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Philadelphia’s Top Baby Names: Revealed

Liberty Bell

Philadelphia’s Top Baby Names: Revealed

Naming a new baby can be a hard decision, not only do you need to consider the meaning and origin behind a name, but if it will fit your new family member. Take a look at Philadelphia’s top baby names for 2023 to get some good ideas. Every year, the Social Security Administration rounds up the most used baby names by State. While some of these are specific to Philadelphia as a metropolis, some of these are also popular in Pennsylvania as a whole. Why do certain names continue to pop up on these lists? Whether it’s related to popular cultural events, characters, or family-related, there’s a reason these names made it to the top of the list. Read on to learn about Philadelphia’s top baby names for 2023.

In this post, we’ll talk about the origin and meaning behind these popular names. Get to know the stories, values, and symbolism attached to Phildelphia’s top baby names for 2023. We’ll do a deep dive into their cultural background, links to particular languages, and the meaning that makes them so popular. Let’s get into the background of Philadelphia’s top baby names for 2023, and perhaps by the end of this post, you’ll have some solid ideas on what kind of baby names might be a good fit for your own family. 

1. Lyra

The name “Lyra,” belongs to a constellation that's shaped like the lyre, a magical harp. The Greek God Apollo, a purveyor of music, dance, poetry, archery, and the arts, played the lyre. The character of Orpheus also played the lyre. Read more about the lyre in relation to great mythical stores here. “Lyra” is among Philadelphia's top baby names for 2023 according to Nameberry. Individuals with the name include author Phillip Pullman's main character from “The Golden Compass” Lyra Belacqua. Variations of this name may include “Lira,” “Liera,” and “Lera.”

2. Atticus

Next up, we have “Atticus,” which has roots in Latin. The name comes from the Greek word “Attikos,” which was used to describe someone from Attica, a region in Greece. Modern-day Attica includes Athens, the capital of the country. The name can also mean “wise,” due to its connection to great academics and philosophers who resided in Athens in the early days (via Name Of The Year). You may recognize the name from the skillful lawyer, Atticus Finch in the classic To Kill A Mockingbird.

3. Liam

“Liam,” is a variation on the name William. This, in turn, is derived from the Irish name “Uilliam,” and the Frankish name “Willahelm.” The translation and meanings of these name variations mean “helm,” and “protector,” which can be interpreted as a “strong warrior.” It is a powerful name for a new baby and quite popular in many different parts of the U.S. along with Philadelphia (via Very Well Family).

4. Olivia/Oliver

The names “Olivia” and “Oliver” have connections to Norse, French, and Latin languages. The old Norse name “Álefir translates” to “descendant,” and the French iteration “Olivier,” means olive tree. In Latin, “Oliva,” is the word for olive. All these meanings and origins together suggest that “Olivia,” and “Oliver,” have some beautiful meanings and values behind them. The olive tree has long been connected to symbolism around peace, respect, beauty, and dignity.

5. James

James” is a classic name, with roots in Scotland and England. It is a Biblical name, with the Hebrew translation meaning “supplanter,” or someone who replaces. The name gained popularity among rulers in the 17th century with King James VI who took over (supplanted) the English throne. It comes from the Hebrew name “Jacob,” which means the names have similar meanings.

6. Elijah

The name “Elijah,” is another Biblical name. In Hebrew, it means “Jehovah is my God,” and it is connected to Elijah the Prophet who protected loyal worshippers and performed miracles. It comes from the words “El” meaning “God,” and “Yah,” meaning “Jehovah.” No wonder this name is popular not only in Philadelphia but the whole state of Pennsylvania (via NBC Philadelphia).

popular american male first name elijah
The name “Elijah” is among several Biblical names on Philadelphia's top baby names of 2023.

©Stefan Petersohn/Shutterstock.com

7. Charlotte

The name “Charlotte,” which is a feminized version of “Charles,” has remained a popular girl's name. It comes from the old English word “ceorl.” This word was used to describe a ” free man” not of royal blood. The name has roots in French and German. Other variations of the name include “Carl,” or “Karl.”

8. Amelia

According to Nameberry, “Amelia” is among Philadelphia's top baby names. It has roots in Latin, from the name “Amal,” meaning “industrious,” and “fertile.” It is a feminized version of names like “Emmett,” and “Emery.” Other feminizations include “Emily,” and “Amy.” Famous Amelias include Amelia Earheart.

11. Eden

Have you ever heard of the Garden of Eden? This Biblical place represents a peaceful haven of safety and comfort. The name “Eden” translates to a “place of pleasure,” in Hebrew. In the story, Eve takes a bite of a forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge and her and Adam are banished from the Garden.

12. Ava

The name “Ava” has roots in Latin, Hebrew, and Persian. In Latin “Avis,” means “birdlike,” while the Germanic word “Aval” means to “guarantee.” In Hebrew, the name “Havva,” derived from the word “Hayya,” translates to “lively.” And in Persian, it can mean “voice,” or “sound.” All of its meanings and possible translations indicate that “Ava” is a beautiful name to impart to a new baby.

13. Evelyn

“Evelyn,” comes from the French name “Avaline,” of which “Ava,” could be a nickname. Its meanings are varied and include “hazelnut,” “life,” “desired,” and “island.” The name combines “Eve,” and “Lyn,” which further expand their meanings to “desired child,” “little bird,” “strength,” and “island in the water.” Read more on the origin and meanings of the name “Evelyn,” here.

14. Mia

Mia” comes from the name “Maria,” and the Hebrew name “Miryam.” In Egyptian it means “beloved,” in Italian, it means “mine,” and in Slavic, names similar to Mia (Mila) translate to “darling,” or “dear.” It is a popular name in Scandinavian, Spanish, and Italian countries, and Israel is a nickname for “Michal.”

15. Theodore

“Theodore,” is a Greek name meaning “divine gift.” It comes from “Theos” meaning “God,” and “Doron,” meaning “gift.” Famous Theodores include Theodore Roosevelt and American Writer Theodore Sturgeon.

16. Luna 

“Luna” means “moon” in Italian, Latin, and Spanish. In Roman and Greek mythology, “Luna” was a moon goodness, sometimes referred to as either “Diana” or “Selena.” This powerful character lights up the sky with her chariot, shooting star arrows across the sky. No wonder this is one of Philadelphia's top baby names of 2023!

Baby name LUNA composed of wooden letters on stool. Choosing name concept
“Luna” is a simple name with a lot of meaning. It is associated with the great Goddess of the moon.

©Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

17. Silas

“Silas” is another of Philadelphia's top baby names. With roots in Greek and Latin, it translates to “woods,” or “forest.” It's related to Sylvanus, a Roman God of the forest, and in Latin, the word Silvanus means “of the forest.” According to Nameberry, an alternate meaning of “Silas” is “prayed for.” This comes from the Hebrew word “Saul.” “Saul” was the name of the first King of Israel, and shows up in the Bible in the New Testament with Saint Silas, a Christian man.

18. Arlo

Arlo,” is a nickname for the longer name “Harlow.” It combines the words “hoer,” and “hlaw” which means a hill made of stones or rocks.” It can also translate to a “fortified hill.” The earliest mention of “Arlo” can be traced to a poem from 1590 entitled “The Faerie Queen.” In Irish-Gaelic, the word “Aherlow” translates to “between two highlands,” and in German it means “hill.”

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