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Updated April 19, 2024

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Girl name origins & meanings

What does Emma mean and stand for?


  • German: Whole or universal  
  • English: Whole or universal

Gender: Female

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Emma is pronounced EM-uh

The name Emma is derived from the Germanic word "ermen" meaning "whole" or "universal", and was originally a shortened version of a variety of Germanic names that began with ermen-. It was first popularized or introduced by Emma of Normandy.

Girl name variations

How Popular Is The Name Emma

Family name origins & meanings

Italian (Sicily): apparently from the female personal name Emma (see Emm).

Famous people with this first name

Famous people who gave their babies this name

Emma in Pop Culture

Do you know these fictional characters that share this first name?

  • Emma Woodhouse from Emma - The witty and charming protagonist, known for her matchmaking attempts, in Jane Austen's classic novel.
  • Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time - A bail bonds collector who discovers she is actually a fairy tale character.
  • Emma Frost from X-Men - A powerful mutant with telepathic abilities and the power to transform into diamond.
  • Emma Pillsbury from Glee - The caring and eccentric high school guidance counselor with a penchant for cleanliness.
  • Emma Morley from One Day - A complex character navigating love and friendship over two decades in this novel and its film adaptation.

Popularity of the Name Emma

According to Social Security Administration data, Emma has remained a top choice for parents in the U.S., consistently maintaining a spot in the top three most popular girls' names for the past decade. Its appeal is reflected in its No. 1 ranking in several years over the past two decades, including as recently as 2018. Emma's popularity can be attributed not only to its classic, elegant simplicity but also to its literary and historical ties.

Famous Emmas include the actress Emma Watson, known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, and Emma Stone, an Academy Award-winning actress. The name has also been a favorite in literature, most notably in Jane Austen's novel Emma. Historical figures named Emma include Emma of Normandy, twice queen consort of England. Fictional characters sharing the name can be found in works ranging from Glee to Once Upon a Time and Friends.

Where Is the Name Emma Popular?

Nicknames for Emma

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Emmy
  • Em
  • Ems

Emma Pairs Well With These Middle Names

Browse these related baby name lists that feature this name and many, many more!

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