 years ago

          I have 4 boys, Josh, John, Cory and Jacob and a daughter, Casey, she was named after a family friend and it was their last name. Because of the spelling, people online would assume she too was a boy if I didn't tell them differently. Now she a daughter, Cicilia Emma and a son Dante Danger. She also has another daughter on the way. They're thinking probably Amilia to go with Cicilia, and I'm hoping Emily as a middle name.

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          The Great Conve 6 years ago

          Thank you everyone for the awesome comments! I love my readers!

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          JoshK47 6 years ago

          Great work on this lens! :) Keep it up!

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          laki2lav 6 years ago

          my little girl is mia, and i always tell her she is mia because she is mia. nice to see you put it on a list. makes me all warm inside

        • heidishome profile image

          heidishome 6 years ago

          Yes. I really like a lot of the top 10 names. I love the name Kannon for a boy as a unique name. Nice job! Blessed