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Emma Meaning


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Origin & Meaning

The name Emma is of English origin.

The meaning of Emma is "entire, whole".  


In the U.S. in 2014, it ranked 1  in baby name popularity for girls with 20799 occurrences.  It ranked 6710 in popular baby names for boys with 12 occurrences. 

View the Emma Name Popularity Page to see how the popularity trend for Emma has changed since 1880, or to compare the popularity of Emma to other names.


Introduced to Britain by the Normans, the name Emma originated as a short form of compound names that contained the element erm(en), irm(en), meaning "entire, whole".

It is sometimes used as a nickname for Emily, but this is not etymologically justified.

Emma of Normandy was the wife of both king Etheired II and king Canute as well as mother to Edward the Confessor.

The name became popular in England and saw a resurgence of popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The name is also a favorite of poets and authors, and was the name of a lead character in the 1960s TV serial The Avengers.

Emma Lazarus was an American poet and writer. She was born in New York on July 22, 1849 and died at the young age of 38 on November 19,1887 of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Emma is most known for her sonnet "The New Colossus," which is inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Born into a cultured family of Portuguese Sephardic Jewish descent, Emma received an extensive education including languages and literature. She began writing as a child.

Her works include: "Admetus and Other Poems" (1871), "Alide: An Episode of Goethe's Life" (1874), "The Spagnoletto" (1876), "Songs of a Semite: The Dance to Death and Other Poems" (1882), "An Epistle to the Hebrews" (1882), "The New Colossus" (1883), "By the Waters of Babylon" (1887)

Emma's life came to a turning point in the 1880s when she became aware of the anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia and Germany. At this time she became an impassioned spokeswoman for Judaism, writing many essays and poems on the subject of the persecution of Jews of Europe. She worked tirelessly to organize relief efforts for the thousands of new immigrants to the U.S.

Emma is known as an important forerunner of the Zionist movement. She argued for the creation of a Jewish homeland thirteen years before Herzl gave it a name, Zionism.

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus, 1883

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What will your new little Emma be like?

It may all be in the numbers.

The numbers that make up your child's name.

Children named Emma are often bright and admirable but most of all they are  read more >>

Related Names

Other Tidbits

Emma falls into the classic name category.

Some famous bearers of this name include: Emma Lazarus.

Name Fun

Would you like to fingerspell the name Emma in American Sign Language?

Then just follow the diagram below.

Be creative with the name Emma.

Just for fun, see the name Emma in Hieroglyphics, learn about ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and write a Hieroglyphic message.

Learn about nautical flags and see your name or message written in nautical flags, on the Emma in Nautical Flags page.

Names Like This

English names generally consist of a given name, middle name and family name. Many English speaking countries have fairly flexible naming laws. This allows the multicultural families that live in these countries to merge the naming conventions of their faiths or previous nationalities with their current homeland.

Biblical names are still very prevelant. Nature, literature, mythology, celebrity, surnames, variants of traditional names and newly invented names are all sources of English given names.

The evolution of English names in the U.K. can be traced to the various conquests and ruling power changes of its early history. The evolution of English names in America has been more influenced by the various influxes of immigrants from different parts of the world during different times in its history.