Names that Peaked in 1974
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.
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.
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:Diminutive of Adelheid; German
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: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.
Origin:English word name
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.
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.
Origin:Hebrew or Egyptian
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
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.
Origin:Spelling variation of Robin
Description:Spelling variations rise and fall with the fortunes of the name they're based on, and so it is with Robyn, which ranked as high as the Top 200 from the late 1960s through the early 80s, but has dropped from national ranking in the past decade. The original Robin is making something of a comeback...as a boys' name.
Meaning:"date palm tree"
Description:Adding a final a to Tamar lends it a more sensual Slavic tone, making it a more popular choice than the original.
Meaning:"from the woods"
Description:This original form of the name -- the more familiar Sylvia spelling came later -- seems more modern now.
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.
Origin:English variation of Cecilia
Description:This frilly Victorian name is a variant of Cecilia and Cecily, with which it might well be confused. Cicely was a surprise choice for comedienne Sandra Bernhard.
Origin:Spanish variation of Titus
Description:Has diverse associations: the long-term Communist head of Yugoslavia, one of Michael Jackson's older brothers, and an animated Disney character -- none of them a very strong recommendation.
Origin:Diminutive of Joanna or Josephine
Description:Fun, friendly and fresher than Jo or Josie as a nickname for Joanna or Josephine.