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Top Names that Peaked in 1974

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MichaelHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • 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.

MariaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew or Egyptian
  • Meaning:

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

    As a highly popular girls’ name in all Spanish-speaking countries, this saintly Latin variation of Mary retains a timeless beauty. Through the centuries, Maria remains one of the most widely-used girl names starting with M.

JasonHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "to heal"
  • Description:

    Jason, the Number 3 name for the entire decade of the 1970s -- thus the title of our original baby-naming book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason -- is more likely to be dad's name now than baby's, but it's still a widely used name.

EricHeart

  • Origin:

    Old Norse
  • Meaning:

    "eternal ruler"
  • Description:

    Eric is derived from the Old Norse name Eiríkr, from the components ei, meaning "ever," and ríkr, "rule." It was adopted by English speakers in the mid-nineteenth century, who were already familiar with the exploits of the tenth century Viking navigator and discoverer of Greenland, Eric the Red. Erik is an alternate spelling and the preferred form of the name across much of Europe.

AmyHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "beloved"
  • Description:

    Amy is the English variation of the Old French name Amée—Aimée in modern French. Amée was a translation of the Latin name Amata, which derived from amatus, meaning "beloved." Other spelling variations include Amie and Ami.
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RebeccaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "to tie, bind"
  • Description:

    Rebecca is a name representing beauty in the Bible, an Old Testament classic that reached the heights of revived popularity in the seventies but is still a well-used choice. It derives from the Hebrew name Rivkah, from the verb ribbqah, meaning "noose." The biblical Rebecca was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob. Rebekah was a common spelling of the name in the Bible.

AngelaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "angel"
  • Description:

    Angela was a Top 10 name from 1965 to 1979, the fifth most popular name for three years, and staying in the double digits until the turn of the 21st century. Today, though, Angelina or Angelica would be more fashionable options.

BrianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • 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.

HeidiHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Adelheid; German
  • Meaning:

    "noble, nobility"
  • Description:

    Heidi became known—and popular—via the 1880 eponymous children's classic by Swiss writer Johanna Spyri and, despite decades of American Heidis of all sizes, shapes, and personalities, the name seems permanently tethered to that spunky little girl on the Alpine mountaintop in the book and Shirley Temple movie.

JoyHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "joy"
  • Description:

    Joy is from an older generation of word names, which also included Merry, Bliss, and Glory -- all of which exert a certain amount of personality pressure on a child. One interesting name that means the same thing: Chara.
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JenniferHeart

  • 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.

JoleneHeart

  • Origin:

    Modern invented name
  • Description:

    Stuck in the shadow of the old Dolly Parton song. In spite of its dated feel, Jolene reentered the charts in 2010 and has been rising in recent years.

CedricHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "bounty"
  • Description:

    Cedric was invented by Sir Walter Scott for the noble character of the hero's father in Ivanhoe, presumed to be an altered form of the Saxon name Cerdic. The name was later also given to Little Lord Fauntleroy, the long-haired, velvet-suited, and lace-collared boy hero of the Frances Hodgson Burnett book, who became an unwitting symbol of the pampered mama's boy.

HeathHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "the heathland dweller"
  • Description:

    Actor Heath Ledger's tragic death has cast a pall over this otherwise pleasant and distinctive name. Nonetheless, it remains in the Top 1000.