If a parent, you might have used it already, be considering using it or had it on a list at some point. If not, chances are there's one in your life somewhere.
Sofia – and regional variations of it including Sophia, Sofie and Zsófia – has been revealed to be the world's favourite moniker for baby girls.
Baby name expert Laura Wattenberg of babynamewizard.com used statistics from 49 countries to determine that the popularity of Sofia is truly global, with the name topping the charts in nine of the nations that record such figures.
As well as that, it came second or third in 20 more, and appeared in the top 25 in two-thirds of countries with name statistics, as seen in the website's map above.
Wattenberg explains: “The name crosses borders of every kind [...] Even this map dramatically under-reports the phenomenon. First off, not every Sofia-loving country tallies baby name data. Greece, the name's homeland, is just one example. Among the countries we do have data for, many report only the top five or 10 names. That means that Sofia likely is quite popular in some of the countries labeled ‘unranked’.
“And remember, too, that the map only reflects the popularity of one form of the name. It's common for Sophia, Sofia and Sophie to all be counted separately, sometimes with multiple forms ranking among a country's top 10.
“In essence, the entire Western world has agreed on the most attractive baby name.”
According to Wattenberg, Sofia can be regarded as the most widely popular in the world right now, even if without statistics from large countries such as China and India it's hard to judge popularity by volume.
She adds in her blog post: “To be clear, I can't say definitively that Sofia is the world's most common girl's name in terms of number of babies born. With no popularity reports from large countries like China, India, Nigeria and Brazil, we just don't have the data to say for sure. But it is certainly the most widely popular.”
The name's popularity spans countries speaking at least 22 different languages, coming first in Italy, Mexico and Russia, and, as seen in graphs on Wattenberg's website, has skyrocketed in recent years.
Sophie was the 10th most popular name in the UK in 2014, while Sophia came in at 12th and Sofia 28th. Adding the latter two together, a total of 4,444 babies were named Sophia or Sofia in the UK, which would actually put the name third (behind Amelia and Olivia).
As for why, she muses: “I can't claim to fully understand what that makes Sofia irresistible in Finland or Belarus, but a look through American eyes offers some clues to its global appeal. The name is instantly recognizable as a classic, yet it was uncommon in every spelling from the 1930s through the 1980s. That means today's parents didn't grow up surrounded by Sophias, so it doesn't sound tired or over-familiar to them.
“It features long vowels and no consecutive consonant sounds, two key elements of current name fashion [...] And obviously, it travels well and appeals to varied cultural backgrounds.”
But speaking to livescience.com about her analysis, Wattenberg says the competitiveness of the top 10 and top 100 lists might see Sofia reaching its peak and parents backing off.
“It's actually a little unnerving to discover that the name that happens to sound nice to you also sounds nice to the entire Western world [...] Everyone is trying to avoid the number-one name, because they think that's too ordinary, so names rise and fall faster than they used to.”
2014's top 10 most popular baby names in the UK are below. Given it's been reported recently that some names are in danger of extinction altogether, perhaps it's time to crack out the Sandras, Carols and Annettes...
Top 10 UK baby names for girls (2014)
Top baby names around the world (2014)
Australia – Olivia and Oliver
Chile – Sofia and Augustin
Denmark – Emma and William
France – Louis and Arthur
Italy – Sofia and Francesco
The Netherlands – Emma and Liam
Russia – Sofia and Aleksander
Spain – Lucia and Hugo
Sweden – Elsa and Lucas
United States of America – Emma and Noah
Images: Rex Features, Thinkstock, babynamewizard.com