Names that Peaked in 1978
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:French from Greek
Meaning:"to tame, subdue"
Description:Converting Damian to Damien – or Julian to Julien or Lucian to Lucien – adds a certain je ne sais quoi to names. But most people in English speaking areas will still pronounce this the same as the -an ending form. The French pronunciation is more like "dah-mee-u(n)".
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.
Description:Though never as popular as the name of her Bewitched mother, Samantha, Tabitha has its own quirky, magical charm. The name of a charitable woman who was restored to life by Saint Peter in the Bible, it was a popular Puritan choice. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick chose it for one of their twin daughters, which gave it a slight boost. Nonetheless, Tabitha remains in decline.
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.
Description:Melissa derives from the Greek word mélissa, meaning "bee," which was taken from the word for honey, meli. In Greek mythology, Melissa was a nymph who nursed the infant god Zeus with honey. Melissa was used as a given name by the early Greeks, as well as for fairies by Italian Renaissance poets.
Origin:Feminine variation of Andrew, Greek
Meaning:"strong and manly"
Description:Andrea — a feminine form of Andrew (and a male name in several European cultures) — comes with a good selection of pronunciations — ANN-dree-a, AHN-dree-a, or ahn-DRAY-a — each with a slightly different image: girl next door/slightly affected/downright mysterious
Origin:Spelling variation of Sean
Description:Shaun is the least popular spelling of the once-wildly popular name, more usually spelled Sean or Shawn. Parents who have a reason to choose this name now would (and should) most likely go with the original Sean. Alternate spelling Shawn is four times more popular.
Shaun (and Shawn) were considered the feminized spelling of the name back when it was becoming a unisex name in the early 1970s. In all spellings, Sean has become once again decidedly masculine.
Description:One of several Japanese names that refer to a child's place in the family birth order. Kenji has attracted notice in the US as the name of The Food Lab chef, James Kenji López-Alt, know simply as Kenji.
Origin:Diminutive of Jebediah, Hebrew
Description:Both Jeb and Jed are very attractive Old Testament short forms with long and bright futures. Jeb's main current association is with the Bush brother and former governor of Florida, but the name was a mainstay on early TV westerns, and then went upscale as the nickname (his birth name being Josiah) of the President on "The West Wing."
Origin:Diminutive of Jedidiah
Description:Cowboyish short form that's both macho and cool. Got prime time exposure on The West Wing.
Description:The alcohol-laced member of the Randy-Candy-Mandy sorority of 1970s to 80s nickname names; now pretty much on the wagon.
Origin:English word name
Description:Thanks to two cultural influences, January has joined March, April, June and August as a plausible month name.
Origin:Hebrew and Spanish variation of Aaron
Description:This shortened variation of Aaron—it was Elvis's middle name—is now a widely used choice.
Origin:Turkish, Bosnian variation of Tariq, Arabic
Meaning:"the one who knocks at the door"
Description:This bold and straightforward name is a common variant of Tariq in Turkey and Bosnia and is used as an alternate spelling in Arabic-speaking countries.
Origin:American, modern elaboration of Jane
Description:It's far cooler to drop the first syllable and go for Elle.
Description:Strongly identified with peace-accord-seeking Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat.
Origin:Diminutive of Christina or Christine
Description:This slightly unusual spelling of the '80s cheerleader name is now associated with two appealing young celebrities: model Chrissy Teigen and This Is Us star Chrissy Metz. Both have Christine on their birth certificate.
Description:Peaked in the 1990s.