Top Names that Peaked in 1881
Origin:English from German
Description:William is derived from the Germanic name Wilhelm, composed of the elements wil, "will," and helm, referring to a helmet or protection. The name was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, with William being the Norman variation of the name. In Central and Southern France, it was translated as Guillaume.
Description:Henry was derived from the French Henri, which ultimately comes from the Germanic name Heimrich, made up of the components heim, meaning "home" or "estate," and rich, meaning "ruler." The most famous wearer is Henry VIII of England, best known for having six wives—two of whom he beheaded for not bearing him sons. It’s been used in the British royal family many times since.
Meaning:"told by God"
Description:Samuel was derived from the Hebrew name Shemu’el, meaning “told by God.” In the Old Testament, Samuel was one of the great judges and prophets of the Israelites, destined for a holy life from birth. He established the Hebrew monarchy, anointing both Saul and David as kings.
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:John is an English derivative of the Hebrew name Yochanan via the Latin name Iohannes, itself coming from the Greek Ioannes. John was a key name in early Christianity, borne by John the Baptist, John the Apostle and John the Evangelist, plus 84 saints and 23 popes, as well as kings and countless other illustrious notables. Contrary to popular belief, the names John and Jonathan are unrelated, the latter being an elaboration of Nathan.
Origin:English, variation of Lucia
Description:Lucy is the English form of the Roman Lucia, which derives from the Latin word "lux" meaning "light." Lucy and Lucia were at one time given to girls born at dawn. Lucy can alternatively be spelled Luci or Lucie.
Origin:Variation of Hannah, Hebrew
Description:Anna is the Latin form of Hannah, a Hebrew name that derived from root chanan, meaning "grace." European Christians embraced the name for its associations with the Virgin Mary’s mother, Saint Anna—known in English as Saint Anne. While Hannah and Anna are the most common forms of the name, variations including Annie, Annalise, Anya, Anika, Nancy, and Anais also rank in the US Top 1000.
Origin:Hebrew or Egyptian
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
Description:Mary is the English form of Maria, which ultimately was derived from the Hebrew name Maryam/Mariam. The original meaning of Maryam is uncertain, but theories include "drop of the sea" (from Hebrew roots mar "drop" and yam "sea"); "bitter" (from Hebrew marah "bitterness"); and "beloved" (from the Egyptian root mr).
Description:Iconoclasts though we may be, we like Fred, we like Frank, and we like George, which was among the Top 10 from 1830 to 1950, when the number of little Georges started to decline. Solid, strong, royal and saintly, yet friendly and unpretentious, we think that George is in prime position for a comeback, especially since it was chosen by Britain's royal couple.
Origin:English, diminutive of Josephine, feminine of Joseph
Description:Josie is jaunty and friendly: among the most winning of all nickname names. She's been on the social security list since records began being kept.
Description:Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of neglect, now being polished up and restored by some stylish parents, emerging as a top contender among names for the new royal prince.
Origin:Diminutive of Mildred or Millicent
Meaning:"gentle strength; strong in work"
Description:Millie is fashionable again in England, Wales and Scotland. In the USA it's a winner with parents who like the offbeat, frilly, and old-fashioned. Millicent would be an appealing long form, but many people are using Millie all by its cute self -- so many, in fact, that it returned to the Top 500 in 2015 for the first time since World War 2 and is one of the coolest girl names starting with M.
Origin:English, diminutive of Charles
Description:Charlie derives, of course, from the classic name Charles which, in turn, comes from a German word meaning "free man." Charles became very popular in France during the Middle Ages due to the fame of Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne. Charley is an alternate spelling.
Origin:English, diminutive of Ann
Description:Annie is one of the most open and optimistic, the-sun'll-come-out-tomorrow type of name, having been celebrated over the years in song (Annie Laurie), comic strip (Little Orphan Annie), folklore (Annie Oakley, born Phoebe), and film (Annie Hall). It strikes a nice old-fashioned-but-jaunty chord that still has appeal, but we do suggest that you consider putting a more formal version on her birth certificate.
Meaning:"scribe, secretary, cleric, scholar, clerk"
Description:Clark seemed to have been Gone with the Wind, but parents looking for a short, strong boy's name are now beginning to appreciate its cool combination of Gable charm with Superman power.
Description:Edgar is an Old English name historically associated with the tenth century English king known as Edgar the Peaceful. There was also a King Edgar of Scotland.
Origin:Diminutive of Andrew
Description:Although we prefer Drew to the old Raggedy Andy, Andy has overtaken Drew as a name in its own right.
Origin:Latinized form of Hugh
Description:Hugo, the Latin form of Hugh, has more heft and energy than the original -- and of course we love names that end (or begin, for that matter) with an o. This one is especially appealing because it's backed up by lots of solid history and European style.
Origin:Diminutive of Francis or Franklin
Meaning:"Frenchman or free man"
Description:A Top 10 name from the 1880s until the 1920s, Frank has fallen from favor but still has a certain warm, friendly real-guy grandpa flavor that could come back into style, like other such choices as Jake and Jack. Maybe thanks to Sinatra, it's become a new hipster favorite with such couples as Diana Krall and Elvis Costello.
Origin:Italian diminutive of Alphonso
Description:Alonzo is dashing and debonair, with a large measure of Latin flair.
Meaning:"healer; born in the morning"
Description:A short but strong biblical name with multicultural appeal, Asa is enjoying new visibility thanks to hot young actor Asa Butterfield of Hugo fame.
Origin:Latinate form of Helen, Greek
Meaning:"bright, shining light"
Description:Helena is a more delicate and dainty version of Helen, a favorite of Shakespeare, who used it in both All's Well That Ends Well and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Historically, Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great (and, supposedly, the daughter of Old King Cole), who became a fourth century saint--Evelyn Waugh wrote his only historical novel, Helena, based on her story.
Meaning:"father of multitudes"
Description:Abram was Abraham's original name in the Bible; it's more user-friendly but with a bit less gravitas. And it does offer that cool nickname Bram, as well as the friendly Abe. After some early American usage, in 1936 Abram completely disappeared for nearly forty years, until its return in the 1970s.
Description:A variation of mega popular name Emma and all of her cousins, Emmie came back to the US Top 1000 for the first time in 80 years in 2016. It's phonetically the same as more popular Emmy, but this option may avoid the award show connection. We could see it rising in future years.
Description:Lucian is a sleeker, more sophisticated version of Lucius that is climbing in tandem with other Lu-starting names.
Origin:Anglicized form of Teasagh or diminutive of Jessica
Description:Jessie has never been used as much as Jennie/Jenny, partly because it's a boys’ name as well (spelled Jesse), but it does have a friendly and unpretentious pioneer feel. In Scotland, it's found as an Anglicized form of Teasagh, itself a form of Jean, and is used as a full name. And in the rest of the world, Jessie may be short for Jessica or used on its own.
Origin:Spelling variation of Lily/ Lilian
Description:A variation of Lileas and Lilian.
Origin:Latinate feminine variation of Louis
Description:Louisa, a quaint vintage name, is an example of the idea that these days, old-style girls’ names are more fashionable when they end with an a rather than with an e, as in Julie/Julia, Diane/Diana. So for the next generation, Louisa may rise again, especially with the growing popularity of other Lou/Lu-starting names, like Lucy and Luna. Louisa reentered the US Top 1000 in 2014 after a 45 year absence.
Description:Emery is one of the newly popular Em- names that has great potential, though right now for girls more than boys: it received a boost in 2009, a year after Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn used it for one of their daughters. Emery ranks on the Top 1000 for both boys and girls, but all the way up in the Top 100 for girls and down in the 700s for boys. Many related names are also trending for baby boys, from Emerson to Emrys to Amory to Emmett.
Origin:Spanish, Latin ceremonial name
Description:A name commonly used in Spain and Italy, it refers back to the annual Roman ceremony of hanging garlands of roses on tombs.
Origin:English diminutive of Winifred
Meaning:"holy peacemaking, gentle friend"
Description:This pet form of such names as Winifred and Edwina and Gwendolyn has loads of vintage charm, a la Millie and Maisie, with a decidedly winning vibe. And it just got celebrity cred as the baby daughter of Jimmy Fallon.
Description:Ira is one of the shortest, non-biblical sounding Old Testament names, belonging to one of King David's thirty 'mighty warriors.' It was widely used in the US from the 1880s to the early 1930s (it was Number 57 on the Social Security list in 1881), but fell off completely in 1993. Although Ira is also a retirement-account acronym, it's back on the table for those seeking a short biblical name for their sons, and reentered the US Top 1000 in 2016. A musical namesake is lyricist Ira Gershwin (born Israel), a literary one is Ira Levin, and there are two prominent Iras hosting NPR radio shows..
Description:The quality of mercy makes this lovely Puritan virtue name a quiet favorite today. Although it was most popular in the late nineteenth century, Mercy is on its way to a comeback -- it rose 143 spots between 2012 and 2013, making it one of the year's fastest-rising names. Right now, it's still stylish and distinctive, a rare and wonderful combination.
Origin:Spelling variation of Emery
Description:Less popular than Emery, this name also attributes to Emory University. Both spellings of the name lean more heavily to the girls' side, but this one is not quite as unbalanced.
Description:A favorite of British novelists including Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse, Ambrose has an air of blooming well-being and upper-class erudition. It comes from the same Greek root as 'ambrosia', the food of the gods, said to confer immortality.
Origin:Diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al
Description:This ready-for-revival nickname name recalls the old Gay Nineties and bicycles-built-for-two era. In the US, Nellie is one of the most popular unique girl names, lying just beneath the Top 1000. About five times as many baby girls are named Nellie in the US today as shorter form Nell.
Origin:Diminutive of Adela
Description:One of the few ella names that's not on every other new mother's lips -- a definite plus.
Meaning:"father of light."
Description:This neglected Biblical name--it was the name of the commander of Saul's army and appears twice in the New Testament--is ready to flee Dogpatch. It was regularly used in the nineteenth century, but was pretty much demolished by the long-running hillbilly comic strip L'il Abner, which began in 1934 and ran through 1977. A more respectable namesake is Abner Doubleday, who has been credited with inventing baseball.
Origin:Spelling variation of Louella
Description:Luella is a sleeker version of the girls' name Louella that at this point is more popular than the original. Well-used in the 19th century, Luella fell off the Top 1000 in the 1950s, but has had a resurgence in recent years. Its use as a first or middle name by several edgy celebrities elevates Luella from crusty to cool, and it's stylish double-L sound and -ella ending make it a nicely revived vintage name for girls.