Names that Peaked in 1881

  1. Dan
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God is my judge"
    • Description:

      Often stands alone in Israel, but rarely here.
  2. Elihu
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah is God"
    • Description:

      Rarely used in the last two centuries, but might be worth dusting off and holding up to the light.
  3. Ala
    • Origin:

      Igbo, Polish, diminutive of Alicja
    • Meaning:

      "nobility"
    • Description:

      Ala is the Igbo earth goddess whose symbol is the crescent moon. In a very different vein, Ala can be a diminutive for Alicja or Alexandra or really any other name with an A at both ends and an L in the middle. Ala is also an Arabic name meaning "excellence, supremacy"; could be confused as a homonym for Allah, or as part of a phrase like a la mode.
  4. Alabama
    • Origin:

      Place-name; Choctaw
    • Meaning:

      "vegetation gatherers"
    • Description:

      Alabama is a hot southern place-name, picking up from Georgia and Savannah. This is not a geographical name come lately, though--there have been girls named Alabama dating back well over a century.
  5. Waldo
    • Origin:

      German, pet form of names such as Waldemar
    • Meaning:

      "to rule"
    • Description:

      Its jaunty o-ending makes this name more appealing than most of its Germanic brothers, and we hope we're beyond the constant response to his name being "Where's Waldo?" The weighty reputation of writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson adds a measure of backbone to the name.
  6. Presley
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "priest's meadow"
    • Description:

      More universal than Elvis...and more conventionally attractive, too. Cindy Crawford used it for her son, though it's on the rise mainly for girls. The last time Presley ranked in the Top 1000 for boys was 1903, 120 years ago. Today, it's used for girls 14 times as often as for boys, mainly because of the -ley ending.
  7. Nana
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Anna and Nancy; also Hawaiian
    • Meaning:

      "spring"
    • Description:

      To most English speakers, Nana is the dog in Peter Pan, the daughter played by Emma Stone in Crazy Stupid Love, and another name for Grandma.
  8. Dixon
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "son of Dick"
    • Description:

      A relatively common surname, Dixon would be an inventive way to honor an ancestral Richard or Dick, the X form a lot livelier than the Dickson spelling, just as Dix is a more modern short form than Dick; it would be right at home alongside Dax and Jax.
  9. Pryor
    • Origin:

      English surname
    • Meaning:

      "head of the monastery, prior"
    • Description:

      Pryor is for those in search of an unusual occupational name...or in memory of comedian Richard.
  10. Ole
    • Orrin
      • Lillie
        • Origin:

          Spelling variation of Lily/ Lilian
        • Description:

          A variation of Lileas and Lilian.
      • Abbie
        • Origin:

          Diminutive of Abigail
        • Meaning:

          "my father is joyful"
        • Description:

          Abbie is a gently old-fashioned nickname name that owes its rising popularity to Top 10 Abigail. Abby may be the more usual spelling today.
      • Brown
        • Origin:

          Color and surname
        • Description:

          Most color names, like Scarlet and Violet, are definitely female, but not this one. Brown is as rich and warm as the tone it denotes, though we must admit the Italian version Bruno has more spark and substance.
      • Gerrit
        • Origin:

          Low German variation of Gerhard
        • Description:

          An undiscovered cousin of Garrett and Gerard. Gerrit has some merit, especially for its arty credentials as the name of several Old Master painters.
      • Rilla
        • Origin:

          German
        • Meaning:

          "small brook"
        • Description:

          Rilla dropped out of the US Top 1000 in 1915, but it's starting to feel like an intriguing possibility again in this age of short, sweet, a-ending names for girls. It is traditionally a short form for names ending in -rilla, like Marilla from the Anne of Green Gables books (Anne's youngest daughter is Bertha Marilla, called Rilla for short). Rilla may also derive from the German word Rille, meaning "brook; stream".
      • Primus
        • Origin:

          Latin
        • Meaning:

          "first"
        • Description:

          The revival of long-dormant Roman names would put this back in the lexicon if it wasn't so connected to a telecommunications network.
      • Katharina
        • Origin:

          German variation of Katherine, Greek
        • Meaning:

          "pure"
        • Description:

          Katharina is an attractive form of Katherine and a great way to update a classic. But English speakers may want to choose the Katerina or Katarina spelling to avoid pronunciation confusion.
      • Fannie
        • Origin:

          Spelling variation of Fanny, diminutive of Frances
        • Meaning:

          "from France; free man"
        • Description:

          It's hard to believe, via a 21st-century sensibility, that Fannie was ever a Top 50 name. But Fannie was even more popular than Fanny in its late 19th-century heyday, and stuck around much longer, staying on the Top 1000 until the 1960s while Fanny fell off in 1940. Today, however, Fannie sounds antiquated at best, and rude at worst.
      • Alla
        • Origin:

          Galician diminutive of Olalla, or Russian, Ukrainian Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, or Danish
        • Meaning:

          "sweetly speaking"
        • Description:

          A short form of Alexandra and Alice used everywhere from Russia to Spain. A fresh alternative to Allie.