Names that Peaked in 1897

  1. Hazel
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "the hazelnut tree"
    • Description:

      Hazel has a pleasantly hazy, brownish-green-eyed, old-fashioned image that more and more parents are choosing to share. Former Old Lady name Hazel reentered the popularity lists in 1998 and now is near the top of the charts.
  2. Arthur
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      " bear"
    • 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.
  3. William
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      William is one of the most enduring of classic names for boys. It's also among the most popular boys' names, as American parents see it as being ideally conservative yet contemporary, and hands-down the most popular baby name beginning with W of all time.
  4. Elsie
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Elizabeth via its Scottish variation, Elspeth
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Elsie is a sweet vintage nickname-name turned modern star. After a 30-year hiatus, Elsie started climbing the US popularity list 20 years ago and is still headed for the top.
  5. George
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "farmer"
    • 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.
  6. Anna
    • Origin:

      Variation of Hannah, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "grace"
    • Description:

      Anna has become the dominant form of the Ann family, offering a touch of the international to English speakers and a bit more style than the oversimplified Ann or Anne.
  7. John
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      John reigned as the most popular of all boys' Christian names for 400 years, from the time the first Crusaders carried it back to Britain until the 1950s. Then American baby namers finally seemed to tire of this straight-arrow, almost anonymous John Doe of names, replacing it with fancier forms like Jonathan and the imported Sean and Ian.
  8. Percy
    • Origin:

      French surname from place name Perci-en-Auge
    • Description:

      Percy is an adorable old name that is finally shedding its pampered Little Lord Fauntleroy image in this new era of boys with soft yet traditionally male names like Jasper and Elijah. Originating as an aristocratic Norman name, Percy became fairly widespread in England--and to some extent in the US--as an offshoot of the fame of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
  9. Alma
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "nurturing, soul"
    • Description:

      Alma is a somewhat solemn, soulful name that had a burst of popularity a century ago, then faded into the flowered wallpaper, and is now finding its footing once more.
  10. Mary
    • 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).
  11. Basil
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "royal"
    • Description:

      Although Greek in origin--in the fourth century, a bishop by that name established the principles of the Greek Orthodox Church--Basil for years took on the aura of aquiline-nosed upper-class Britishness of Sherlock Holmes portrayer Basil Rathbone, then spiced with the fragrant aroma of the herb that entered with the Pesto generation.
  12. Clarence
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "bright"
    • 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.
  13. Elia
    • Origin:

      Italian variation of Elijah, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah is God"
    • Description:

      Though the most famous Elia, screenwriter Kazan, was male, this name sounds like a spin on many popular girls' names, from Ella to Ellie to Isla and Leah. While the Italian pronunciation has the middle syllable as LEE, making it closer to the original Elijah would give the middle syllable a long I sound -- eh-LYE-ah.
  14. Ellery
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "descendant of Hilary"
    • Description:

      Ellery is a rhythmic three-syllable boy's name that is familiar and yet rarely used--and just waiting to be discovered. It's long been identified with Ellery Queen--which was both the pen name of two cousins, Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, and the detective they created.
  15. Zeta
    • Origin:

      Variation of Zita or Greek letter name
    • Description:

      The sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, popularized by Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones -- Zeta was her grandmother's first name. Zeta can also refer to the letter Z, the last in the Roman alphabet, or be a spelling variation of Zita, a name with several possible origins and meanings.
  16. Marguerite
    • Origin:

      French variation of Margaret; also a flower name
    • Meaning:

      "pearl; daisy"
    • Description:

      Marguerite is a classic French name with a remnant of old-fashioned Gallic charm; and is also a variety of daisy. Chic again in Paris, it's definitely ripe for revival here.
  17. Fae
    • Origin:

      Spelling variation of Faye
    • Description:

      Now that Faye is back on the Top 1000 after a decades-long absence, its spelling variations are being revived as well. Fae was given to nearly as many baby girls last year as Fay and may be especially attractive as a middle name option.
  18. Arno
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "eagle"
    • Description:

      Subtract the last two letters of Arnold, and you're left with a much more modern-sounding name. Arno is also the name of the main river in Florence, upon which sits the famed Ponte Vecchio. The Italian river name means "flowing water".
  19. Raoul
    • Origin:

      French variation of Ralph
    • Meaning:

      "wolf-counsel"
    • Description:

      Raoul, with its unique three-vowel middle, rolls off the tongue in an appealing way. Raoul is one of the French names that sounds infinitely more romantic and attractive than the somewhat harsh English version Ralph.
  20. Alto
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "high"
    • Description:

      With its musical allusions, a harmonious possibility.