Top Names that Peaked in 1990
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:"God is my judge"
Description:Daniel was derived from the Hebrew name Daniyyel, from the elements din, meaning "judge," and ’el, "God." The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament describes the Jewish prophet’s life of captivity in Babylon and visions of the last days of Earth. Dan and Danny are common short forms of Daniel.
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:French variation of Camilla,"young ceremonial attendant"
Meaning:"young ceremonial attendant"
Description:At one time just the sound of the name Camille could start people coughing, recalling the tragic Lady of the Camellias, the heroine played by Greta Garbo in the vintage film based on a Dumas story, but that image has faded, replaced by a sleek, chic, highly attractive one.
Meaning:"narrow spit of land"
Description:Kyle is still appreciated by thousands of parents each year for its combination of simplicity, strength, and style; it was in the Top 20 for most of the nineties. As a Scottish surname, it dates back to the fifteenth century.
Origin:Finnish variation of Nichoals; diminutive of Nikolaos, Greek
Meaning:"victory of the people"
Description:Slightly more exotic spelling of Nico.
Description:Previously used primarily by Latino families, this name of the great hero of the Trojan War as related in Homer's Iliad is beginning to be considered more seriously by others seeking noble ancient hero names as well--it was also the name of the knight who raised King Arthur as his own 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:Variation of Jonathan
Meaning:"gift of Jehovah"
Description:Some people may prefer this spelling to clarify the name's connection to John, but it could be one h too many, exemplified by its steady decline over the past two decades.
Description:Bianca, the livelier Italian and Shakespearean version of Blanche, has been chosen by many American parents since the 1990s, just as Blanca is a favorite in the Spanish-speaking community. It's meaning of white relates to snow, making it one of the prime names for winter babies.
Meaning:"God has healed"
Description:Raphael is a romantic archangel name that sounds both artistic and powerful. Raphael is also a great cross-cultural choice, with significance for people with both Latinate and Jewish roots, plus plenty of grounding in the English-speaking world.
Origin:Spanish variation of Julius
Description:What with Paul Simon's classic lyric about Julio down by the schoolyard and several distinguished bearers, this livelier Spanish version of Julius is completely familiar to the non-Hispanic community and would make a great choice for a bicultural family. NFL Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones bears this name.
Origin:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese form of Arthur, Celtic
Description:Italian, Portuguese and Spanish variation of Arthur that makes the original feel more romantic and dashing.
Origin:Persian or Latin from Greek
Description:Darius is a historic name via Emperor Darius the Great, a key figure in ancient Persian history, and several other Persian kings. His name today has an appealingly artistic image, which might well be found on a concert program or gallery announcement.
Description:Mara is the evocative ancient root of Mary, appearing in the Book of Ruth, in which Naomi, devastated after the death of her two sons, says "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara." It's one of the girl names starting with M that both fits in and stands out.
Meaning:"shining or excelling man"
Description:The name of the tragic mythological Trojan princess who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but was condemned never to be believed, Cassandra has been used for exotic characters in movies and soap operas. Ethereal and delicate, Cassandra was in the Top 70 throughout the 1990s, but is now descending in popularity.
Origin:English or Latin
Meaning:"queen's manor or fith"
Description:Quinton is among several attractive Q-beginning, n-ending two-syllable names for boys, that also includes Quentin (the most popular iteration) and Quenton. They only suffer from their similarity and possible spelling confusion, ala girls' names Kristin, Kirsten and sisters. Quinton has slipped a bit in the standings over the past few years but remains an appealing choice. Quinton may be a descendant of the Roman family name Quintus, which means fifth, or may also be an English place-name meaning queen's manor or town.
Origin:Spanish from Latin Salvator
Description:A common epithet of Christ, frequently heard in the Hispanic community, Salvador could also be a great choice for artistic parents, given the continuing popularity of Dada and Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. (If Monet and Raphael get a look in, why not Salvador?)
Origin:English name of the French region Bretagne, meaning 'from Briton'
Description:Brittany first arrived on the US popularity list in 1971, and rapidly zoomed up the charts, in the Top 100 a decade later. By 1986 it had entered the Top 10, becoming the third most popular girls’ name in the country by 1989. After such immense popularity, there has been a steep decline, but it remains a name evocative of one of the most beautiful and culturally interesting areas of France -- and much preferable to the contracted Britney. Brittany evolved as a modern coinage from the ancient French duchy Bretagne. Celtic Bretons emigrated from France to become the Bretons of English; later the name Britain came to signify the country.