Names that Peaked in 1942
Origin:English variation of Jacob, Hebrew
Description:James is an English derivation of the Hebrew name Jacob. James is biblical (the name of two apostles in the New Testament), royal (kings of both England and Scotland), presidential (with more U.S. Chief Executives named James (six) than any other name), and it is shared by countless great writers and entertainers.
Description:Thomas is the Greek variation of the Aramaic name Ta’oma’. It came about because there were too many apostles named Judas; Jesus renamed one Thomas—meaning "twin"—to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and the Judas also known as Thaddeus. At first, it was used only for priests.
Description:Lawrence has survived from Roman times, when Laurentium was a city noted for its laurel trees (the laurel is a symbol of wisdom and achievement). It was in the Top 50 from the 1890s through the 1950s and the Top 100 for decades longer, always among the most popular boys' names starting with L, but Lawrence is now used less for babies than Landon or Lorenzo. Nickname Lauro perks it up while Larry feels terminally dated. The Laurence spelling was popularized by Sir Laurence Olivier and is also attached to fellow actor Laurence Fishburne.
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).
Origin:Scottish or Irish
Description:In Ireland and Scotland, Mac and Mc mean "son of"; here, Mac is a generic fella, or a short form cooler than either Matt or Max. Mac can be a nickname of any longer Mac or Mc starting name such as McCoy or Macalister. If you want to make it feel more complete, you can always spell it Mack.
Meaning:"supple horse or pretty rose"
Description:Rosalind has a distinguished literary history – used and popularized by Edmund Spenser and Shakespeare via one of his most charming heroines, in As You Like It. Along with a bouquet of other Rose names, Rosalind might be ready for a comeback.
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.
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.
Description:If you can get the lively young Barbara Bush to replace her grandmother's white-haired image, you might discover a rhythmic classic with an interesting history. Barbara is undoubtedly among the most classic girl names starting with B.
Description:Douglas, and more particularly its nickname, Doug, had a real romantic swagger in the 1950s and 1960s dating back to swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks, but today is more likely to conjure up your mom's prom date. Originally a Celtic river name, it became attached to a powerful Scottish clan, renowned for their strength and courage. In its earliest incarnation, Douglas was used equally for girls and boys.
Origin:English and Scottish
Description:Allen is the spelling of this name -- other common spellings are Alan and Allan -- most associated with the surname; it might also be the most appropriate if you're trying to steer clear of Al as a nickname, as this can easily offer you Len or Lenny as options.
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.
Meaning:"son of Neil"
Description:Perfect name for TV Frasier's effete brother. In the 2020 film Palm Springs, Andy Samberg plays a character with the updated spelling Nyles.
Origin:Variation of Caroline
Description:The phonetic Carolyn spelling, which was very popular from the 1920s to the '60s, has been steadily on the wane while Caroline herself has stayed strong.
Origin:Scottish spelling variation of Rhona; Norwegian; Hebrew
Description:Rona ranked in the US Top 1000 in the mid-20th century but holds new meaning in the 2020s. "Rona" has become slang for coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, which gives the name a dark and somber edge. In 2020, Rona was given to 17 baby girls (a fall from 26 the previous year). In 2021, it dropped to just 5 — we expect it to drop off the list entirely in the years to come.
Origin:English, combination of Mary and Anne
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved + grace"
Description:Variant of Marianne or Maryann
Description:In the Bible, daughter of King Saul and wife of King David.
Origin:English combination of Mary and Lee
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved + meadow"
Description:Marilee is one of the cheeriest – if least substantial – combinations of Mary with another name.
Description:Aloma is a name invented for a Hawaiian dancer, the title character in a 1925 play later adapted twice as a film. But long before that, it was also used by the medieval scholar Ramón Llull, possibly as a feminine form of Alomar (from the Germanic name Aldemar, "old + famous"). The Catalan author Mercè Rodoreda used it for the heroine of her novel Aloma/, making it a classic Catalan literary choice.
It has not been used enough to make the US charts since the 1980s, but would fit with the trend for liquid-sounding, multicultural names like Alaia and Alina.