Names that Peaked in 1888
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 stylish parents, inspired perhaps by the new generation of royals. Arthur has led the list of possible names for the young British princes, chosen as a middle name for Prince Louis, son of William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales.
Meaning:"he has heard; flat-nosed"
Description:Simon is pure and simple (not in the nursery rhyme sense), and an appealingly genuine Old and New Testament name that's not overused – making Simon a stylish choice. In the Bible, Simon was the second son of Jacob and Leah and the original name of Saint Peter, as well as the name of several New Testament figures. Historically, Simon Bolivar is known as The Liberator of Latin America.
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Elizabeth is derived from the Hebrew name Elisheva, formed by the components ’el, meaning "God," and shava’, "oath." In the Bible, Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, and two of England's most notable queens have been Elizabeth I and II. Another memorable bearer was Elizabeth Taylor—who hated to be called Liz.
Meaning:"son of Harry"
Description:Harrison, a name made viable by Harrison Ford, is increasingly popular with parents who want an H name that's more formal than Harry or Hank but doesn't veer into the stiff Huntington-Harrington territory.
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.
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: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: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).
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.
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:Diminutive of Augustus, Angus, Gustave, Augustin, Augusten, Augustine, August
Description:Gus is a homey grandpa nickname name that can work as a short form for any of the above or stand on its own as a cutting-edge replacement for Max and Jake--though it was off the Top 1000 from 1978 until 2016, when it squeaked in at Number 999.
Origin:Diminutive of Frances
Meaning:"from France; free man"
Description:Vintage nickname name, with a down-to-earth country feel. This renewed interest placed Frankie back in the US Top 1000 in 2015 after a 41-year hiatus. For girls, it's a popular choice in England and Wales, Australia, and New Zealand. Drew Barrymore, who helped popularize and glamorize boyish names for girls, has a daughter named Frankie. On TV's Better Things, Pamela Adlon's middle daughter is named Frankie (sister to Max and Duke, both girls).
Description:Fairly popular a hundred years ago but out of sight now, the quirky Roscoe deserves a place on every adventurous baby-namer's long list. It joins Rufus, Roman, Remy, Romulus, and Ray as one of the R names that sound fresh again after too many years of Robert, Richard, and Ronald.
Description:Hart could be the hero of a romantic novel, but on the other hand, it's short, straightforward, and strong sounding. The most famous bearer of the name was tragic poet Hart (born Harold) Crane, but it also has musical cred via Lorenz Hart, of the classic Rodgers & Hart songwriting duo and a literary tie to playwright Moss Hart.
Origin:German, diminutive of Friedrich or Frederick
Description:Since female cousins Mitzi and Fritzi have entered the realm of possibilities, there's a chance that Cousin Fritz could as well. Fritz is the name of several notables, from early German-born film director Lang to early footballer Fritz (born Frederick) Pollard, the first African-American to play in the Rose Bowl in 1916.
Description:The name of the guardian angel in It's a Wonderful Life is rarely heard the rest of the year because of its studious, near-nerdy image, but this could change in the current naming climate.
Description:Godfrey was very popular in the Middle Ages, but today you're more likely to hear it as a surname than a first name. It has a solid, old-man charm, but a couple of possible deal-breakers: the first syllable being God, and no obvious nickname. Goff, maybe? For a different feel, we also like the Italian artist's version Giotto.
Origin:Hebrew, diminutive of Ebenezer
Meaning:"stone of help"
Description:Though most parents would shy away from Ebenezer, short form Eben is affable and creative and perfectly able to stand alone; nothing Scroogish about it. This also makes a fresh new spin on the very popular Ethan or Evan.
Description:Ever since the enormous German cannon was dubbed by Allied soldiers "Big Bertha" in World War I, this name hasn't worked for a sweet little baby girl. But this was not always so. Hard as it might be to imagine now, Bertha was a Top 100 name until the 1930s, and in the 1880s was the seventh most popular name in the land--the equal of Joseph.
Origin:Scandinavian variation of Nicholas
Meaning:"people of victory"
Description:Like Lars, Sven, Niels, and Nels, an unjustly neglected straightforward Scandinavian name. Surname Nilsson or the anglicized Nelson derives from Nils.