Names that Peaked in 1976
Origin:Greek from Hebrew
Meaning:"God is good"
Description:Tobias is one of a number of s-ending boys' names that are riding a wave of popularity. With its Old Testament-Dickensian feel, it's a name with a distinguished pedigree.
Meaning:"she who brings victory; true image"
Description:The name Veronica projects a triple-threat image: at once saintly, sensuous, and strong. The name derives from Berenice, the Latin form of the Greek name Berenike "she who brings victory", with the spelling influenced by the Latin phrase vera icon "true image". Veronica was the name of the compassionate woman who wiped Jesus's face when he was on his way to Calvary and whose cloth was miraculously imprinted with his image: she is now the patron saint of photographers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Origin:English variation of Damian
Description:Damon is a name with a strong, pleasing aura (much like the persona of Matt D.) and extremely positive ancient associations. From the classical myth, Damon and Pythias have become symbols of true friendship, as Damon risked his life to save his friend from execution. And Damon of Athens was the fifth century philosopher who taught both Pericles and Socrates.
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 form of Jeremiah
Meaning:"appointed by God"
Description:This one-time trendy form of Jeremiah hovered just outside the Top 25 throughout the 1970s and 80s.
Origin:Diminutive of James
Description:Jamie is typical of the relaxed unisex names starting with J that seemed so cool in the sixties after decades of Jeans and Joans, though now pretty tepid. Jaime and even Jamey and Jayme are alternate spellings.
Origin:Feminine variation of Lucianus
Description:Lushly elaborate name that makes Lucy more grownup and sensual. Carnie Wilson chose it for her daughter. Lucianus is an ancient Roman family name and Lucianus of Samosata was an early satirist. Heard most often in the Italian and Spanish cultures, Luciana is usually pronounced loo-chee-anna.
Origin:Diminutive of James
Description:The cool form of James in the 1970s and '80s for both sexes. Still a more stylish short form than Jimmy, though many parents will want to call James by his entire, not-very-long name.
Description:Farah is a soft and lovely Arabic name, best known here in this original spelling via the last Empress of Iran, Farah Palavi. It's currently a Top 250 name in both France and the Netherlands, which both have a large Arabic-speaking population, and appears in at least two video games.
Origin:Spanish and Italian variation of Anthony
Description:Antonio is a Shakespearean favorite -- the Bard used it in no less than five of his plays, and has long been a ubiquitous classic in Spanish-speaking countries, where the nickname Tonio is also prevalent. Antonio is also among an elite group of perennially popular names in the US, where it has always been among the boys' Top 1000 since baby name record-keeping started in 1880.
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:Russian and Scandinavian variation of Sophia
Description:Early European import, well known in the 1940s via Norwegian skating movie star Sonja Henie, that has sailed back across the Atlantic, despite the rising popularity of other Russian names.
Origin:Diminutive of Joseph
Meaning:"he will add"
Description:This nickname for popular and traditional Joseph has a long history of being used as a given name all on its own. Nonetheless, everyone will always assume that Joey is short for the longer form. It might be nice for a potential son to have the option of a more professional and classic name to fall back on.
Meaning:"old and wise"
Description:Irish place-name -- it's a river, a town, and an airport -- once popular but now supplanted by such newer immigrants as Saoirse and Seanan.
Origin:Italian and Spanish variation of Frederick
Description:If Frederick feels too heavy, the Spanish and Italian has more energy. It's a long-term Top 20 name in Italy, and has neat nicknames like Fredo in Italian and Fede in Spanish. Famous bearers include the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca and the Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini. Further back in history, it was the name of a fifth-century Visigoth leader, the brother of Theodoric II.