Site Feedback

Resolved questions
Are English "first names"(given name) fixed? Can it be any combination of random letters?

1.We all know "Tom,Mary",etc. Is it OK to name a child "Tomerin or Mersky".....? In Chinese we can use almost any single character or any combination of normally two characters (with no bad meaning) to name a baby.
2.And are Female names and Male names strictly distinguished? Are there any neutral names which can be given to both a boy and a girl?
3.Do any new names appear as if new words appear as time passes?

Thank you!

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.



    Sort by:

    It's convention to give children common names (or they wouldn't be common), but you can give any combination of syllables you can think of. Some names will sound obviously foreign, but some will not. The example names you gave don't strike me as very strange (although if I had to guess, I'd say they sound Russian).

    I hear English names I've never heard of before every few days.

    There is no rule of what kind of names are boy and girl names, except the convention for common names (for example, Joshua is a common boy name, but I've never heard of a girl named Joshua). Having said that, you do meet people who have names that sound like should belong to the other gender.

    New names appear all the time.

    Naming habits have changed over time, especially in recent decades.

    In the past in the UK, given names were chosen from a much smaller range than today. In the late 18th century, for example, well over 20% of girls were called Mary. The top three most popular names accounted for around 50% of the population, for both boys and girls.

    Gradually the range of names widened, and by the 1960s the top name was given to only about 10% of girls (Susan) and 5% of boys (Paul).

    Most of the popular names had some associations with the Christian Bible, for example Mary and Elizabeth for girls, John and James for boys. As late as the 1960s the given name was known as the 'Christian name'. For example official forms asked for a person's Christian name. The term 'given name' began to be used in the 1970s and 80s, reflecting the fact that an increasing proportion of the population was no longer Christian.

    Today some names are still much more popular than others, for example Olivia and Lily for girls, Harry and Oliver for boys. However names are now heavily influenced by fashion, therefore popularity changes much more quickly than in the past. The range is also wider, with the top names accounting for only a few percent.

    These days some parents 'make up' completely new names for their babies. However, the vast majority still chose from a range of conventional names.

    Submit your answer

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.