Top Names that Peaked in 1986
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:Ryan’s use as a given name was inspired by the surname Ryan, a variation of the Irish O’Riain meaning "son of Rían." Rían is composed of the Irish-Gaelic elements rí, meaning "king" and an, a diminutive suffix. Ryan is considered a unisex name in the US, where variant spellings Ryann and Ryanne are also valid for girls.
Origin:English, meaning unknown
Description:When Jennifer was ready to give up her throne, her crown was passed to Jessica, who reigned for not one but two decades; Jessica was the top name of both the 1980's and 90's, never sounding quite as trendy as its predecessor, maybe because of its classic Shakespearean pedigree. Jessica has declined a bit in popularity but is still a popular choice.
Origin:Norman French, diminutive of Alice
Description:Alison has been long popular in Scotland and widely used here since the fifties; this more feminine medieval derivative of Alice had long surpassed the original in popularity. But now sounds a tad dated in the U.S., with Alice having leapfrogged back over Alison, Alicia and other variations. Allison is the only variant still ahead of the stylish Alice.
Origin:Greek, feminine variation of Stephen
Description:Stephanie is the feminine form of Stephen, derived from the Greek name Stephanos, meaning "crown." It’s been the name of several royal women throughout history, including the medieval Stephanie, Queen of Navarre, and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, the daughter Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. International variations of Stephanie include the German Stefanie, Italian Stefania, and Spanish Estefanía.
Description:This ultrapopular boys' name is rapidly becoming a hot name for girls; admired for its buoyant Irish spirit.
Origin:English, diminutive of Katherine
Description:Friendly mega-popular short form of Katherine that has definitively replaced Kathy, Katie is often given on its own. Going forward, though, Katie is more stylishly clipped itself to the grownup Kate.
Origin:Word name, English
Description:Though perhaps not as currently stylish as Ruby, Jade, or Pearl, Amber has a colorful history (remember the notorious Forever Amber heroine?). Unfortunately, it does come with the "Amber Alert" connotation for modern parents (and their children).
Description:Early 1980s sitcom (Family Ties) name that has been well used ever since, with an upbeat three-syllable sound and a slightly tomboyish edge.
Description:Part of the trend for formerly canine royal names; this is one a little girl might love—up till the age of eight.
Description:Dane is a more masculine Dana alternative, with added style edge. Dane has been on the US Top 1000 for more than seventy years, having entered the list in 1945.
Description:Football great Brett Favre single-handedly kept this name in the limelight, though it continues to sink in popularity.
Description:Yesterday's sensation that rose with the popularity of Whitney Houston. Whitney may have lost some of its style value, but it still sounds like one of the quintessential English names for girls. Today, you might want to shorten it to cool nickname Whit.
Origin:Russian diminutive of Natalya
Meaning:"birthday of the Lord"
Description:Natasha, an appealing, still exotic name, entered the American mainstream post-Cold War, but seems to have peaked in the eighties, replaced by the more straightforward Natalie. As is common for Natashas the world over, the Obamas shorten their Natasha's name to Sasha.