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baby names

Baby names

Giving your baby a name is the first important step of that child's life, and it's one of the most exciting – and useful - things you can actually prepare for before it's born. It's not a task to be taken lightly. Follow these simple dos and don'ts then scan our lists to draw up your shortlist of suitable names.

Do

  • Listen to everyone who recommends a name – it may seem like a minefield, but you just might get a suggestion you've not heard before.
  • Think of all the names you've liked, and jot them down.
  • Draw up a list of girl as well as boy names just in case.
  • Work out what the baby's initials will be with your surname attached, so Turners should steer clear of Paige, and Mr and Mrs Dover might want to rethink Ben. Pretty in Pink actress, Annie Potts called her son Clay – don't make your child prey to years of merciless ribbing.
  • Watch out for dodgy initials: avoid Fiona Alice Trump or Brian Oldfield (middle names which start with a vowel are always risky).
  • If a relative tries to foist a 'family' name on you, think of a modern or acceptable equivalent (Augustus = Gus, Philomena = Mina).
  • Cross cultural? Find an English equivalent of a favourite foreign name (Guillaume = William, Giuseppe = Joseph or Jo)
  • Check out the meaning of the names you like. It might help you decide to keep it or ditch it... ' While Nalin means lotus flower, Darren actually means great rocky hill!
  • Pick a name that's easy for your child to spell when they get to school – it can be humiliating to have to repeat your name several times in front of the whole class.
  • Consider how your child's name will be shortened (Richard = Rick, Ricky, Dicky, Rich).
  • Can't agree on a name? Both you and your partner should compile a list and rank each name out of ten. Then each knock off a name until you come down to a final two. Often, you'll find a compromise. If you really can't agree at all, start again with a shortlist you can both live with – you'll both have to compromise, but you can always add your previous favourites as middle names.
  • Pick a name that's easy for your child to spell when they get to school – it can be humiliating to have to repeat your name several times in front of the whole class.
  • Consider using your maiden name as a middle name.
  • Sometimes, it's easier to come to a decision once the baby's born. You'll have six weeks to decide before your baby must be registered.

Don't

  • Tell anyone your shortlist. Keep it to yourselves. People always think they know better, and will tell you so. But once a baby is names, no one would criticise your choice to your face.
  • Pick a name that's ultra fashionable now – it may be horribly dated in ten year's time. Pick the most popular name of the moment, unless you want your child to be Chloe B or Chloe W (or worse "big Chloe") at school.
  • Name your child after the place it was conceived – it may work for the Beckhams (Brooklyn), but for mere mortals, 'Bognor' or 'Toulouse' doesn't really cut it...
  • Use a pet name - Spike, Patch or Fifi work better with four legs.
  • Attempt rhyming first and last names (Zowie Bowie or African footballer Djemba Djemba).
  • Directly link your baby with a famous person in history (Grace Kellee, Dylan Thomez , Emily Brontey) if you care about them being teased in the playground.
  • Similarly, what may work as a 'joke' when the baby's first born (Jupiter, Luther, Nero), might lumber them until they're old enough to change it legally – not a good start for a lifelong relationship with you. (Woody Allen's son Satchel changed his name to Seamus, David Bowie's son Zowie opted for Joe, and Keith Richard's daughter Dandelion is now better known as Angela).
  • Think you're being clever by chosing an unusual spelling. Spare a thought for the poor child who will spend the rest of her life wearing explaining, "it's not JANE, it's GHAINE".
  • Go cute. A baby name is just that – a name for the short time they're a baby. Booboo, Peanut, Scoots and Twinkle are not names to take to school.
  • Saddle your child with your name. Picture them grown up. Will your chosen name suit them at every stage of their life?
  • Let siblings get too involved in the naming process.

For inspiration on baby names, try out the baby namer at gurgle.com.

Or visit gurgle.com for a huge list of baby names suggestions. Here you can search for names by origin or names by meaning. You can also see lists of cool baby names, quirky baby names, exotic baby names and classic baby names among a list of over 20,000 names indexed.

Baby names

  • Names by origin
  • Names by meaning
  • Quirky baby names
  • Cool baby names
  • Classic baby names

Don't worry if you really can't decide what you call your baby. Ideally it has to be done within 14 days of birth. As you have to get the birth certificate by then. There are cases where it may be delayed but is taken as per ICA criteria. View the ICA link for birth registrations to know more.

Parents of the newborn may register the birth. A proxy may also register on the behalf of the parents, provided the proxy has a letter of authorisation by the parents.

Birth Registration
Births should be registered within 14 days from the date of birth, including Sundays and public holidays.

Delayed Registration
Delayed registration refers to births registered after 14 days and within 42 days. Delayed registration is strongly discouraged.

Late Registration
If registration is done after 42 days, a letter of explanation stating the reason for late registration must be submitted for the Registrar/Registrar General's approval. Late registration cases can only be registered at ICA.

Rhyming names have gone back, in recent memory, to Zowie Bowie (boy did he love that…) and the African footballer names Djemba Djemba. At least his dad won't forget his name in a hurry!

Baby names

  • Names by origin
  • Names by meaning
  • Quirky baby names
  • Cool baby names
  • Classic baby names

Don't worry if you really can't decide what you call your baby. You've got 42 days after the birth to officially chose a name.

Biblical names – Boys

  • Adam – first man
  • Daniel – the Lord is my judge
  • Ethan - loyal
  • Gabriel – man of the Lord
  • Isaac - laughter
  • Jason - healer
  • Noah – at peace
  • Moses – water born
  • Peter - rock
  • Sampson – child of the sun

Biblical names – Girls

  • Abigail – joyous
  • Dina – judgement
  • Emma - healer
  • Eve – life
  • Felicity – joy
  • Hannah – graceful
  • Judith – praised
  • Mara - sad
  • Margaret – jewel
  • Rachel – sheep

Footballers wives names for girls:

  • Chardonnay
  • Amber
  • Shannon
  • Lucy
  • Liberty
  • Jackie
  • Urszula
  • Trisha
  • Tanya

Footballers wives names for boys:

  • Bruno
  • Tremaine
  • Garry
  • Callum
  • Robert
  • Paulo

Historical names – Boys/Girls - 1904

  • William
  • Mary
  • John
  • Florence
  • George
  • Doris
  • Thomas
  • Edith
  • Arthur
  • Dorothy

Historical names – Boys/Girls - 1924

  • John
  • Margaret
  • William
  • Mary
  • George
  • Joan
  • James
  • Joyce
  • Thomas
  • Dorothy

Historical names – Boys/Girls - 1954

  • David
  • Susan
  • John
  • Linda
  • Stephen
  • Christine
  • Michael
  • Margaret
  • Peter
  • Janet

Historical names – Boys/Girls - 2004

  • Jack
  • Emily
  • Joshua
  • Ellie
  • Thomas
  • Jessica
  • James
  • Sophie
  • Daniel
  • Chloe

Flower names

  • Blossom
  • Bryony
  • Daisy
  • Fleur
  • Flora
  • Heather
  • Laelia
  • Lily
  • May
  • Poppy
  • Iris
  • Ivy
  • Olive
  • Hyacinth
  • Jasmine
  • Fuschia

Celebrity names

  • Gracie (Anna Friel and David Thewlis)
  • Junior (Jordan and Peter Andre)
  • Cruz (Victoria and David Beckham)
  • Miller (Stella McCartney and Alasdhair Wilis)
  • Henry (Heidi Klum and Seal)
  • Mackenzie (JK Rowling & Neil Murray)
  • Rocco (Frankie & Catherine Dettori)
  • Lola (Emmerdale's Lucy Pargeter and Rudi Coleano)
  • Quinlin (Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor)
  • Violet (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner)
  • Suri (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes)
  • Sean (Britney Spears and Kevin Federline)
  • Kal-El (Nicholas Cage and Alice Kim)
  • Tiani (Jamelia and Darren Byfield)
  • Matilda (Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams)

International place names

  • York
  • Lincoln Darien
  • Francis
  • Paris
  • Tyrone
  • Aden
  • Angus
  • Clyde
  • Cheyenne

Shakespearean names

  • Anthony
  • Rinaldo
  • Orlando
  • Cornelius
  • Brandon
  • Curan
  • Edgar
  • Edmund
  • Nathaniel
  • Claudio
  • Timon

Great Aunts

  • Agatha
  • Edna
  • Maud
  • Alice
  • Martha
  • Milly
  • Clara
  • Matilda
  • Molly

Girls

  • Sydney
  • Jordan
  • Isla
  • Skye
  • Brittany
  • Florence
  • Lorraine
  • Sienna
  • Montana
  • India
  • Alexis
  • Diana
  • Helena
  • Marianna
  • Charmian
  • Audrey
  • Celia
  • Phoebe
  • Beatrice
  • Ursula