Gender Feminine
Pronounced Pron. /ˈɛm.ə/(English) /ɛ.ma/(French) /ˈ /ˈem.mɑ/(Finnish) /ˈɛ.ma/(German) /ˈɛm.mɒ/(Hungarian)  [key·simplify]

Meaning & History

Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element irmin meaning "whole" or "great" (Proto-Germanic *ermunaz). It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of King Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of King Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma.

After the Norman Conquest this name became common in England. It was revived in the 18th century, perhaps in part due to Matthew Prior's 1709 poem Henry and Emma [2]. It was also used by Jane Austen for the central character, the matchmaker Emma Woodhouse, in her novel Emma (1816).

In the United States, it was third in rank in 1880 (behind only the ubiquitous Mary and Anna). It declined steadily over the next century, beginning another rise in the 1980s and eventually becoming the most popular name for girls in 2008. At this time it also experienced similar levels of popularity elsewhere, including the United Kingdom (where it began rising a decade earlier), Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Famous bearers include the actresses Emma Thompson (1959-), Emma Stone (1988-) and Emma Watson (1990-).

Related Names

VariantsEma(Spanish) Ima, Irma(Germanic)
DiminutivesEm, Emmie, Emmy(English) Emmy, Emy(French) Emmy(Swedish) Emmi(Finnish) Emmy(Dutch) Emmy(German)
Other Languages & CulturesEma(Bosnian) Ema(Croatian) Ema(Czech) Ime, Imke(Frisian) Irma(Georgian) Ema, Irma(Lithuanian) Imke(Low German) Irmina(Polish) Ema(Portuguese) Ema(Slovak) Ema, Irma(Slovene)
User SubmissionEmmá

People think this name is

classic   formal   natural   wholesome   refined   simple   serious  

Name Days

Austria: December 3
Austria: December 10
Estonia: May 19
Finland: May 19
France: April 19
Hungary: April 19
Hungary: November 24
Italy: April 19
Italy: May 13
Latvia: June 2
Norway: January 23
Poland: November 24
Poland: December 28
Spain: June 29
Sweden: July 23


Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley in an illustration from Jane Austen's EmmaEmma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley in an illustration from Jane Austen's Emma


2000s, 2010s, 2020's Grand Slam tennis players, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder characters, A Song of Ice and Fire characters, Alan Wake characters, Archive 81 characters, asteroids, black history, Caillou characters, celebrity babies, Charles Dickens characters, Choices Stories You Play characters, Corner Gas characters, Detroit Become Human characters, Dislyte characters, Disney characters, Dora the Explorer characters, Dragalia Lost characters, Dutch royal family, Eurovision 2022, fictional characters, Fire Emblem characters, Friends characters, greatness, Gundam characters, Heroes NBC characters, history, House of Cards US characters, Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest, James Joyce characters, Jane Austen characters, Kaleido Star characters, Keeper of the Lost Cities characters, Kennedy family, literature, love island Finland, love island UK, Love Live characters, Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest, Marvel characters, models, movies, Murder She Wrote characters, never out of the US top 1000, nobles, Norwegian royal family, Octavia E. Butler characters, Once Upon a Time characters, One Piece characters, Orthodox saints, pop music, Power Rangers characters, queens, Reign of the Seven Spellblades characters, Resident Evil characters, Rosenkowitz sextuplets, Saint Seiya characters, saints, short forms, socialites, song titles, Spice Girls, Squishmallows, Summer Camp Island characters, Superstore characters, Taylor Swift songs, Tekken characters, the Cupcake Diaries characters, The Dukes of Hazzard characters, The Golden Girls characters, top 10 in Argentina, top 10 in Australia, top 10 in Austria, top 10 in Belgium, top 10 in Catalonia, top 10 in Denmark, top 10 in Finland, top 10 in France, top 10 in Germany, top 10 in Hawaii, top 10 in Hungary, top 10 in Iceland, top 10 in Italy, top 10 in Malta, top 10 in New Zealand, top 10 in Northern Ireland, top 10 in Norway, top 10 in Puerto Rico, top 10 in Quebec, top 10 in Scotland, top 10 in Spain, top 10 in Sweden, top 10 in Switzerland, top 10 in the Netherlands, top 10 in the US, Total Drama characters, Trauma Center characters, True Blood characters, United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest, Virginia Woolf characters, Virtua Tennis opponent characters, Wii Sports opponent Miis, Wii Sports series opponent Miis, Wild Arms characters, Will and Grace characters, William Faulkner characters, wives of Joseph Smith, X-Men, Yakusoku no Neverland characters, YouTubers

Sources & References

  1. Förstemann, Ernst. Altdeutsches Namenbuch. Bonn, 1900, page 950.
  2. Withycombe, Elizabeth Gidley. The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names. Oxford, 1945, page 46.
Entry updated April 23, 2024