Top Names that Peaked in 1991
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.
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.
Description:Katherine is one of the oldest, most diverse, and all-around best names: it's powerful, feminine, royal, saintly, classic, popular, and adaptable. Long one of the top girls' names starting with K, Katherine has now been unseated on the popularity list by upstarts Kennedy and Kinsley, but a dip in popularity only adds to its charm.
Meaning:"dweller near the ash tree meadow"
Description:Ashley was a sensation in the 1980s and 1990s; it hit Number 1 in 1991. Ashley is still pretty but more and more parents are turning to newer names like Ashlyn and Aubrey, and spellings such as Ashleigh and Ashlea. If you hear the name Ashley in a playground today, it's more likely to be the mom than the little girl.
Origin:Diminutive of Mary, Hebrew
Description:Molly originated as a diminutive of Mary, spawning from medieval variations Malle and Molle. Molly has been used as a stand-alone pet form of Mary since the Middle Ages, and has been consistently popular as an independent name in the U.S. over the past several decades.
Meaning:"lion of God"
Description:Ariel is a male Biblical name, seen there as the messenger of Ezra, and also used as a symbolic name for the city of Jerusalem, while Shakespeare used it for a (male) sprite in The Tempest.
Origin:Spanish variation of Hannah
Description:Pared-down form loses none of the name's grace or power. Ana is one of the most popular Spanish names for girls in the US.
Origin:Spanish and Portuguese variation of Francis
Meaning:"Frenchman or free man"
Description:Francisco is one of the more popular Spanish names for boys in the US, which is unsurprising given its popularity back in Spain and Portugal as well as Latin America, coupled with its classic status. It also has a cool hipster vibe to it, given the reputation of the city of San Francisco.
Description:In the early 1990s, Cody was in the Top 25 most popular boys' names in the USA; but it has been in decline since then. It retains a greater degree of popularity in the UK, however. Cody might be short for Dakota but despite its nickname feeling, it's a name of its own.
Origin:French variation of Ariel
Meaning:"lion of God"
Description:While not as popular as the Ariel spelling of Little Mermaid fame, this rendition has achieved popularity in its own right.
Meaning:"estate on the ledge"
Description:Though Shelby was trendier ten years ago, it's still a widely used choice.
Meaning:"lion of God"
Description:Despite its distinguished pedigree and popularity in Israel, Disney's Little Mermaid cartoonized Ariel in the US, at least in some people's minds. Short form Ari has come into prominence via the character in Entourage, plus its similarity to short, breezy Biblical names like Levi and Eli.
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:Alberto is the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese variation of Albert and lends a more unusual and fashionable edge to this name which is still a grandpa name to many.
Meaning:"dweller near the canal"
Description:Fans of the classic French designer would now more fashionably choose Coco.
Meaning:"follower of Demeter"
Description:Classical and Shakespearean name that may appeal if you like your names long, flowing and multicultural.
Origin:German, Scandinavian, Polish, and Russian variation of Stephen
Description:An elegant, continental name for the post-Steve era. It debuted on the US Top 1000 in 1949 and has been on the list every year since except for a year off in 2008.
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.