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If you love 'Emma,' you'll adore these baby girl names

Diane Ashoff has a background in mathematics and a keen eye for baby name trends. She lives with her husband and three children in Florida.

Baby names: In search of the next 'Emma'

The name Emma was top of mind among more than just Jane Austen fans last year. According to the Social Security Administration, it's currently the most popular girl name in the U.S. Of course, if you're an expectant parent with your eye on this beautiful, classic name, this news may come as a huge bummer — at least, it might once you picture your kid in kindergarten with five other Emmas.

Although Emma is currently topping the charts, it wasn't always; it ranked in the 400s in the '60s, '70s and '80s before climbing the charts again. It was, however, extremely popular once before — at the turn of the century. No, not when 1999 changed over to 2000 — when 1899 changed over to 1900. Back then, Emma was the 13th most popular girl name in the U.S.

If you had your heart set on Emma but don't want to jump on the #1-name bandwagon, don't fret. There are scads of other quality baby girl names that are similar to Emma but probably won't require the use of a last initial throughout grade school. Below, we'll take a look at what makes Emma so dang adorable — and tease out girl names in a similar vein that just may make their way to the top of your (personal, not national) favorite baby name list.

Girl names that sound like Emma

Emma is a strong, traditional baby name, yet also downright pretty. It's easy to spell, easy to say, and easy to pair with a middle name. Here are a handful of similar names that are close, but not too close. Also, keep in mind that Emma is a classic name, popular long ago and still enjoyed by modern parents. Some of these monikers are also older names that may not yet be on the upswing.

Names with French roots

Emma has origins in a couple of different languages (French and German); it was once a royal name in medieval England and was introduced by the Normans of northern France. In fact, Edward the Confessor's mother was known as Emma of Normandy. So let's take a look at other French names that work well in English, to see if any of those spark your interest.

Names meaning "entire, universal"

If you'd like to explore a few names with similar meanings as Emma, check out these choices.

  • Alvara: universal protector
  • Erma: entire, universal
  • Gilda: entire, total
  • Hermine: entire, great
  • Ima: entire, universal
  • Imelda: universal battle

…or, hey, stick with Emma.

If these names don't appeal, there really is nothing wrong with buckling down on your first choice. Take comfort in the fact that there are so many names out there these days — and that your baby's name can't possibly be as popular as "Jennifer" was in the '70s.

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