book1.gif What will we name our baby?

Long before your baby in born, you begin to think about a name that will be just right. The child will be wearing this name for a lifetime, so you have an enormous responsibility. This book is designed to help you name your baby. It lists hundreds of names for boys and girls, and explains at a glance the spelling, origin, and meaning of the name and its variations. We've also included some of the famous and successful people who've borne the name. In addition, more than 1000 popular names are ranked according to their desirability by a recent, extensive survey.

The best way for you to use this book is to look through the alphabetical list of names. then come back to this introduction to find out about the history of names and how people form around the world name their babies. You'll also find a complete explanation of the way in which we determined a name's popularity. This information will help you study the lists of names and sound out the ones that attract you. Choosing a name of your baby is an important decision, but this book will help you find the name that best fits your child.

book1.gif What's in a name?

When a child shouts across the playground, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me," he or she is trying to act brave by denying what even a little kid knows is a basic truth. Names have an enormous effect on people. Everyone you meet forms an immediate impression of you form just hearing your name. Even your own character is shaped to some extent by your name. An ancient proverb claim, " The name given a child becomes natural to it," Recent studies bear this out: Children with certain names are more successful and better liked by other children than boys and girls who have undesirable names.

Names are not neutral labels. They're not social security numbers with no role to play in our lives other than differentiating us from other people. While many people no longer give names a magic or religious significance, names still have the power to influence our lives. Some names are simply more desirable than other. Psychologists and sociologists have found that most of us have clear ideas about which first names we like and which we don't. Certain names become associated with undesirable personality traits, others with desirable traits. We tend to expect a person with a particular name to act in a certain way. Studies show that children as young as seven, as well as college students and adults, begin shaping an opinion about someone based on the desirability of his or her name.

Parents must be aware of their great responsibility as name givers. Of course, merely selecting a desirable name for your child does not guarantee happiness and success. Psychological evidence suggests that children with more desirable names are sometimes more popular with their peers than children with less desirable names, but we don't know for sure that there is a direct correlation. The association that has been observed between having a desirable first name and academic achievement and intellectual ability is also controversial. Even though there is no scientific proof that names affect behavior, it is only prudent to consider a name's desirability before passing on the name to your child.