Names that Peaked in 1934
Description:Does Fay really need that e at the end? We vote no, but modern parents disagree: The Faye spelling was used for nearly 300 girls in 2014, vaulting the name back onto the Top 1000 after a 35-year absence, nearly ten times as many babies as received the Fay spelling.
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).
Description:A classic old Norman name popular for a thousand years and favored for kings (Richard Nixon was named for Richard the Lionhearted), as well as the hoi polloi (as in every Tom, Dick and Harry), Richard was the sixth most popular US boys’ name in 1925, and was still Number 8 in 1950, but is now much less popular.
Origin:Diminutive of Richard
Description:Dick was a once-common short form of Richard; replaced by Rick or Richie, and finally by the full name itself. Rude meaning -- make that two rude meanings -- pretty much knocks this one out of consideration.
Origin:Diminutive of Elizabeth
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Combine the popularity of Betty White and Mad Men's glamorous Betty Draper Francis, with the residual sweetness of Ugly Betty's Betty Suarez, and the result is an impending return of the name. It's got presidential cred via Betty Ford and feminist history through Betty Friedan.
Origin:English from German
Description:Robert was derived from the ancient Germanic name Hrodebert, from the elements hrod, meaning "fame" and bertha, "bright." Robert was the name of three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce, who freed Scotland from English rule. The name was brought to England by the Normans.
Origin:Diminutive of Robert
Description:Bobby is the quintessential mid-century nickname, the name of the son on Mad Men and overused to the point of cliche. Though Robert is still a highly popular choice, most Roberts today are called by their full name or Rob or Robbie rather than Bob or Bobby.
Origin:Slavic or German
Description:Rarely heard, and when it is, usually attached to a witch. Historically, though, Wanda was a legendary eighth century queen of Poland, and in literature it is the central character of Ouida's eponymous novel Wanda. A musical namesake is the great Polish harpsichordist Wanda Landowska.
Meaning:"valley of the eagle; high"
Description:Arden is a gender-neutral name that's sleek and stylish but always seems to bob just below the surface of popularity, despite ticking all the boxes with its fashionable two-syllable, N-ending shape and its awesome nature-inspired meanings. In the 2021 US statistics, 41 percent of the babies named Arden were boys to 59 percent girls.
Origin:English, diminutive of Elizabeth
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Through all the years when Betty, Betsy, Beth, Liz, and Lizzie were the Elizabethan nicknames of choice, the bubblier Libby was set aside, but today it may be the most modern of all—it has already made a strong comeback in England and Wales, where it ranks Number 139.
Origin:Welsh, variant of Mervyn
Description:Marvin has been neglected for so long that it's hard to believe that it has windswept Welsh roots. It also has some strong namesakes going for it -- singer Marvin Gaye, composer Marvin Hamlisch and boxer Marvin Hagler. It's the real name of both Neil Simon and Meatloaf. And let's not forget mention Marvin Gardens on Monopoly.
Meaning:"woven with a double thread"
Description:Creative name largely associated with choreographer Twyla Tharp, it also has a pleasant tie to the word twilight.
Description:Arlen is a surname long used as a first name: It ranked on the US Top 1000 from the late 1920s until the late 1960s. Originally, Arlen was a variation of Harlan which came from Harland, a place-name which means "hare land" – a place with lots of rabbits. The name today is occasionally used for both genders, boys twice as often as girls. That may increase with the fashion for two-syllable n-ending boys' names.
Description:Donald has been used for centuries in Scotland, where the Macdonald clan is one of the most ancient and where there have been six early Scottish kings by that name. Donald was a Top 20 name throughout most of the early twentieth century. But first there was the quacking Donald Duck, introduced in 1934, to affect its image, and then there was The Donald Trump, leaving it drained of much baby appeal. Trump's surprising run to the presidency didn't save Donald's decline on the baby name charts; it fell 47 spots between 2015 and 2016, from 441 to 488, and is now a less popular name than it's been since records have been kept.
Description:While Arla has a literal meaning in Swedish, its roots as a name are probably more closely related to such names as Arlene or Orla. Arla is among the girls' Top 1000 names in the UK.
Origin:English, diminutive of Robert
Description:Kids love Bob the Builder, but do they want to be Bob the Builder? Bob and Bobby have been out of style since the 1960s, but as vintage nickname-names -- Fred, Archie -- come back into vogue, Bob may tag along. Charlie Sheen used it for one of his twin sons.
Description:This old-fashioned name looks like it could be on the edge of a revival, following in the footsteps of Alden and Auden.
Description:Lowell is an upstanding and somewhat conservative name that calls to mind the genteel patrician families of nineteenth century New England, such as the one poet Robert Lowell was born into. Two other Lowell-surnamed poets are Amy and James Russell.
Origin:French variation of Joanna
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:A Top 100 name from the 1930s all the way through the 1950s, it's now firmly in Mom -- or Grandma -- land and supplanted for babies by Joanna.....or even great-grandmother Josephine. In its heyday, it had a host of variations, including JoAnn and Jo-Anne.
Origin:Diminutive of Donald, Scottish
Description:Short form of Donald -- or more stylishly, Donahue or Donovan -- that's acquired a new sixties-era suaveness thanks to Mad Man Don Draper. The name also carries a Sopranos or Godfather-style double entendre.