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Category: 1980s baby names



Popular Names Your Mom Never Heard Of

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by Pamela Redmond Satran

Any newcomer to the contemporary world of baby names may be amazed at how diverse and – to use a Mom word – different names have become. In the generation since Mom was naming you, the list of US Most Popular Name has expanded to include more ethnically distinct names, words freshly morphed into names, and newly-minted monikers. Mom might not recognize many of today’s Top 500, used for hundreds of babies now but virtually nonexistent in the 1980s.

Warning: If you choose one of these names for your baby, you should expect surprise – or possible shock – from Mom (and Dad too).

Popular baby names today least likely to be familiar to your Mom include:

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A Century of Back-to-School Names

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As a new school year gets underway, we survey a century of names emblematic of each decade. The path from Old School John and Mary to today’s Anakin and Zendaya has not been a straight or direct one, but it’s certainly been educational. — by Abby Sandel and Pamela Redmond Satran

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1980s baby names

By Abby Sandel

What defines the 1980s?

There’s breakdancing and the Rubik’s Cube, legwarmers and Pac-Man, Prince William instead of Prince George. But how about the names?

Thirty years ago, the most popular baby names for boys included Jason and Joshua, Michael and Christopher, Andrew and Ryan – the dad names of 2015.

But rewind that VCR in your head to the names of movie characters, popular singers and actors, and more. A surprising number of those names have become among the most stylish choices for boys born today.

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TV Names: Happy Soap Opera Day!


Today is officially Soap Opera Day (woo hoo!) and though this isn’t as big of a deal in the baby name world as it once was, with a lot fewer sudsers on TV than there were when soap operas were the main staple of daytime programming, we have to acknowledge the influence that they did have in the past—just as powerful as reality show show TV names do today.

This is true both in terms of trends (as in sometimes condescendingly considered “soap opera names” on the order of Thorne and Trent, Blade and Brent, and also place names like Sierra and Egypt, boys’ names for girls) and individual names—the classic example of which is Kayla.  It’s highly doubtful that there would have been 16,000 baby girls named Kayla in 1996 if popular good girl Kayla Brady hadn’t appeared on Days of Our Lives a decade earlier.  And the same goes for all those Ashleys too.

What follows is a list of soap opera names across three decades that did have some influence—though it sometimes took as long as a decade or two to make an impact (and of course there could be other factors involved)—followed by the year in which they were at the peak of their popularity.

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This week for her Nameberry 9, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel looks back at 1980’s baby names and finds that the glam rock stars of that era are still having an impact on naming today.

Conventional wisdom says that parents are willing to take risks with their daughters’ names, but turn conservative as soon as they hear the words “It’s a boy!”

There’s some truth to that, and yet I know more and  more little fellows with daring names.  The US Top 100 bears this out, too, from Noah to Jayden to Chase, all names that sound mainstream today, but violate some of the traditional norms of naming boys.

I think I might have landed on one of the reasons this week: 80s glam metal.

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