Top Names that Peaked in 1981
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:Greek and Latin
Meaning:"bearer of Christ"
Description:Christopher derived from the Greek Christophoros, which is composed of the elements Christos, referring to Christ, and phero, meaning “to bear.” The name was originally used figuratively, to represent the bearing of Christ in one’s heart. Later it became used to honor Saint Christopher, a third century martyr who became the protective saint of travelers, reflecting the legend of Christopher being the giant who carried the Christ Child over a river.
Description:Sara, the streamlined form of Sarah, makes this ancient name feel more modern, but perhaps a bit lighter weight. Some Old Testament sources give Sara as a variation of Sarai, the Biblical personage's original name, and some give it as the authentic form of the new name of Isaac's 90-year-old mother. But most sources authenticate Sarah as the Biblical classic and Sara as the variation.
Description:Pleasing sound and literary association with poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, though little girls may associate it with the word barrette.
Meaning:"Jehovah is his God"
Description:In the Old Testament, Joel was one of King David's 'mighty men' and the name was taken up by the Puritans of the sixteenth century. In the mid 1960s, Joel entered the Top 100, and stayed there for about twenty years, as parents tried to jazz up and formalize old standby Joe by reviving this biblical name.
Origin:Latin alteration of Berenice, also related to Latin phrase <em>vera icon</em>
Meaning:"she who brings victory; true image"
Description:The name Veronica projects a triple-threat image: at once saintly, sensuous, and strong.
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:Spanish and Italian, diminutive of Elizabeth
Description:Elisa may be one of the most appealing of this contingent of names, but the Elizabeth variations that start with A are heading up, the E versions down. Eliza is much more stylish these days than Elisa.
Description:A popular name in Denmark, in this country Bo has some cowboy swagger and a lot of substance in its minimal two letters. In Mandarin Chinese, Bo means "wave".
Origin:Spanish variation of Ralph
Description:Raul and French brother Raoul are much more appealing than flat-footed daddy Ralph. Puerto Rican actor Raul Julia, who starred in the Addams Family movies, brought fame to the name before his death in 1994.
Description:Meredith is a soft, gentle-sounding name with subtle Welsh roots. Although originally a boys’ name , Meredith is used mainly for girls now.
Meaning:"garden of holly"
Description:A Scottish place and surname that was once adrogynous but now leans about 20 to 1 toward the girls' side, Leslie has a pleasant, heathery feel that kept it in or near the Top 100 for several decades; the Lesly and Lesley spellings are also frequently used, especially in Britain. While Leslie may not be the freshest name in the bunch, it's become a modern classic and is one of the surprising names always to have ranked among the US Top 1000 for girls.
Origin:Spanish and Italian variation of Ernest
Description:A Latin classic, widely used here and abroad, though in the U.S. it has fallen on the charts in recent years.
Origin:Italian variation of Darius
Meaning:"kingly or possess well"
Description:More creative and classier than Mario. It has regularly ranked near the bottom of the US Top 1000 over the last four decades. It does much better across the pond, and is especially popular in Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.
Origin:Spanish variation of Philip
Description:A royal name in Spain that could make a lively alternative to our Philip/Phillip. Despite its status as an international version of a English name, it has ranked on the US Top 1000 almost every year since the beginning of the twentieth century, with 1904 the only exception.
Description:A Spanish variation of the name Roger meaning "famous spearman." Rogelio is popular among the Filipino and Argentine communities and could be a great alternative for international families looking for a name that can still be shortened to the very Anglo nickname “Rodge.”