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Names that Peaked in 1917

  1. JosephineHeart
    • Origin:

      French feminine variation of Joseph
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah increases"
    • Description:

      Josephine, with its large measure of class and character and a gently offbeat quality, has been on a gentle uphill climb in the US for over 30 years, now ranking in the Top 100. With an intriguing number of vivacious nicknames, from Jo to Josie to Fifi to Posy, Josephine is a Nameberry favorite.
  2. WilliamHeart
    • 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.
  3. CasimirHeart
    • Origin:

      Polish, Slavic
    • Meaning:

      "destroyer of peace"
    • Description:

      Casimir, a traditional name of Polish kings, could do quite well these days as we see the rise of Caspian, Cassius, Castiel, et. al. Like Leopold and Laszlo, Casimir is strong and worth considering if you've got an adventurous streak — and bet your son will too. An alternative commonly cited meaning that modern parents might prefer is "proclaimer of peace". The traditional Polish spelling of the name is Kazimir.
  4. WinifredHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "blessed peacemaking"
    • Description:

      One of the few remaining unrestored vintage gems, with a choice of two winning nicknames--the girlish Winnie and the tomboyish Freddie--as well as the slight stretch Freda. Winifred, the name of a legendary Welsh saint, was a Top 200 name into the mid-1920's.
  5. JohnHeart
    • 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.
  6. CatherineHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "pure"
    • Description:

      Catherine is one of the oldest and most consistently well-used girls’ names, with endless variations and nicknames. The Catherine form feels more gently old-fashioned and feminine than the more popular K versions. Most stylish nickname for Catherine right now: Kate...or Cate, a la Blanchett.
  7. MaryHeart
    • 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).
  8. MiriamHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew or Egyptian
    • Meaning:

      "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
    • Description:

      The oldest-known form of Mary, serious and solemn Miriam has been a particular favorite of observant Jewish parents. But we can see it extending beyond that sphere into the next wave of Old Testament names post-Rachel, Rebecca, Sarah, Hannah, and Leah. Miriam is currently the Number 1 girls' name in Israel.
  9. EdwardHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "wealthy guardian"
    • Description:

      Unlike perennials William, John and James, Edward is a classic that moves in and out of fashion. This royal Anglo-Saxon standard has benefited in recent years from the popularity of the hot hero of the vampire sensation Twilight — Edward Cullen — who has given his name a new infusion of cool.
  10. JosephHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah increases"
    • Description:

      Joseph evolved from the Hebrew name Yosef, which was derived from the verb yasaf, meaning "to increase." In the Old Testament, Joseph is the 11th and favorite son of Jacob and Rachel; in the New Testament, it is the name of the carpenter husband of the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ. Joe and Joey are common nicknames for Joseph, and Josephine is the feminine form.
  11. RalphHeart
    • Origin:

      English from German
    • Meaning:

      "wolf-counsel"
    • Description:

      Ralph has two diametrically different images: there's the suave Ralph Fiennes-type Brit (often pronounced Rafe), and then there's the Jackie Gleason blue-collar, bowling blowhard Ralph Kramden bus driver. It's all in the eye of the beholder, though its hip factor did rise when it was chosen for his son by cool U.K. actor Matthew Macfadyen.
  12. IoneHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "violet flower"
    • Description:

      This unusual Greek flower and color name has gained considerable recent attention via actress Ione Skye, who is the daughter of sixties folksinger Donovan.
  13. HelenHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • 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.
  14. FlorianHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "flowering"
    • Description:

      If Flora and Florence have returned full force, Florian, with its trendy Latinate ending, could also have a chance. Popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland -- he was the venerated patron saint of those in danger from water and of firefighters -- might sound a tad feminine and floral to English speakers. But as a middle name, Florian could be a great way to honor grandma Florence (or any other flower name).
  15. RowenaHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "white spear or famous friend"
    • Description:

      A fabled storybook name via the heroine of Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe (1819), which featured a heroine called Rowena of Hargottstanstede, and also a Harry Potter name, as Rowena Ravenclaw, founder of one of the Hogwarts houses.. Rowena has some old-fashioned charm, though most modern parents seem to prefer Rowen. Pronunciation, however, is NOT like Rowen with an a at the end, but with a long e and an emphasis on the middle syllable.. She was on the popularity list until 1963, several years in the Top 500.
  16. WilfredHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "desires peace"
    • Description:

      Wilfred is one of those Old Man Names that still sounds fusty in the US but is fashionable in the UK. It comes with readymade short forms Will or Fred and might make an adventurous alternative to the ubiquitous William. The central character of Walter Scott's Ivanhoe is the knight Wilfred of Ivanhoe. Wilfred Owens was a well-known British poet.
  17. OlympiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "from Mount Olympus"
    • Description:

      With its relation to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, and to the Olympic games, this name has an athletic, goddess-like aura, making it the perfect Olivia substitute.
  18. StanleyHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "near the stony clearing"
    • Description:

      Although Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire personified brute force, most Stanleys have been portrayed as meek milquetoasts. It could be a Sydney-like girls' choice.-Bette Davis once played a character named Stanley, and it was the name of President Obama's mother (named for her father)--or possibly could be revived down the line a la Walter and Arthur.
  19. MargueriteHeart
    • 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.
  20. ElviraHeart
    • Origin:

      Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "white, fair"
    • Description:

      Before there was the campy TV Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Elvira was the long-suffering wife of Don Juan, and remnants of those negative, gothic images still cling to it, though they are fading.

      Other references include the romantic film Elvira Madigan, based on a real person, and the main ghostly character in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, as well as appearances in several operas.