Yes, names mean something. The always popular Emma, for instance, brings up a serene-looking girl picking lilies or happily skipping through an apple orchard. On the other hand, if you named your daughter BeulahÖ.Well, you get the idea.
Names conjure up personality traits. A Samantha (#12 among girls) could become the prom queen whereas the shortened "Sam" would more likely earn a solid batting average for the softball team. I like the name Hannah (#9), but expect an Elizabeth (#10) would have a better chance of leading a Fortune 500 company.
Male names tend to be safe. William, Andrew, Anthony, Michael, Matthew, and Mark are solid-sounding names, geared for battle in the corporate world. Male names can also reflect one's ethnicity. In my experience, 98 percent of all Greek families have at least one Nick. If a Greek mother named her child Ethan, there would be rumors the mother had imbibed too much ouzo!
The safest bet for girls is Emily, the top-ranked name for the past 11 years. This is a problem for teachers. When a class contains 13 girls all named Emily, it's difficult for educators to assign each a personality, kind of like receiving a personal letter mailed to "Occupant."
However, a popular name like Emily is preferable to those names more suitable for a Scrabble board. The 31st most popular name (Neveah--heaven spelled backwards) is too complex for inferior minds like mine. Spiritual/philosophical names can also be a stretch. Girls named Trinity (#72), Harmony (#315), and Sincere (#622) run the risk of joining New Age cults. If you meet a girl named Miracle (#461), she's likely either wearing hippie beads or donning a bonnet in an FLDS compound.
The worst name on the list was Messiah (#723). Any boy named Messiah will be the target of jokes and has no reasonable chance of making the high school football team. The poor child can't even shorten his name to lessen the damage--"Mess" isn't any less problematic than Messiah!
Maybe the Utah Legislature should add a law on the books. Any parent naming their kid Messiah could be prosecuted for child abuse. Call it a child protection bill, certainly as valid as the law requiring booster seats. And if any parent dared name a child Cyclops, the Legislature should authorize a public hanging.