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More top boys come from the bible

Almost one third of names have religious roots

The number of boys given biblical names is rising fast in contrast to a decline in churchgoing in the UK. The recently published list of 100 most popular boys’ names shows that apostles, prophets, messengers and other characters from the Old and New Testament are present in significant number.

Thomas and James have been regulars in the top ten for decades and while Andrew and John have dropped out of the 100 they have been replaced since 2003 by newcomers Zachary, Elijah, Gabriel, Caleb and Seth. Altogether, 26 boys in the top 100 have names that derive from the Bible with Noah at No 13 the fastest riser

Three variations of spelling the Prophet – Muhammad (15), Mohammed (23) and Mohammad (57) – are highly placed while Ibrahim, in at 89, also reflects the choice of Muslim parents.

These are the biblical boys in the list of 100 most popular names from the Office for National Statistics, 2013:

4 Jacob, 6 Thomas, 9 James, 12 Joshua, 13 Noah, 14 Ethan, 19 Joseph, 20 Samuel, 22 Daniel, 29 Isaac, 30 Benjamin, 38 Sebastian, 39 Zachary, 40 Adam, 45 Luke, 47 Matthew, 50 David, 53 Michael, 54 Reuben, 55 Nathan, 69 Elijah, 72 Jude, 79 Gabriel, 81 Aaron, 88 Caleb, 97 Seth

Girls’ names are more often taken from flowers (see below) but they too can be drawn from the Bible with Evie (basically a version of Eve), Elizabeth, Hannah, Martha, Leah, Bethany, Sarah and Lydia all in the top 100. Grace and Faith add a further spiritual dimension to the list.



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