Have you ever wondered what the most common name in the world is? Rather you’re adding a new addition to the family or just curious; a name is an identity, and its meaning is important.
The most common name in the world is Wang, meaning king, and is the last name of an estimated 92.8 million people on China’s mainland. The most common first name is Maria, a Latin name that translates to Mary in English, and could have originated from the Egyptian word Meriam meaning beloved.
While those may be the most common names used globally, the world is a vast place with numerous cultures, and each culture has many different names and name variations, no matter how similar they may seem. Let’s take a look at some of the most common names from around the world.
The Most Common Names Globally
It should be no surprise that the most common name in the world’s entirety hails from China and is Chinese for “king.” Wang is the surname of around 92.8 million people on China’s mainland. There is a bit of confusion over who are really descendants of the original Wang clans from the Shang And Zhou Dynasties because they fell during the Qin Dynasties’ rule.
Maria is the most common first name and the second most common name in the world after Wang. It has a pretty long history, possibly dating back to the ancient Egyptian language. Mariam is quite possibly the origin of the name, which translates to “beloved of Amun.”
The name can also be found in Hebrew, meaning “drop of the sea.” We can find variations of Maria worldwide, from Egypt to England, each with their own meaning.
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5 Most Common Names in the United States
While the United States is a very multicultural country, most of its names derive from the English who share a not so distant past.
The most common male names in the United States are:
- Liam is a name that originates from Ireland and has become the number one most common name in the United States. It is short for the Irish name of Ulliam and is related to the name William. It means strong willed-warrior and protector.
- Noah, a popular biblical name meaning ”Rest and Comfort.” It is a Hebrew name in origin and is the main protagonist’s name in Noah’s Arch’s biblical story.
- William, the English version of Ulliam and has the same meaning as its Irish counterpart. They are both derivatives of the Frankish name Willahelm.
- James derives from the Hebrew name Jacob and means “one who follows.” In the 17th Centenary, the Scottish-born King James the VI became the first king of all of Briton and popularized the name. It has been a popular boy’s name ever since.
- Logan is a Scottish name used as both a given name and a surname, and It means little hollow.
The most common female names in the United States are:
- Emma is a derivative of the German word meaning universal; its popularity has been rising since the start of the 19th Centenary.
- Olivia, the female version of Oliver, meaning “Olive tree.” It was first used in Twelfth Night, a play by William Shakespeare.
- Ava is a variation of the Latin Eve meaning “Bird” but could have its origin in Hebrew places, being a variation of Chava meaning “life” or “living one.”
- Isabella or Isabel is a variation of Elizabeth and means “devoted to god.” It was also a very popular name for royalty in England, France, Portugal, and Hungry.
- Sophia is the Greek word for wisdom and became a popular female name in the middle ages amongst European royalty.
As you can see, many of the most common names in the United States are derivative of Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian traditions!
The Strange Split of “John” in the West
The United States has one fairly common and bizarre name variation: Jones, Johnson, and John, which are all different ways to say or refer to John. In many cases, two of the three get combined.
Jones gained its popularity in the U.K. sometime in the 1800s and is the English version of John. John can be traced back to Hebrew, meaning “favored by god.” It is also worth pointing out that any name ending in -son means “son of John.”
“John Jones” is a fairly common name in the U.S, and is the same as naming your kid “John John.” An even funnier combo is the surname Johnson, which simply means “John, the son of John.”
That would make the brand Johnson and Johnson mean “John, son of John & John, son of John!”
Read more: How Many Names Are There In The World?
5 Most Common Names in the United Kingdom
Like the United States, English names derivatives from their surrounding neighbors, Latin, Greek, Germanic, and some Hebrew. There is a little crossover in common names.
The most common male names in the UK are:
- Oliver or Olivier most likely originated in Latin as Olivarious, meaning”Olive tree.”
- George has its origins in the Greek language as Georgios and means “tiller of the soil.”
- Harry is the English derivative of Heimerich, a German word meaning house ruler or power.
- Jack was once a nickname for James or John and has evolved into a name on its own. It has also become a general term for a working-class man.
- Jacob, a biblical name, originates from Hebrew and means “one who follows.”
The most common female names in the UK are:
- Olivia is the female variation of Oliver, meaning “Olive Tree.”
- Emma is a common name shared with the United States and France.
- Sophia is both common in Great Britain and The United States.
- Isla, a traditional Scottish name that’s derived from Islay it means “dynamic,” “vibrant,” or “brilliant.”
- Ava is a popular common name shared with the United States.
Much like the US, English names typically come from Greek, Roman, and Judaic traditions.
5 Most Common Names in France
Unlike England and the United States, most popular French names seem to come from the Hebrew language in origin and have very little in common with the names used in those countries.
The most common male names in France are:
- Gabriel is a Hebrew name that means “hero of god” or “god is my strength.”
- Louis is of French origin and means “renowned warrior,” while it was a popular name during the middle ages and faded to obscurity, it has once again become a common name.
- Raphael means “God has healed” and is from the Hebrew language.
- Jules, the name is Latin in origin and means “soft,” or “youthful.”
- Adam is of Hebrew origin and means earth.
The most common male names in France are:
- Emma is a common name shared with both the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Louise is English in origin and means “famous warrior.”
- Jade is the name of a beautiful green stone used as an ornament. The name is from the Spanish “piedra de la ijada,” which means “stone of colic.”
- Alice is of old german origin and means “noble” or “exalted.”
- Chloe means “blooming” or “fertility” and is of Greek origin. In Greek, it is used to refer to young foliage.
France has a fun and interesting mixed bag of both old, new, English, Hebrew, and all sorts of other types of names!
The Most Common Names Around the World
The development of names across the globe is an increasingly complex and interesting field of study. Thanks to the hard work of census workers and statisticians, we now know that the most common name in the world is Wang!
However, if we limit our scope to just the European/Western world, then the most common name turns out to be Maria, with Liam coming in first for men in the United States.
Whether you are choosing a name for a new child, or just looking to pick up some cool trivia, we hope you have learned a lot from the information we compiled today!
Read more: What are the most common names in the World