A new study has revealed the most beautiful sounding names according to principles of linguistics, with Sophia and Zayn ranking as the most beautiful sounding baby names in the UK.

New research by My 1st Years has revealed the most beautiful sounding names of 2022 in the UK, using the linguistic theory of iconicity and Adelman et al. (2018)’s study on sound symbolism, and working with Dr Bodo Winter, Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham, to measure exactly which of the 100 most popular names this year convey the most positive emotions to us when said out loud. 

The analysis revealed that Zayn and Sophia are the most beautiful-sounding baby names of the year. Originally an Arabic name, Zayn means ‘beauty’ and ‘grace’ and was popularised within the UK alongside One Direction boy band member Zayn Malik’s rise to fame; while Sophia, which originated in Greece in the 4th century and means ‘wisdom’, has influential icons like Sophia Copolla and Sofia Vergara to thank for its increase in popularity in the late 90s. 

Next on the list for both genders is Jesse and Zoe. The name Jesse has its origins in both English and Dutch history and means ‘God’s gift’ or ‘King’, while Zoe has its roots in Greek language and means ‘life’. Completing the top three most beautiful sounding names of 2022 is Charlie and Rosie; Charlie being a pet form of Charles, and historically a boy’s name but now one of the most popular unisex names in existence, and Rosie, of English origin but a diminutive form of Rose, which has its origins in Latin. 

Other notable names feature in prime positions within the remaining top 25 charts for both girls and boys’names, with Ivy in fifth place and Willow in eighth for girls’ names – their surges in popularity likely attributable to their iconic counterparts Blue Ivy, Beyonce’s daughter, and Willow Smith – daughter of Will Smith. While for the boys it seems that the impact of the royals is everlasting, with third to seventh place beautiful sounding names including Charlie, Louie, William, and George. 

The Top 25 Most Beautiful Baby Names for Boys 

Rank  Name 
1  Zayn 
2  Jesse 
3  Charlie 
4  Louie 
5  William 
6  Freddie 
7  George 
8  Ali 
9  Daniel 
10  Riley 
11  Omar 
12  Arthur 
13  Rowan 
14  Leo 
15  Joseph 
16  Theo 
17  Harry 
18  Noah 
19  Toby 
20  Jude 
21 Isaac 
22 Teddy 
23 Samuel 
24 James 
25 Elijah 

The Top 25 Most Beautiful Baby Names for Girls 

Rank  Name 
1  Sophia 
2  Zoe 
3  Rosie 
4  Sophie 
5  Ivy 
6  Phoebe 
7  Violet 
8  Willow 
9  Hannah 
10  Ellie 
11  Emily 
12  Evelyn 
13  Rose 
14  Eliza 
15  Eva 
16  Chloe 
17  Penelope 
18  Lucy 
19  Ruby 
20  Lily 
21 Olivia 
22 Emma 
23 Eleanor 
24 Bella 
25 Luna 

Dr Bodo Winter, Associate Professor in Cognitive Linguistics at the University of Birmingham comments: “Using an exciting piece of sound symbolism research from Adelman et al. (2018) as a starting point, we scored a number of the world’s most popular baby names in order to rank them. The names that ranked the most highly, provoked the most positive emotions when spoken out loud and therefore are likely to sound most beautiful to the human ear. 

While the study conducted by My 1st Years is very comparable to the types of studies that would also be conducted by linguistic research, there are of course some limitations and additional factors to consider, from accents to family history, which can all influence how we interpret names.  Firstly, in Adelman et al (2018)’s original study, they’ve analysed English words, not names. While this therefore isn’t a direct translation, this is a very good starting point as there are many more words than names in the English language, and there are no existing databases of names according to positive/negative connotations.  

However, given the enormity of the field of linguistics, and the thousands of names that exist globally, it’s been really interesting to work with My 1st Years on this research which ranks which of the most popular baby names of the moment really are the most beautiful sounding.” 

Gareth Chadwick, Head of Marketing at My 1st Years comments: “Naming our new-borns can sometimes feel incredibly overwhelming, particularly if you haven’t already got a shortlist by the time they’re born! Whether it’s choosing the right spelling, imagining what nicknames they’ll end up with or considering how it’ll sound when they’re older – there’s a lot to think about before signing that birth certificate. 

We’re passionate about names and personalisation and so we were really keen to find out if there’s any science behind which names truly are the most beautiful to the ear, and we were so grateful to work with Dr. Bodo Winter, in order to rank this year’s most popular baby names according to the hugely interesting linguistic theory of iconicity. Of course, it goes without saying that any of the names in our study can be applied to either gender, and all names are truly beautiful! So whichever you choose will end up suiting your bundle of joy, no matter what, but we do hope the results can help ease the anxiety of choosing one for any soon-to-be parents who might be struggling to narrow down their choices.” 

To see the full research visit: https://www.my1styears.com/blog/the-worlds-most-beautiful-sounding-names-according-to-science/


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