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Whether it's the Adeline, Clara, and Clementine of the early s, the Mary and Jane of the s, the Heather and Jennifer of the s, or the Jessica and Ashley of the s, popular names define generations just as much as unique ones do. In the present day and age, however, popular names are unique names, and they're more beautiful — and more versatile — than ever. Though the elegant retro names of days gone by are making a comeback, unique musical names are also all the rage, and a mixture of symbolism, classic beauty, and quirkiness appears to be defining the most sought-after monikers of the times we live in. So whether you're planning on naming your little one after a mythological goddess or are just curious to see what names parents are gaga for nowadays, read on. Olivia Shutterstock This beautiful name seems to have almost universal connotations of sophistication and intelligence. One of Olivia's first appearances was in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night , and its meaning distilled from its male variant Oliver of "olive tree" gives it a symbolic Biblical kind of quality, as well. Olivia has been holding steady as the country's second most popular girl's name since Interestingly, and according to the above-referenced Baby Center stats, Olivia was a name that was distinctly unpopular, for a significantly long time. From about to about the late s that is, almost a century , it was rarely used. In the early '90s, however, it started to catch on, and has been accelerating ever since. Ava Shutterstock Ava Gardner , anyone? Perhaps because of her iconic beauty, this name has connotations of glamour and femininity. A variation of the Biblical name Eve and, in turn, Eva Ava may also be descended from the Latin "avis," which means bird see: Ava is presently the number three girl's name in the United States, an honor it's held since In celebritydom, Ava is the name of the daughter of actress Reese Witherspoon and actor Ryan Phillippe. Because of its Gardner association, Ava has a quality of Old Hollywood elegance to it that might be perfectly suited to parents who are movie buffs. Or who just like the idea of resurrecting a name that will always be associated with the silver screen, film noir, and Technicolor, all at once. Isabella Shutterstock Isabella is a gorgeous four syllable baby girl name that spills over with beauty, like a series of pearls descending from the palate. A variation of the classic name Elizabeth, it's presently the fourth most popular female name in the United States, up just one notch from the number five spot in From Queen Isabella of Spain to actress Isabella Rossellini to poet Isabella Gardner , who was in turn the great niece of famed art connoisseur Isabella Stewart Gardner, the name has a distinctly august lineage. Despite its classic appeal, however, the name did tank in popularity in the United States from the late s to the late s. Its status may be eternal in Europe, but it also seems destined to stay popular on American shores for quite some time to come too, at least at this point. Sophia Shutterstock This beautiful Greek baby girl name, which means "wisdom," seems to be a huge favorite of almost everybody. Sophia is presently the number five most popular female name in the United States, slipping down just one notch from its number four status in Whether you spell it Sophia or Sofia, your baby girl is going to be in good company. There's also many famous Sophies a variation on Sophia , including singer Sophie B. Hawkins and French actress and director Sophie Marceau. Sophia shows no signs of slowing down as a popular name, and like so many other classically beautiful monikers, it's going to sound just as lovely, and be just as classy, 50 or years from now. Amelia Shutterstock Amelia, clocking in at the number six most popular baby girl name in the country thus far, is as quaint and lovely of a moniker as one can find. Nevertheless, according to Baby Center , it means "industrious," "striving," and in Teutonic terms "defender," which gives it a valiant, tough-as-nails quality that contrasts with its gentle femininity in really interesting ways. The name itself is actually a fusion of the medieval monikers Amalia and Emilia, and the latter is sometimes used as an alternate spelling. As far as Amelias in history go, the first figure that comes to mind is undoubtedly aviator Amelia Earhart. Actress Minnie Driver is also an Amelia by birth, though most people don't know it. In literature, there's of course the iconic children's book series Amelia Bedelia , as well as novelist Carson McCullers' eccentric heroine Amelia Evans in the famous novella The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. If you prefer, there's also the sultry yet mischievous Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction to draw from. Charlotte Shutterstock From Charlotte Bronte to Charlotte's Web to the Cure's " Charlotte Sometimes ," this lovely French name, which is descended from its male counterpart Charles, seems like the kind of moniker that ought never go out of style. As of now, it's the eighth most popular female name in the country, a slot it's held since History-wise, Charlotte's popularity has fluctuated: But it has been on the rise again since then. In other words, Charlotte is a name that's as widely associated with heroism and intelligence as it is with feminine beauty, which makes it a wonderful moniker for any girl. Harper Shutterstock The first figure that comes to mind when one hears this unique baby girl name is probably invariably the novelist Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird fame. As might be expected, the literal meaning of Harper is "one who plays the harp," which makes this moniker a perfect choice for a child who might be expected to be musically inclined perhaps because she has musician parents? Harps are also, of course, universally associated with angels, so the name has lovely heavenly connotations, as well. According to Baby Center , Harper has been the ninth most popular female name in the United States since , up from its ranking as number ten in the years and Despite its current popularity, it was almost not used at all from about to , but it's been on a steady upswing since the mid s. Mila Shutterstock With its meaning of "industrious," "hardworking," and "dear one" as per Baby Center , Mila is a variation on the equally lovely moniker Milena, as well as several other, far older names like Camilla and Ludmila. Since the beginning of , Mila has experienced a sharp spike in popularity, rising up to become the tenth most popular baby girl name in the United States from its position last year at number The contrast was even more drastic in previous years: So it's a moniker that has many potential meanings, all of them wonderful and perfectly suited for your own little miracle. Aria has been the 11th most popular girl's name in the country since , but it didn't start to become popular until the mid s. Whichever version you prefer, however, Aria is a gorgeous name. Avery Shutterstock Avery clocks in at the 12th most popular baby girl name in America, up three from its position at number 15 in Though it's generally been used as a male name, Avery also has an unmistakably feminine ring to it, so it's a moniker that's as potentially suited to a tomboy as it is to a girly-girl, as the saying goes. Even though all names are, of course, technically unisex. More specifically, Avery has traditionally been used mostly as a last name, and is a derivative of the name Alfred. With its meaning of "wise," it's an intelligent choice as well. In literature, it's the name of Fern's brother in Charlotte's Web. So if you're a cartoonist, Avery might just be the perfect option. Evelyn Shutterstock Like Avery before it, Evelyn is a unisex moniker, and one that's traditionally been used as a last name. Baby Center shows it ranking as the 13th most popular baby girl name in It is likely also a derivative of Eve, and may therefore encompass the Hebrew meaning for "life. Interestingly, the male Evelyn is pronounced "Eve-a-lynn," as opposed to the female Ev-a-lyn — odd that the "Eve" aspect is more prominent in the male pronunciation, but there you have it. There's also Evelyn Nesbit, aka "the girl in the swing," the early s artist's model and chorus girl who has been called both "the most beautiful woman in the world" and "the world's first supermodel. A derivative of Eleanor and Ellen, both of which mean "light," this English name indeed symbolizes the stuff that fairytales and fairy princesses are made of, as it means "beautiful fairy woman" in English. Ella is presently the 14th most popular girl's name in the country, down just slightly from its rank as number ten in and up from its rank at number 17 in It's also a bonafide old-fashioned hit: Baby Center charts show it skyrocketing in popularity throughout the late s. It declined circa the '30s through the '80s, bottoming out in the '90s, but is now once again a pleasant household name. Abigail Shutterstock Abigail, the Biblical wife of King David, has seen herself replicated name wise countless times throughout the centuries. Although there are many Biblical names like Rachel, Rebecca, Sarah, and Mary that have always been popular, Abigail is the moniker that's presently in the country's top With its beauty and dignity, it's a surefire winner.
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