2014 Top Ten Baby Names: Thoughts, Predictions, and Alternatives

Hi everyone! The 2014 top baby name list became available this month and I've been analyzing like all the other name lovers out there! There weren't many changes to the top 10 but there were some. I just wanted to discuss them with you all, make some predictions about how the names will move around on the list, and give you some alternatives. I hope you enjoy!

A note about alternatives: Some of them will be very uncommon but some will still be pretty popular, just not in the top ten.



The most popular boys name is Noah. It took the top spot away from long-reigning Jacob last year. Noah is still gaining popularity. Top boys names tend to stay pretty consistant for long periods of time, as opposed to the girls names, which tend to fluctuate more often. Michael was the top name for over 40 years, Jacob was a top name for over a decade, so I think we still have several years of Noah on top. To be honest, I don't mind Noah at all. In fact, I really like it. It's too popular for me personally to choose it, but at least it's a good name with history and meaning. 

Alternatives to Noah

Similar sound:
Jonah, Joel, Micah, Noam, Norman

Same first letter: Nathan, Nelson

Prominent Bible names: Moses, Abraham, Jonah, Joshua, Isaiah

2. Liam
Origin: Irish (short form of William)
Meaning: resolute protection

Liam is still rising in popularity, though not nearly as fast as Noah. Some people predicted that Liam would take the top spot in 2014 but these new numbers show that Noah is rising much faster. I think Liam will continue to rise for a few years but then go back down the charts. I don't see it taking the top spot.  Liam is another popular name that I don't mind. Liam is a really sweet name but it's just too popular for my personal tastes.

Alternatives to Liam

Similar sound: Noam, Leo, Levi, Leeland

Same first letter: Leo, Levi, Leeland, Lorcan, Loyal

Form of William: Wilson, Willem

Irish: Kieran, Declan, Finn

3. Mason
Origin: English
Meaning: Stonemason

Mason is probably the trendiest name on this list. I say that because it is the only name that's not a Bible name or a classic English name. Even though it's the trendiest name on this list. it still a pretty classic occupational name and surname. Although Mason moved up a spot in the charts in 2014, the number of boys being named Mason is actually going down. I predict that Mason will keep his spot in the top 10 for several more years but the number of Masons will continue to drop.

Alternatives to Mason:

Same first letter: Marshall, Marcus, Morris, Marsden, Miles

Ends in son: Bryson, Hanson, Wesson, Ellison

Occupational names: Turner, Tyler, Sawyer

4. Jacob
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: deceiver

Jacob had the top spot for over a decade but was put in third place last year, overtaken by Noah and Liam. This year it's dropped even further to the 4th place. I think Jacob will be around for awhile longer. In 10-15 years, I see it leaving the top 10 again. 

Starts with a J: Jared, Joel, Jasper, Joseph, Jesse

Ends in b: Caleb, Eliab, Job

Bible names: Abraham, Isaac, Gabriel, Benjamin, Levi

5. William
Origin: English from German
Meaning: resolute protection

William is a mainstay in both American and English naming culture. The lowest it has been since 1900 was number 20 in 1992. William has several good nicknames and it seems that Liam is the most popular, as it's made it to the number 2 spot all on it's own. William was on it's way down between 2012 and 2013 but it increased slightly between 2013 and 2014. I'm not sure which way William will go in 2015 but I don't see it leaving the top 10 any time soon.

Alternatives to William:

Similar sound: Wilson, Willis, Killian

Same first letter: Warren, Ward, Weldon, Wallace, Walden

Classic English names: Henry, George, Frederick, Robert, Edward

6. Ethan
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: Steadfast

Ethan is a fantastic Old Testament name that I'm sure many people don't realize is in the Bible. He is known for his wisdom and in addition to a few other mentions, Ethan wrote Psalm 89. I really love the name Ethan! Rising quickly, Ethan popped on to the top ten list in 2002 and has been up and down in the top 10 since. Ethan is currently trending downward, but seeing what its done in past, things could go either way for Ethan. I could see Ethan rising again but in the end, I think it will continue going down but slowly. I see Ethan leaving the top 10 within 5-10 years.

Alternatives to Ethan:

Same first letter: Eli, Everett, Elliot, Ezra

Similar sound: Arden, Nathan, Ivan, Carson, Oren, Abram

Hebrew names: Oren, Ezra, Abram, Jeduthun, Levi, Jonathan, Nathanael, Asher

7. Michael
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: "Who is like God?"

Michael was the longest-running #1 boys name in the US. It was #1 for 44 years from 1961 until 1998. Michael was also number 1 from 1954 until 1959. Michael has been hanging on tight to the top 10 and I think it will stay there for another 5-10 years. Since Michael has been popular for so long, it's one many people have in their family. I'm married to a Michael. My step-brother is named Michael. I have an Uncle Mike and my husband has an Uncle Mike too. Since there are so many Mikes and Michaels, those seeing to avoid repeats might prefer an alternative.

Similar names: Micah, Mitchell, Micaiah

Same first letter: Malachi, Marshall, Marcus

Hebrew names: Gabriel, Raphael, Samuel, Daniel, Adriel

8. Alexander
Origin: Greek
Meaning: helper and defender of mankind

Alexander is another American mainstay with ancient roots. There are a few minor characters in the New Testament called Aleander but the most famous namesake is the Greek general Alexander the Great. Alexander is another name that I really like and it doesn't disappoint me at all that's it's popular. I grew up with several Alexes, both boys and girls, but my favorite nickname for Alexander is Xan. The lowest Alexander as been since 1900 was #230 in 1960. It came on to the top 10 list in 2008, reaching #4 in 2009. I see Alexander holding on to the top ten for another 3-5 years.

Alternatives to Alexander:

Similar sound: Oliver, Evander, Xavier, Asher

Variations of Alexander: Xander, Zander, Alistair, Alejandro, Alessandro, Sasha

Same first letter: Alistair, Aaron, Alden, Asher

Greek names: Nicholas, Evander, Philip, Theodore

9. James
Origin: Greek from Hebrew
Meaning: deceiver

James is new (again) to the top 10 this year. I was predicting that there would be a new name on the list year but James wasn't my guess. However, I can't say I'm disappointed. James is a classic that I never get tired of hearing. I think it's my favorite name on this list. James was on the top 10 from before 1900 until 1993. It was #1 from 1940-1953. The lowest James ever was on the list was #19.  I think James will move up a few spots on the list and stay awhile.

Alternatives to James:

Same first letter: Joseph, Jonas, Joel, Jared, Jeremiah, John, Jonathan, Jethro

One syllable: John, Joel, Dane, Ash, Finn, Cole, Quinn, Gray, Miles, Rhys

Ends in s/z: Silas, Amos, Boaz, Rhys, Willis, Barnabas, Miles, Lucas, Angus

Bible Names: Andrew, Philip, Gabriel, Aaron, Amos, Silas

10. Daniel
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: "God is my judge"

Daniel is another perinnial biblical favorite and like many of the other names on this list, it's a good name to be popular. I like seeing that all the names on the boys list are solid names with history behind them. This really isn't a bad list at all. Daniel came back on to the top 10 list in 2013 after a year off of it. Daniel has been in and out of the top 10 for decades and the lowest it's been since 1900 is #55. I think Daniel will continue to be on and off the top 10 list for decades. 

Alternatives to Daniel:

Similar sound: Gabriel, Raphael, Samuel, Adriel, Lemuel, Dane, Ezekiel

Same first letter: Dane, David, Davis, Dominic

Bible names: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Abraham


Origin: German
Meaning: universal

Emma is a lovely little name that took the top spot back. Emma was also #1 in 2008 but was overtaken by Isabella in 2009. Emma is a very sweet name and not a bad #1. Emma is trending downward even though it went up a spot this year. If this pattern continues, Emma will in the #2 next year, overtaken just barely by Olivia, which is still trending up.

Alternatives to Emma:

Em names: Emmeline, Emiliana, Emelina, Emery, Emme, Emelia, Emilia, Emilienne

Two syllables: Anna, Hannah, Laura, Sarah, Cara, Ella

German names: Adelaide, Liesel, Elsie, Heidi, Wilhelmina 

Origin: Latin
Meaning: olive tree

Olivia has a beautiful, frilly, princess sound that's very popular these days. Olivia has a few cute nickname options, a nature meaning, and plenty of literary heritage, including Shakespeare. I can certainly see it's appeal and all in all, it's a pretty name. I see it in the #1 spot next year but for how many years, who knows? The girls top ten list fluctuates much more rapidly than the boys.

Alternatives to Olivia:

Begins with O: Olive, Olivet, Oliviana,  Odette, Olwen, Opal, Oceane

Includes the letter V: Viviana, Livia, Ivy, Viveca, Evelyn, Everly, Valentina

Princessy names: Thalia, Seraphina, Emiliana, Emelina, Wilhelmina, Carolina, Valentina

Origin: Greek
Meaning: Wisdom

Sophia is a lovely Greek word name that held the top spot for 3 years, not bad for a top girls name. Sophia was dethroned this year and pushed all the way to #3. I was aware that Sophia was declining but I was surprised that it lost two spots. Jacob, formerly the top boys name, had a similar fall a year ago. I see Sophia continuing to decline, and maybe faster than we think. I think Sophia will be on the top 10 list for another 5-10 years.

Alternatives to Sophia:

Starts with S: Seraphina, Sadie, Susannah, Sylvie

Princessy names: Seraphina, Wilhelmina, Emiliana, Emelina, Julia, Arianna

Greek names: Aurora, Arianna, Ariadne, Penelope, Iris, Daphne

Origin: Spanish/Italian version of Hebrew Elizabeth
Meaning: pledged to God

Isabella is pretty much a quintessential princess name. The nickname Bella is very popular these days as well. Isabella debuted on the top 10 list in 2004 and was #1 in 2009 and 2010. I think Isabella has another 5-7 years on the top ten list.

Is names: Isabelle, Isolde, Isabeau, Isobel, Isabel, Isla

Belle/Bella names: Belle, Bella, Annabelle, Arabella, Amabel

Princessy names: Adelaide, Emelina, Emiliana, Aurora, Katrina

Origin: Latin
Meaning: bird

I, personally, am not a huge fan of the name Ava but I think the palindrome aspect is cool. I can understand why Ava is so appealing to parents: it's short, cute and has the classy old Hollywood vibe that's popular. Ava was trending downward but it made a slight upturn in this last year. Ava could go either way but ultimately, I think Ava has maybe 10 more years on the top ten list. 

Alternatives to Ava:

Palindromes: Anna, Hannah, Eve, Emme, Elle, Aviva, Ama

Similar sounding names: Aviva, Avery, Avaline, Avalina, Evelyn

Same first letter: Aurelia, Amelie, Adeline, Alina, Antonia

Origin:Spanish/Italian or Hebrew
Meaning: mine or bitterness (from Maria)

Mia is short little name that I believe has found such favor partially because of its versatility across language barriers. It's not a bad name but it's not on I'd consider for a full name. It sounds more like a nickname to me personally and I think a lot of people use it as a nickname for longer names (making Mia even more popular than it seems). Mia entered the top 10 at #10 in 2009 and has been rising since. Mia might make the top 5 in the next few year if it continues to rise. I think Mia will be on the top 10 list for another 10-15 years. 

Alternatives to Mia: 

Similar sound: Lia, Kia, Zia, Tia, Gia

Longer names for Mia: Maria, Amelia, Michaela, Camellia, Miriam, Mirabelle

Same first letter: Moriah, Michaela, Madeleine, Melody, Molly, May

Origin: Latin
Meaning: rival

Emily is the longest running name on this list. Emily was in the top 10 back when I was born as well (even though I really didn't know a ton of Emilys). Since 1900, the lowest Emily has ever been is #269 in the 1960s. Emily even had the #1 spot for an entire decade from 1996-2006, which is a really good run at the top of the girls list. Emily seems to have real staying power and it's not hard to see why. Emily is a very sweet name. Because of its longstanding popularity, Emily does feel a little bit tired to me now. However, I imagine Emily will hang on to the top 10 for another 3-5 more years. I don't see it going completely out of fashion in the foreseeable future, though.

Alternatives to Emily:

Em names: Emelina, Emiliana, Emery, Emelia, Emmeline

Names ending in -ly sound: Ellery, Cally, Molly, Halle, Whitley, Truly, Adalie

Old-fashioned girls names: Julia, Molly, Laura, Sarah, Matilda, Alice, Hazel, Elinor, Annabelle

Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: my father's joy

Abigail is my favorite name from this list and probably my favorite name overall. Abigail is my favorite woman in the Bible. I'm glad this name is popular. It's a fantastic name with a fantastic meaning. I'd rather meaningful names with great history be popular than flimsier names. Unfortunately, because of its overall popularity as well as its popularity in my family's demographic, I moved Abigail to the middle name spot for me. This sounds lame and it goes against the advice I usually give people, but I don't want my daughter to be one of 6 Abbys in our homeschool group, if you know what I mean.((My child has to be unique and special, just like everyone else!))  I searched and searched for a name that I liked as first name for Abigail and I found one that I'm very happy with (I'll share fav combos with you later). Abigail has been in the top 10 since 2001 and it has fluctuated within the list. Abigail is currently trending downward so I can see it leaving the top 10 in the next 5 years. However, it could also do another upswing and move up the list again.

Alternatives to Abigail:

Similar sound: Abrial, Abital, Amabel, Annabelle, Adeline, Adele, Adelyn, Adelaide, Liesel

Starts with an A: Aurora, Alina, Allison, Avaline, Angeline, Akira

Biblical women: Zipporah, Miriam, Johannah, Phoebe, Priscilla, Susannah, Chloe

Origin: English
Meaning: son of Matthew or son of Maud

Madison is a name with a lot of history behind as a surname and given its -son ending, I agree that it makes the most sense as a boys name. However, at least for the time being, that ship has sailed. Once a name is more popular for girls, it rarely crosses back over (but girls take over boys names all the time). Admittedly, unisex names are not my favorite but Madison's not too bad. As a girls name, Madison popped up out of nowhere to become #627 in 1985. It was most popular in 2001 and 2002 at #2. Madison is at the end of its run in the top 10. It might can hang on for another 2 or 3 years but it wouldn't surprise me terribly if it's bumped off next year by an up and coming name.

Alternatives to Madison:

Similar sound: Addison, Allison, Ellison, Madeleine, Adelyn, Miriam, Marilyn

M names: Margo, Madeleine, Magdelena, Miriam, Matilda, Molly

Unisex names: Sutton, Kinsley, Hadley, Ellison, Rowan, Peyton

Origin: French
Meaning: Free man

Charlotte is the lovely newcomer to the top 10 list in 2014. Charlotte has an air of charm and class. It does sound British to me in a way. I knew a couple from the U.K. and their little daughter was named Charlotte. Despite the fact that Charlotte was pretty popular in decades past, it is more popular now than it has ever been. Charlotte is definitely on its way up, and with the new British princess being named Charlotte, it's going to go up exponentially! I think Charlotte has the trajectory to make it all the way to the top in the next 5-10 years.  

Alternatives to Charlotte:

Similar names: Caroline, Carolyn, Cara, Carly, Carlin, Carolina

Ends in -ett sound: Scarlett, Olivet, Violet, Willamette, Briette, Amorette

Classy names: Julia, Eleanor, Adelaide, Claire, Wilhelmina, Grace, Rosalind

So there's the list! The top ten lists include some great names in 2014. I'm more impressed with the boys list than the girls but they're both good. My favorite names on these lists are Ethan and Abigail. Now, here's the fun part! For those looking for names that are a little less popular, I'm going to make a new top ten list with my favorite alternatives to the current top ten names, as well as a similar list of alternatives that I think fit more into popular taste. Here we go!

Alternatives to the 2014 Top 10 list:


1. Jonah
2. Levi
3. Miles
4. Caleb
5. Henry
6. Asher
7. Micah
8. Xavier
9. Silas
10. Gabriel


1. Ella
2. Ivy
3. Arianna
4. Arabella
5. Evelyn
6. Gia
7. Emmeline
8. Annabelle
9. Ellison
10. Violet

My Favorite Alternatives:


1. Abraham
2. Declan
3. Turner
4. Jasper
5. Wilson
6. Ezra
7. Micaiah
8. Evander
9. Amos
10. Dane


1. Emiliana
2. Olivet
3. Seraphina
4. Isabeau
5. Aurelia
6. Mirabelle
7. Adalie 
8. Zipporah
9. Magdalena
10. Carolina

Thanks for reading and God bless!

What are your favorite names in the top 10? Did any surprise you? What alternatives would you suggest? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. My favourite alternative for Emma is Emmeline :) it's has a lovely sound to it.

  2. I really like Emmeline too! It's super sweet!

  3. Love the name Emma. It's my mom's middle name. Thanks for linking up and sharing with us at Funtastic Friday. Hope you join us again this week.


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