Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ilana. Ilana Wonders, “How do we know the meaning of names” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ilana!

This Wonder of the Day is for Andres and Isabella. It’s also for Grace and Fatima. It’s for Samuel and Ali. It’s for everyone with a name. That makes it for you, too!

Do you know what your name means? How about what language it came from? Researching the meaning of your name can be fun. It might teach you something about the origin of words. Maybe you’ll even learn about 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. 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 names and their origins is called onomastics. A category of onomastics that focuses on personal names is called anthroponomastics. A name’s meaning usually is connected in some way to the language or culture it comes from.

How popular is your name? Are you the only Seth in your school? Or are you one of several Kristens? 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

  • 2010s: Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Isabella, Noah, Liam, Mason, Ethan, and William

Are you curious about the meaning of your name? Sit down with a family member and talk about your name. How did they come up with your name? Do they know what it means or what language it came from? We hope you learn something new about your name!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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