This Wonder of the Day is for Jacob and Isabella. And Grace and Samuel. It’s for everyone with a name, so that makes it for everyone!

Do you know what your name means? How about what language it came from? Researching the meaning of your name can be a fun exercise that can teach you something about the origin of words and maybe even your heritage or your parents’ hopes for your future.

So what’s in a name? Is it just a random grouping of letters? Or does it say something more? We all learn to identify with our names. Some of us like our names, while others might wish they were named something else. What about you? Do you like your name? Why or why not?

Parents choose their children’s names for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a name is passed down through many generations as a family tradition. Do you know someone with a “Jr.” at the end of his name? That’s because his father probably has the same name!

Other parents might choose a name simply because they like the way it sounds. Some names become popular because they are associated with popular movie stars or musicians. Still other parents might choose a name based upon its historical meaning.

The study of proper names and their origins is known as onomastics. A specific category of onomastics that focuses on personal names is called anthroponomastics. A particular name’s meaning usually is connected in some way to the language it comes from or the culture of the area where it developed.

Are you curious about the meaning of your name? Sit down with your parents and have a conversation about your name. How did they come up with your name? Do they know what it means or what language it came from?

How popular is your name? Are you the only Seth in your school? Or are you one of several Jacobs? Here are some of the most popular boys’ and girls’ names over the past five decades in the United States:

  • 1960s: Mary, Lisa, Kimberly, Michelle, Linda, Michael, John, David, James, John and Robert
  • 1970s: Jennifer, Lisa, Michelle, Amy, Heather, Michael, James, Christopher, Jason and David
  • 1980s: Jennifer, Jessica, Ashley, Brittany, Amanda, Michael, Christopher, Matthew, David and Andrew
  • 1990s: Jessica, Ashley, Emily, Sarah, Samantha, Michael, Jacob, Christopher, Joshua and Nicholas
  • 2000s: Emily, Isabella, Emma, Hannah, Madison, Jacob, Michael, Ethan, Joshua and Daniel

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day helps you go in and out by going around and around!