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Top 10 Girl Baby Names
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Most parents-to-be spend hours agonizing over what to name their babe. It's such a big decision—the kid's got to live with it for life, after all—so how do they decide? The choices for girl baby names are endless—Parenting.com has a database of more than 35,000 names—but some of the same names come up over and over again. Here's a look at the top 10 girl baby names registered for Social Security in 2012.
Origin/meaning: Greek, "Wise"
Why it's a top name: This ancient Greek moniker rose through the ranks in the late '90s, has been in the top 10 for four years and finally cracked the top spot in 2011. It's easy to see why, thanks to name's beautiful sound and sage quality. We predict a long reign for Sophia as the number one girls' name.
Sophias you might know:
- Actress Sophia Loren (pictured)
- Queen Sofia of Spain
- Director Sofia Coppola
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.
Emmas you might know:
- The title character in Jane Austen's eponymous novel (pictured)
- Harry Potter actress Emma Watson
- Statue of Liberty poet Emma Lazarus
Origin/meaning: Italian, "God's oath"
Why it's a top name: The now-number three name Isabella, which was the top name for 2010 and 2011, went on a 40-year hiatus from 1950-1990, when it didn't crack the top 1,000. The worldly, beautiful Isabella is here to stay on the top ten list, but its popularity seems to have waned from the height of Twilight mania.
Isabellas you might know:
- Fictional character Isabella Swan from the Twilight series (pictured)
- Actress Isabella Rossellini
- Queen Isabella (many throughout history)
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.
Avas you might know:
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.
Olivias you might know:
- Actress and singer Olivia Newton-John
- Children's book character Olivia the Pig (pictured)
- Actress Olivia de Havilland
- Actress Olivia Wilde
- Major character in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
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.
Emilys you might know:
- Poet Emily Dickinson
- Author Emily Bronte (pictured)
- Actress Emily Blunt
- Hannah Montana actress Emily Osment
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.
Abigails you might know:
- Actress Abigail Breslin (pictured)
- Advice columnist Dear Abby, formally Abigail Van Buren (pen name for Pauline Philips)
- First Lady Abigail Adams
Origin/meaning: Italian, "Mine"
Why it's a top name: While Mia's fairly new to the top 10 list, the name rose in popularity from spot 10 in 2010 to its current 8th place ranking. Its appeal has ascended since 2000 when it entered the top 100—and it's kept on rising. Mia's a short and sweet name that packs a vivacious punch.
Mias you might know:
- Actress Mia Farrow
- Soccer player Mia Hamm
- Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries (pictured)
- Rob Young for Flickr (CC Licensed)
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.
Madisons you might know:
- Madison Avenue (pictured)
- Daryl Hannah's character in the movie Splash
- Splash News
Origin/meaning: Hebrew, "God's oath"
Why it's a top name: Do American parents have Royal Fever? With the marriage and pregnancy of William and Kate, the British Royal Family is at the height of popularity. Now, the royal matriarch's name Elizabeth is in the top 10 names for girls, and its timelessness and versatility with nicknames (Liz, Beth) make it a name for the ages.
Elizabeths you might know:
- Queen Elizabeth I and II
- Actress Elizabeth Taylor
- Actress Elizabeth Banks