Usage English, French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, German, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic 
Meaning & History
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen meaning "whole" or "universal". 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 . 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.
DiminutivesEm, Emmie, Emmy(English) Emmy, Emy(French) Emmy(Swedish) Emmi(Finnish) Emmy(Dutch) Emmy(German)
Other Languages & CulturesEma(Bosnian) Ema(Croatian) Ema(Czech) Irma(Georgian) Ema, Irma(Lithuanian) Irmina(Polish) Ema(Portuguese) Ema(Slovak) Ema, Irma(Slovene)
Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley in an illustration from Jane Austen's Emma
People think this name is
classic formal natural wholesome refined simple serious nerdy
2000s, 2010s, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder characters, A Song of Ice and Fire characters, Alan Wake characters, Caillou characters, celebrity babies, Charles Dickens characters, Detroit Become Human characters, Dora the Explorer characters, Dutch royal family, fictional characters, Fire Emblem characters, Friends characters, Gundam characters, Heroes NBC characters, history, House of Cards US characters, James Joyce characters, Jane Austen characters, literature, Love Live characters, Marvel characters, movies, never out of the US top 1000, Norwegian royal family, Orthodox saints, pop music, Power Rangers characters, queens, Rosenkowitz sextuplets, saints, short forms, song titles, Tekken characters, 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 Quebec, top 10 in Spain, top 10 in Switzerland, top 10 in the Netherlands, top 10 in the US, Total Drama characters, trendy, True Blood characters, Virtua Tennis opponent characters, wii sports opponent miis, Wild Arms characters, Will and Grace characters, William Faulkner characters, YouTubers
Sources & References
- Förstemann, Ernst. Altdeutsches Namenbuch. Bonn, 1900, page 950.
- Withycombe, Elizabeth Gidley. The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names. Oxford, 1945, page 46.
Entry updated November 20, 2020