Names that Peaked in 1972
Meaning:"who is like God?"
Description:Michael was derived from the name Mikha’el, which comes from the rhetorical question mī kā’ēl, meaning "who is like God?" in Hebrew. In the Bible, Michael is the archangel who led the other angels to victory in a war against Satan, one of only two archangels (the other is Gabriel) recognized by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. The widespread popularity of Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan were major contributors to its long-running success.
Origin:Greek and Latin
Meaning:"bearer of Christ"
Description:Christopher derived from the Greek Christophoros, which is composed of the elements Christos, referring to Christ, and phero, meaning “to bear.” The name was originally used figuratively, to represent the bearing of Christ in one’s heart. Later it became used to honor Saint Christopher, a third century martyr who became the protective saint of travelers, reflecting the legend of Christopher being the giant who carried the Christ Child over a river.
Origin:Cornish variation of Welsh Guinevere
Meaning:"white shadow, white wave"
Description:Jennifer is the Cornish variation of Guinevere, which ultimately derived from the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar. It has been in use in the English-speaking world since the 18th century but came to prominence in the 20th. Playwright George Bernard Shaw chose Jennifer for the name of his leading lady in his play The Doctor’s Dilemma, which drew more attention to the name.
Meaning:"strong, virtuous, and honorable"
Description:The origins of the name Brian are not entirely clear, but it is suspected that it evolved from an Old Celtic word related to nobility. In Ireland the name is associated with Brian Boru, the most famous of all Irish warrior-kings, credited with driving the Vikings out of Ireland. Bryan is a common alternative spelling.
Origin:French variation of Michael
Meaning:"who is like God"
Description:Michelle is the feminine form of Michel, the French variation of Michael. Michael was derived from the Hebrew name Mihka’el, meaning “who is like God.” The alternate spelling Michele, with one “L,” was the original version of the name. Michelle appeared as a later Anglicization in the 20th century.
Description:Gone with the Wind inspired a generation of girls named Melanie, though it looks as though Scarlett will triumph in the end.
Description:Despite all the "hanging," "dangling," and "pregnant" chad jokes of the 2000 election, this saint's name and remnant of the Brad-Tad era didn't get a boost in popularity. But Chad still holds some surfer-boy appeal for a number of modern parents.
Origin:Irish variation of John
Description:Sean, after a long reign as one of the top Irish boys' names in the US, has now slipped as parents look to fresher Irish choices such as Liam and Aidan. In Ireland, Sean is still highly popular, but variation Senan, an Anglicized spelling of diminutive Seanan, is also stylish in Ireland. While Sean is the Irish form of John, Seanan and Senan may be thought of either as Sean diminutives or relatives of the Latin word "senator".
Meaning:"people of victory"
Description:Nicola, an elegant Latinate feminization of Nicholas, has long been standard issue for English girls but for some reason has never voyaged across the Atlantic, which we consider a pity, especially as Nicole's standing has waned.
Description:Pronounced LOOSE, this name that refers to the Virgin Mary—"Our Lady of Light"—is one of the most widely used Spanish name for girls. Its sleekness and stylish final z gives it a modern appeal, like sister name Lux. Nicknames and variations include Chitta, Lucecita, Lucelida, Lucelita, Lucha, Lucida, Lucila, Lusa, and Luzana.
Origin:English, meaning unknown
Description:Associated for half a century with Marlon Brando, who inherited the French-inflected name from his father, Marlon has been especially well used by African-Americans, including the Jackson and Wayans families. Though heard much less now than it was in the seventies, this could change as parents look to the names of old Hollywood stars.
Origin:Diminutive of Christina et al
Description:Tina, despite its petite and tinkly image, is apt these days to be replaced by the more elegant originals, Christina and Martina.It does have some strong namesakes, though, in Tina Turner (born Anna Mae), Tina Brown (born Christina), Tina Fey (born Elizabeth), and photographer Tina Barney (born Tina).
Meaning:"old and wise"
Description:The name of the longest river in the British Isles rose to the US Top 25 for girls in the 1970s and the Top 100 for boys, but has fallen off the Top 1000 for both genders. At the latest count, the name Shannon was given to about 200 babies in the US, about a third of those boys. As a favorite Irish name, Shannon has now been supplanted by newcomers such as Saoirse and Seanan.
Description:For years there was only one Cher, and then along came the charming heroine of the movie "Clueless." The world now officially has enough Chers in it.
Description:Yolanda conjures up visions of midcentury films like "Yolanda and the Thief," complete with gauzy veils, harem pants, and invisible navels. Iolanthe, with the first syllable pronounced the same as in Yolanda, is a softer version, but most modern parents would opt for the English Violet.
Origin:Diminutive of Elizabeth
Description:Buffy was a one-time sorority girl with a roommate named Muffy, then a fearless vampire slayer, though still basically fluffy. You might think of Buffy as the feminine version of Chip or Bud -- an all-purpose nickname now buried in a mid-century time capsule.
Origin:Diminutive of Nicola, Nicole, Nicolette
Meaning:"people of victory"
Description:Once the teenaged babysitter, now more likely to be the mom who hires her. The names many variations include Nickee, Nickie, Nickey, Nicky, Niki, Nikkee, Nikkey, Nikki, Nikkie, Nikky, and Niky.
Origin:Spanish from Latin
Description:Would be more usable if it wasn't so strongly associated with hairdresser Sassoon and his many hair products.