Top Names that Peaked in 1988
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.
Meaning:"strong and manly"
Description:Andrew is a variant of the Greek name Andreas, ultimately derived from the element aner, meaning “man.” In the New Testament, Andrew was one of the twelve apostles and the first disciple to be called by Jesus. Although the origins of the name are Greek, Andrew is the patron saint of both Scotland and Russia, as well as Greece. It has associations with two of America's most famous artists, Wyeth and Warhol.
Meaning:"gift of Jehovah"
Description:Jonathan was derived from the Hebrew name Yehonatan, eventually contracted to the modern Yonatan, meaning “gift of Jehovah.” It comes from the elements yeho, in reference to God, and natan, meaning “to give.” In the Old Testament, Jonathan was the valiant eldest son of King Saul, and it was his friendship with brother-in-law David that gave rise to the expression "Jonathan and David" to describe devoted, steadfast friends.
Description:Justin has been widely popular since the 1980s, when parents were seeking a fresher 'J' boys’ name to replace Jason, Jeremy and Jonathan. It's been dipping in popularity a bit in recent years but it reached as high as Number 9 in 1990. At this point it's Justin that is suffering from overexposure.
Origin:Literary invention; also a species of butterfly
Description:Vanessa was invented by writer Jonathan Swift for a lover named Esther Vanhomrigh—he combined the first syllable of her last name with the initial syllable of her first. Swift used it in the poem Cadenus and Vanessa in 1713. A century later, Johan Christian Fabricius used Vanessa as the name of a genus of butterfly.
Meaning:"place with good clay"
Description:Almost fits into the wildly popular Jaden-Caden-Braden family -- but not quite; a possibility for parents who want a similar but more traditional name.
Meaning:"dweller on the plain"
Description:In the USA, Blair is gaining momentum. In England and Wales, Blair is incredibly unpopular for girls, sitting well outside the Top 2000.
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:Short form of Stephanie
Description:Stevie survives as a short form of Stephanie thanks to the immortal Ms. Nicks. After a little more than a decade out of the limelight, she rejoined the US Top 1000 in 2014.
Description:With the prevailing popularity of Samuel, some parents are considering this more (literally) powerful biblical name, which shares the desirable nickname of Sam.
Origin:Russian, diminutive of Greek Alexander
Description:Sasha, largely male in Russia--and also spelled Sascha and Sacha--is an energetic name that has really taken off for girls here, chosen by Jerry Seinfeld (using the alternate Sascha spelling) and other celebs. The Barack Obamas use it as the nickname for their younger daughter, whose proper name is Natasha. But in line with a trend toward softer-sounding boys' names like Asher and Joshua and thanks to Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen, Sasha also still has life as a boys' name too--it's popular in France for boys and girls almost equally.
Origin:Variation of Brian
Description:Brian with attitude. Nowadays it is inseparable from basketball player Kobe Bryant, and it rose in use after his death in 2020. In New York it's also associated with fashionable Bryant Park, and in Alabama with University of Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Origin:Norse mythology name
Description:Kara peaked in the 1980s but remains more popular than the Cara variant. In Norse mythology, was a Valkyrie, lover of Helgi, who charmed his enemies in battle by enchanting them with song.
Origin:Variation of Wesley
Description:This variation of Wesley moved into the Top 1000 among boys' names in the US in 2016, perhaps because it makes the name less like Lesley and more Western, with the cowboy nickname West.
Description:One of the first luxury brand names, and the quintessential Booming Eighties status-conscious moniker; used by Donald Trump for his daughter, Tiffany has plummeted far from its high in the Top 25.
Origin:French, feminine variation of Hebrew Simon
Description:Simone, the elegant French feminization of Simon, strikes that all-important balance between unusual and familiar, and it's oozing with Gallic sophistication. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has a daughter named Simone; Chris Rock used it in the middle place for his daughter, as did Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates
Meaning:"from the hollow"
Description:A variation of Corey, this spelling has also been on a steady decline since the early-1990s. Its days are likely numbered on the US popularity charts altogether.