Names that Peaked in 1923

  1. 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.
  2. Edward
    • 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Dorothy
    • Origin:

      English variation of Greek Dorothea
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      In the 1930s, Dorothy left Kansas and landed in the Land of Oz; by the '80s she had become a Golden Girl, living in Miami with roommates Blanche and Rose, giving her a decidedly older image. But parents today seeking a quiet classic are bringing Dorothy back—she reentered the Top 1000 in 2011 after almost completely disappearing.
  5. Maxine
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "greatest"
    • Description:

      With the success of all names Max, from Max itself to Maxwell to Maxfield to Maximilian, it's just possible that Maxine could be lured away from her mah-jongg game at the clubhouse and into the nursery. She's already been chosen by hip musician Nick Hexum for his daughter, sister to Echo.
  6. Leonard
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "brave lion"
    • Description:

      Leonard is the name of several saints, including one who is the patron saint of childhood, and another medieval saint who's the patron of prisoners--known for freeing prisoners he deemed worthy of God. Popular from 1900 to 1930, Leonard is perhaps more notable for those who dropped the name when they entered show biz than those who kept it: former Leonards include Roy Rogers and Tony Randall. Two musical Leonards did keep their names though--composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein and poet-singer Leonard Cohen. Leonard Woolf was the husband and publisher of great English novellist Virginia Woolf. These days, modern parents tend to prefer Leo or the romantic Italian Leonardo, especially since Leonard does not get pronounced with the trendy "Leo" sound.
  7. Wallace
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "foreigner, stranger"
    • Description:

      Wallace is so square could almost be ripe for a turnaround, especially with the hipness imparted by the British Claymation series Wallace & Gromit. And Wally makes an adorable Leave it to Beaver retro-style nickname.
  8. Marjorie
    • Origin:

      Scottish variation of Margery, diminutive of Margaret
    • Meaning:

      "pearl"
    • Description:

      Scottish Marjorie and her English twin Margery were early twentieth century favorites that date back to medieval times, when it was popular among the royals. They were at their height in the 1920s, when they were seen as more lively versions of the old standard. Marjorie was always the preferred spelling, in the Top 25 from 1920 to 1927.
  9. Eris
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "strife, discord"
    • Description:

      Eris was the goddess of strife and discord, turned fairy tale and then popular culture figure Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. Ironic, as her name sounds so much like that of Eros, the god of love.
  10. Carmela
    • Origin:

      Italian and Spanish variation of Carmel
    • Meaning:

      "garden"
    • Description:

      It will be a long time before Carmela shakes the image of TV's Sopranos wife.
  11. Maryjane
    • Origin:

      English, combination of Mary and Jane
    • Meaning:

      "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved + god is gracious"
    • Description:

      Mary was such a common name for so long that it sprouted a whole family of chimeric name splices: Maryann, Marybeth, Mary-Lousie, ad infinitum. Spiderman's Mary Jane Watson and the common nickname for marijuana have helped keep this one especially familiar to the American ear.
  12. Kiyoshi
    • Cruz
      • Origin:

        Spanish
      • Meaning:

        "cross"
      • Description:

        Cruz might be a sister for Concepcion and Corazon, although its masculine side was emphasized when the high profile David Beckhams chose it for their son.
    • Bette
      • Origin:

        Diminutive of Elizabeth
      • Description:

        Pronounced a la Bette (Betty) Davis or Bette (Bet) Midler, a twentieth-century relic. Though if the equally vintage Betty comes back, Bette may be close behind.
    • Marybelle
      • Origin:

        English, combination of Mary and Belle
      • Meaning:

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

        Variant of Maribel or Maribelle
    • Marylouise
      • Origin:

        English, combination of Mary and Louisa
      • Meaning:

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

        Homely compound name which may be written as one word, two words (Mary Louise), or hyphenated (Mary-Louise).
    • Clarine
      • Fernand
        • Waneta
          • Origin:

            American, meaning unknown
          • Description:

            Rumors abound about Waneta, which is a Canadian place name. Some say it's an Anglicization of Juanita, while others claim it's a Native American name. Interestingly, Waneta is a common name among the American Amish.
        • Elease