While Ava sounds like it belongs in the “grandma names are back” category, it was actually never that popular until quite recently. The name spiked in the ’50s, possibly thanks to actress Ava Gardner but then fell down the charts until it rocketed back up in the late ’90s. What’s responsible for the sudden jump? Heather Locklear’s (’97) and Reese Witherspoon’s (’99) baby Avas sure didn’t hurt. It fits right in with today’s most popular names -- classic and girly but strong. If you’re worried about the name’s massive popularity (we don’t see it going anywhere but up), consider a version from another language -- say, the Celtic Aoife or the Hebrew Chavah. Considering that Ava stems from the name of our very first lady Eve, it makes sense that there’s some variation in almost every culture.