Names that Peaked in 1981
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.
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.
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.
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: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:Sara, the streamlined form of Sarah, makes this ancient name feel more modern, but perhaps a bit lighter weight.
Description:Meredith is a soft, gentle-sounding name with subtle Welsh roots. Although originally a boys’ name , Meredith is used mainly for girls now.
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: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:Italian variation of Darius
Description:More creative and artsy than Mario. Dario is starting to edge up the US popularity list after languishing near the bottom of the Top 1000 over the last four decades. Is that inspired by Dario's popularity in Italy, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland?
Description:Barrett is one of many surname names that are up and coming for boys in recent years. Barrett joints Bennett, Beckett, and others in the trend of "-tt" ending boy names taking over the charts. Barrett first experienced a small bout of popularity in the 60s and 70s, but never quite cracked the Top 500. However, since 2000 Barrett has been rising quickly, and is now officially in the Top 200. Barrett has a pleasing sound and literary association with poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and would be a fresh way to honor a grandpa Barry.
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.”
Origin:Italian and Spanish
Description:Based on the ancient name Marcellus, drawn from Mars the god of war, Marcello -- it's pronounced mar-chell-o -- is one of the most lush and attractive Latin names.
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.
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:Hebrew, Slavic or Irish
Meaning:"pearl of wisdom; gift; or oak tree"
Description:Though Dara was an (extremely wise) male figure in the Bible, this name feels mostly feminine to modern Americans. The Irish Gaelic version, Darragh, is well-used in contemporary times for boys.
Description:Griselda is a famous folklore figure, noted for her patience and obedience. Her story has been told by Petrarch, Chaucer, Boccaccio and set to music by Scarlatti, Vivaldi and Massenet.
Origin:German and Norwegian variation of Christina
Description:A crystalline name that retains its loveliness far past its prime. Its biggest downside: Eternal confusion over spelling and pronunciation. Kristen? Kirsten? It can be so confusing that many parents today opt to bypass it.
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:Like many names that have strong political connotations, the attractiveness of the name Clinton will be affected by your world-view. But, taking politics out of the equation, Clinton has a lovely pastoral meaning, a strong sound and a tremendously wearable nickname - Clint - all which would seem to be in its favor for at least a second thought.