The 100 Most Popular Baby Names of 2018 Have Been Revealed

iStock.com/BorupFoto
iStock.com/BorupFoto

For expectant parents looking for baby name ideas—or clues as to which names to avoid—the Social Security Administration's annual list of the top baby names in the U.S. is a good place to start. The list of the most popular baby names of 2018 includes many familiar favorites as well as some rising stars inspired by pop culture like Game of Thrones.

The name Liam for boys and Emma for girls held the top slots of their respective genders in 2018. Liam first reached No. 1 in 2017, and Emma has dominated for five years in a row. Liam is followed by the popular boy names Noah, William, James, and Oliver, and on the girls' side, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, and Sophia round out the top five.

Looking further down the list reveals some interesting naming trends that emerged last year. As Game of Thrones approached its conclusion, fans showed their love for the show by naming their children after their favorite characters: Khaleesi jumped more than 80 spots from 631 to 549th place, and Arya climbed from 135 to 119. The name Dani also saw a significant spike from 1048 to 945—possibly a nod to Daenerys in more than a few cases.

Star Wars had an impact on the boys' list, with 865 Kylos born last year, as did the Kardashian-West family, with the name Saint branding 859 birth certificates. The Duchess of Sussex likely had something to do with Meghan's rise from 1404 to 703. And though Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor hadn't been born yet, the name Archie for boys ascended from 1170 to 998 last year. The name will likely become even more popular in 2019.

Check out the 2018 rankings for the top 50 boys' names and top 50 girls' names below.

Most Popular Girls' Names in 2018

  1. Emma
  2. Olivia
  3. Ava
  4. Isabella
  5. Sophia
  6. Charlotte
  7. Mia
  8. Amelia
  9. Harper
  10. Evelyn
  11. Abigail
  12. Emily
  13. Elizabeth
  14. Mila
  15. Ella
  16. Avery
  17. Sofia
  18. Camila
  19. Aria
  20. Scarlett
  21. Victoria
  22. Madison
  23. Luna
  24. Grace
  25. Chloe
  26. Penelope
  27. Layla
  28. Riley
  29. Zoey
  30. Nora
  31. Lily
  32. Eleanor
  33. Hannah
  34. Lillian
  35. Addison
  36. Aubrey
  37. Ellie
  38. Stella
  39. Natalie
  40. Zoe
  41. Leah
  42. Hazel
  43. Violet
  44. Aurora
  45. Savannah
  46. Audrey
  47. Brooklyn
  48. Bella
  49. Claire
  50. Skylar

Most Popular Boys' Names in 2018

  1. Liam
  2. Noah
  3. William
  4. James
  5. Oliver
  6. Benjamin
  7. Elijah
  8. Lucas
  9. Mason
  10. Logan
  11. Alexander
  12. Ethan
  13. Jacob
  14. Michael
  15. Daniel
  16. Henry
  17. Jackson
  18. Sebastian
  19. Aiden
  20. Matthew
  21. Samuel
  22. David
  23. Joseph
  24. Carter
  25. Owen
  26. Wyatt
  27. John
  28. Jack
  29. Luke
  30. Jayden
  31. Dylan
  32. Grayson
  33. Levi
  34. Isaac
  35. Gabriel
  36. Julian
  37. Mateo
  38. Anthony
  39. Jaxon
  40. Lincoln
  41. Joshua
  42. Christopher
  43. Andrew
  44. Theodore
  45. Caleb
  46. Ryan
  47. Asher
  48. Nathan
  49. Thomas
  50. Leo

Why 'Run' Is The Most Complex Word in the English Language

iStock.com/VectorStory
iStock.com/VectorStory

English can be hard for other language speakers to learn. To use just one example, there are at least eight different ways of expressing events in the future, and conditional tenses are another matter entirely. For evidence of the many nuances and inconsistencies of the English tongue, look no further than this tricky poem penned in 1920. (For a sample: “Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!”)

As author Simon Winchester wrote for The New York Times, there’s one English word in particular that’s deceptively simple: run. As a verb, it boasts a record-setting 645 definitions. Peter Gilliver, a lexicographer and associate editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, spent nine months sussing out its many shades of meaning.

“You might think this word simply means ‘to go with quick steps on alternate feet, never having both or (in the case of many animals) all feet on the ground at the same time,’” Winchester writes. “But no such luck: that is merely sense I.1a, and there are miles to go before the reader of this particular entry may sleep.”

This wasn’t always the case, though. When the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1928, the word with the most definitions was set. However, the word put later outpaced it, and run eventually overtook them both as the English language's most complex word. Winchester thinks this evolution is partly due to advancements in technology (for instance, “a train runs on tracks” and “an iPad runs apps”).

He believes the widespread use of run—and its intricate web of meanings—is also a reflection of our times. “It is a feature of our more sort of energetic and frantic times that set and put seem, in a peculiar way, sort of rather stodgy, rather conservative,” Gilliver told NPR in an interview.

So the next time you tell your boss you "want to run an idea" by them, know that you’re unconsciously expressing your enthusiasm—as well as all the other subtleties wrapped up in run that previous words like set failed to capture.

[h/t The New York Times]

11 Little-Known Words for Specific Family Members

iStock.com/kali9
iStock.com/kali9

The words we use for family members in English are specific about some things, and vague about others. Our vocabulary marks a distinction between our mother and her sisters (some languages use one word for mother and maternal aunts), but doesn't say whether siblings are older or younger (some languages have different words for brother and sister depending on their age relative to you). We lack words that pick out particular family members (we have cousin, but what about child-of-my-father's-brother?) as well as certain general terms (we have siblings for brothers-and-sisters, but what about nieces-and-nephews?)

If you look hard enough, you can find some words to help fill in the gaps. Here are 11 unusual English kinship words for family members.

1. Patruel

This one means "child of your paternal uncle." Also, a child of your own brother. It hasn't gotten a lot of use in the past few centuries, but it was once convenient to have a term for this relationship because it factored into royal succession considerations. The first citation for it in the OED, from 1538, reads, "Efter his patruell deid withoutin contradictioun he wes king."

2. Avuncle

Your mother's brother. Latin distinguished between patruus, father's brother, and avunculus, mother's brother. (There was also amita, father's sister, and matertera, mother's sister.) It's the root of the word avuncular, meaning "having to do with uncles" or "uncle-like" (i.e., kind and friendly, like an uncle). You won't find the word avuncle in the dictionary, but it has been used in anthropology texts and in papers concerning royal matters.

3. Niblings

Your nieces and nephews. You won't find this in the dictionary either, but use of this term seems to be growing among favorite aunts and uncles who want an easy way to refer to their little bundles of sibling-provided joy in a collective or gender-neutral way.

4. Fadu

Your father's sister. Latin amita covers this relationship, but we don't have to reach that far back to find an English equivalent. Old English made a distinction between aunts and uncles depending on whether they were maternal or paternal. We lost all that when we borrowed the more general aunt and uncle from French.

5. Modrige

"Your mother's sister," from Old English.

6. Fœdra

"Your father's brother," from Old English.

7. Eam

Your mother's brother. It survived in some dialects as eme, with a more general meaning of uncle or friend, into the 19th century.

8. Brother-uterine

Your half-brother from the same mother. This is a term used in old legal documents or other discussions of inheritance and succession. Half-siblings of the same mother are uterine and of the same father are consanguine.

9. Brother-german

Full brother, sharing both parents. Nothing to do with Germany. The german here is related to germane, which originally meant "of the same parents" and later came to mean just related or relevant.

10. Double cousin

Full first cousin, sharing all four grandparents. This comes about when a pair of sisters marries a pair of brothers, among other circumstances.

11. Machetonim

The parents of your child's spouse. Your child's in-laws. Ok, this is a Yiddish word, but one that, like a lot of Yiddish words, has poked its way into English because it fills a gap. When it comes to marriage, this can be a very important relationship, so it’s good to have a word for it. If your parents get along with their machetonim, the family—the whole mishpocheh—will be happier.

This story was republished in 2019.

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