Names that Peaked in 1903
Description:Leo was derived from the Latin leo, meaning “lion.” Thirteen popes have carried the name, including St. Leo the Great. In Germanic languages, Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names including Leon and Leopold. In Latinate languages, Leonardo is considered a full form for Leo.
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).
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.
Meaning:"torch; shining light"
Description:Helen is a name that has connoted beauty since ancient times – Helen of Troy was the the mythological "face that launched a thousand ships," over whom the ten-year Trojan War was fought.
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.
Meaning:"from the island"
Description:A simple name occasionally heard a couple of generations back.
Origin:French from German
Meaning:"the foreigner, the guest"
Description:Depending on your cultural references, you may think of Phantom of the Opera author Gaston Leroux, or the macho villain of Beauty and the Beast. While he's hardly a role model (unless you too use antlers in all of your decorating), his name was likely chosen because it's a classic in France. It's been used there since the middle ages, partly in honor of the Frankish bishop St Gaston. It went out of style in France mid-century, but now it's having a revival, entering the Top 300 in 2017.
Description:In the Bible, Beulah is a place, not a person, applied to the land of Israel by the prophet Isaiah. The land of Beulah has sometimes been considered a reference to heaven. Beulah began to be used as a given name in England at the time of the Reformation and was used by the seventeenth century Puritans.
Description:Like Vita and Viva, one of several similar life-affirming names, this one was chosen by Matthew McConaughey and his Portuguese-born wife Camila. Vida may also be a diminutive of Davida. Australian suffragette and human rights campainer Vida Goldstein is an notable bearer of this name.
Description:Would fit right in with the trendy Colins and Owens.
Meaning:"of the garden"
Description:Hortense is actually the French feminine form of Hortensia, the name of a strong, politically active early Roman woman. Hortense began to be used in the English-speaking world in the nineteenth century. Napoleon had a stepdaughter named Hortense, it was the name of one of the main characters in the film Secrets and Lies and is also associated with novelist Hortense Calisher. As unappealing as it might be to most American parents, Hortense is now Number 155 in France (as of 2021).
Origin:Spanish and Portuguese version of Hebrew Raphaela
Meaning:"God has healed"
Description:Spell it Rafaela (Spanish), Raffaella (Italian), Rafaela (German), or Raphaela (Hebrew), this is a euphonious and lovely name with a dark-eyed, long-flowing-haired image, which is, like Gabriella and Isabella, beginning to be drawn into the American mainstream.
Description:Letha is taken from Lethe, the mythological River of Oblivion. Letha now sounds as if it's missing a first syllable.
Description:Ozzie might still be a bit Ozzie & Harriet, but it's a cut short form for Osmond, Oswald, Ozias, or even Oz.
Description:Rare and distinctive name with intimations of antiquity, also a Shakespearean character.
Origin:English and Irish
Description:The name of three hundred saints, a mustard, and your own baby boy. Coleman was off the US Top 1000 list for much of the 1960s and 1970s, but it was a mainstay before and has been for most years since. It could be an interesting way to honor a Colin or Cole.
Origin:Feminine variation of Augustus, Latin
Meaning:"the exalted one"
Description:While Augusta is the more traditional feminine form of the name, tacking on the -ina ending makes Augustina more feminine and contemporary sounding.
Description:A sleek, smooth, understated name off the grid in the US but among the Top 100 girl names in Germany.