Names that Peaked in 1987
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.
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.
Origin:Biblical place name and Hebrew
Meaning:"house of figs"
Description:Bethany is a lyrical name that still strikes many parents as a fresher, more substantial substitute for the overused Brittany/Brittney or the more antiquated Beth.
Meaning:"brave in battle"
Description:Casey is a name with a big wide grin, Irish, friendly, and open, and associated with several American folk heroes--Casey Jones, the engine driver of the Cannonball Express who gave his life to save his passengers, and the legendary Casey at the Bat.
Origin:French feminine variation of Daniel, Hebrew,"God is my judge"
Meaning:"God is my judge"
Description:Along with Daniela, Michelle, Nicole, and Denise, Danielle was a big hit from the 1960s to the nineties, sitting comfortably in the Top 20 for several years. Parents then responded to its chic, sophisticated Gallic image, and though it has lost some of its sheen, it's still a widely used choice. Novelist Danielle Steele is its most well-known bearer; it's also the name of Elvis's granddaughter.
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.
Description:Octavius, which was at one time used for the eighth child in a family, has the worn leather patina of all the ancient Roman names now up for reconsideration. As a Roman family name, it derives from the uncommon forename Octavus, which designated an eighth son.
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:Phonetic spelling of Alicia; also Sanskrit
Meaning:"protected by God"
Description:This name has two derivations. One is as a member of the well-populated Alice/Alicia family (with an overly literal spelling), which gives it the meaning "noble"; the other is an Urdu name with the meaning "protected by God." If you're going with the first derivation, we suggest you stick with the classic and beautiful Alicia.
Origin:Norse, feminine form of Eric
Description:The straightforward Erica is a Norse feminization that was long associated with the complex, mega-popular character Erica Kane, played by Susan Lucci for decades on the soap opera All My Children. Used in Scandinavia since the early eighteenth century, where it was usually spelled Erika, it was in the Top 50 girls' list in the USA in the 1970s and eighties.
Meaning:"dawn; or, little star"
Description:The name of the wife of Alexander the Great, more attractive than the better-known Roxanne. Roxana was first used in the English-speaking world in the 1600s and was popularized by Daniel Defoe's novel Roxana, published in 1724. An underused and attractive possibility and perfect if you're searching for names that mean new beginnings.
Description:Kendra was once seen as a feminization of Kenneth -- but it's now firmly established as a standalone. American parents can't seem to make up their mind about it though: it was one of 2013's fastest-rising names, entering the Top 200 for the first time since 2000, but then it tumbled again.
Origin:Variation of Elise or Elysia
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Elyse hasn't been heard much since the 80s, but it's beginning to be reconsidered as a possibIlity again, now that it's not so much seen as a Mom name, as it was in the TV show "Family Ties." A spelling variation of Elise, it's another variation of Elizabeth. Many parents today would opt for Eliza.
Origin:French feminine variation of Justin
Description:Justine is a French name that's never reached the popularity we think it deserves. Like its far-more-common brother Justin, Justine is sleek, and sophisticated, but still user-friendly.
Origin:English and Scottish
Meaning:"royal ruler, champion"
Description:Punchy surname name that found some favor in the last couple of decades—potentially due to rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was one of the quickest rising boy names in 2013 when it reached its high point at #318.
Meaning:"son of brown-haired one"
Description:This surname has a modern yet old New England feel, perhaps because of the association with the transcendental teacher and reformer Bronson (born Amos Bronson) Alcott, father of Louisa May. (One-time sitcom star Bronson Pinchot's full name is Bronson Alcott Pinchot.) A more muscular image comes via tough guy Charles Bronson.
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:Spanish tree name
Description:This unique girls' name is a Latinx favorite popularized by a character on a Spanish-language soap opera. Jessenia is another variation. The name is drawn from the name of a tree in South America.
Origin:Variation of Rachel, Hebrew
Description:This form of the Biblical Rachel is well-used despite its somewhat counter-intuitive spelling which can make English speakers think the name should be pronounced with a k sound, as in Raquel. The spelling may be inspired by Michael, but it's pronounced just like Rachel, with a soft ch. Lately it's on the decline, dropping more than 100 places in 2009 and leaving the US Top 1000 in 2013.