Names that Peaked in 1941

  1. James
    • Origin:

      English variation of Jacob, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      James is one of the classic Anglo-Saxon names, a stalwart through the ages that is more popular—and yes, stylish—than ever today. It recently came out Number 1 in a poll of America's favorite boys' baby names, and is the most common male name, counting people of all ages, in the US.
  2. Thomas
    • Origin:

      Aramaic
    • Meaning:

      "twin"
    • Description:

      A solid classic with plenty of history, Thomas strikes the balance between strength and gentleness. A favorite in the UK, a staple in France, and Australia, and never absent from the US Top 100, Thomas feels like a safe bet and a name that fits into any era.
  3. Bonnie
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "beautiful, cheerful"
    • Description:

      Bonnie is an adorable nickname name, heading back up the popularity list after a 50-year nap. A Top 100 girls' name throughout the rest of the English-speaking world, Americans are later to jump on the Bonnie bandwagon but now it's trending here too.
  4. 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).
  5. Philip
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "lover of horses"
    • Description:

      Philip, the name of one of the 12 apostles, is still favored by parents in search of a solid boys' classic that is less neutral than Robert or John and more distinctive than Daniel or Matthew and has many historic, royal ties.
  6. Richard
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "dominant ruler"
    • 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.
  7. Winston
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "wine's town"
    • Description:

      Long associated with the Churchill family and common in the West Indies, the distinguished Winston has tended to be neglected here. The exception was during the World War II period, when Winston Churchill was a towering figure and his name reached Number 234. It's now enjoying something of a renaissance.
  8. Patricia
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "noble, patrician"
    • Description:

      Patricia still sounds patrician, though its scores of nicknames definitely don't. Wildly popular from the forties (alternately Number 3 and 4 throughout the decade) to the sixties, Patricia has been fading ever since. But a comeback in its full form is definitely conceivable—just look at Penelope.
  9. Barbara
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "foreign woman"
    • Description:

      Barbara is back! Among the fastest-rising names of 2023, Barbara came back from oblivion at the very bottom of the Top 1000, gaining nearly 100 places on the popularity list.
  10. Carol
    • Origin:

      English, feminine variation of Charles
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      A Caroline abbreviation that was wildly popular with Mom's generation...or Grandma's. At one time it was a name for baby girls born at Christmas. because of its association with Christmas carols.
  11. Meredith
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "great chief"
    • Description:

      Meredith has been considered primarily a girl's name since the fifties, before which it was more commonly used for boys. Comic actor Jay Mohr recently named his son Meredith, which might help it swing back into the blue column. The traditional Welsh pronunciation puts the stress on the middle syllable, making Red a cool nickname possibility.
  12. Kay
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Katherine
    • Description:

      Kay, a cigarette-smoking, nightclubbing name of the 1930's, could be ready for a comeback along with cousins May/Mae and Ray/Rae.
  13. Errol
    • Origin:

      Scottish, spelling variation of Earl
    • Description:

      Errol was a swashbuckling name in the Errol Flynn era, which still has a trace of jazz cool.m thanks to jazz pianist Erroll Garner.
  14. Ronald
    • Origin:

      Norse
    • Meaning:

      "ruler's counselor"
    • Description:

      To many people, Ronald is off playing shuffleboard with Donald, though others aren't swayed by its old man image. In the Top 10 in the late 1930s through the mid-1940s, the name later came to be strongly associated with President Reagan, along with his nicknames, Ron and Ronnie—as well as with the McDonald franchise mascot. A more youthful bearer is the likable character Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter series. In the early days of Hollywood, Ronald Colman was a dashing matinee idol.
  15. Lorna
    • Origin:

      English literary name
    • Description:

      One of those names like Pamela, Vanessa and Wendy, Lorna was invented for a particular literary character--the protagonist of the 1869 novel Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore--and then perpetuated as the name of a shortbread cookie. The author claimed to have based it on the Scottish place-name, Lorn. In baby name limbo for quite some time, it was chosen by Judy Garland for her younger daughter, Lorna Luft. Lorna Simpson is an important contemporary American artist.
  16. Lynn
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "lake"
    • Description:

      Long gone to the girls.
  17. Jerry
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Gerald or Jerome, German or Greek
    • Meaning:

      "ruler with the spear or sacred name"
    • Description:

      Jerry is one of those short forms that, like Mike and Debbie, rose to popularity on the coattails of their formal versions. The equivalents today are nickname names like Ellie and Theo.
  18. Patsy
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Patricia
    • Meaning:

      "noble, patrician"
    • Description:

      This sassy, spunky name was used for the mostly Irish jump-roping pigtailed girls of the thirties and forties -- and some Irish and Italian boys as well. Its most noted bearer was iconic country music singer Patsy Cline (born Virginia), and was sighted most recently in the Ab Fab movie. After reaching Number 52 in the late thirties, it dropped off the list completely in 1970--and we're not anticipating a return.
  19. Hedy
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Hedwig
    • Description:

      Linked to one of the great screen beauties, but has never appealed much to Americans.
  20. Jerry
    • Origin:

      Short feminine form of Gerald or Jerome, German or Greek
    • Meaning:

      "ruler with the spear or sacred name"
    • Description:

      The J spelling of this nickname name has always skewed more masculine, perhaps because it relates directly to Jerome but not to Geraldine. But supermodel Jerry Hall, whose full name is Jerry and who has a twin sister named Terry, pulls it off in glamorous style.