Top Names that Peaked in 1994
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:"high mountain; exalted, enlightened"
Description:The origin of the name Aaron is debated—some say it was derived from Hebrew, while others claim it originated in Ancient Egypt. In the Old Testament, Aaron, the older brother of Moses who was appointed by God to be his brother's spokesman, was the first High Priest of the Israelites. The Hebrew version is Aharon—in Yiddish it can be Aaran—and the name appears in Arabic as Haroun or Harun.
Origin:English occupational name
Meaning:"maker of tiles"
Description:The presidential Tyler rocketed up popularity charts in the late 1980s and early 1990s (it ranked Number 9 for that entire decade), along with cousin Taylor, becoming almost pandemic across the land-- and to make matters more confusing, both (especially Taylor) have been used for girls as well.
Meaning:"the Lord has remembered"
Description:Zachary is the English variation of Zacharias, which itself is derived from the Hebrew name Zechariah. The name Zachary is attached to eight different people in the Bible, the most prominent being the father of John the Baptist, and it's also presidential, via 12th president Zachary Taylor. Zackery is an alternate spelling, and nicknames include Zack, Zach, Zac, and Zak.
Origin:Flower name, from Persian
Meaning:"gift from God"
Description:Jasmine was derived from the Persian word yasmin, referring to the jasmine flower. Scented oil was made from the plant, and it was used as a perfume throughout the Persian Empire. Variants include Jazmin, Yasmin, Yasmine, and Jessamine.
Origin:English occupational name
Description:Taylor is one of the prime unisex surnames used for girls and has also been a soap opera favorite. Taylor was in the Top 10 for the last several years of the twentieth century, so that now it tends to feel a little nineties – though Taylor Swift is keeping it in the spotlight and Tay is a charming nickname. Garth Brooks and Bryan Cranston have daughters named Taylor; Taylor Schilling portrays lead Piper Chapman in Orange is the New Black.
Description:Brandon, a forebear of the Braden-Caden pack, had a great run of popularity over several decades, being in the Top 10 from 1992 to 1998, one of its inspirations being hearthrob Brandon Walsh played by Jason Priestley on the original Beverly Hills 90210--and it was aso the name of several soap opera characters.
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.
Meaning:"from the large village"
Description:Trevor, a British standard, took a long time to cross the Atlantic, but finally began its rise here in the 1980s. It is now a thoroughly naturalized citizen, though it still retains a touch of Anglo class.
Meaning:"the settlement in the valley"
Description:Dalton is a name with multi-faceted appeal. Many are attracted to the name's resemblance to other two-syllable n-ending favorites: Colton, Holden, and cousins. Others see it as a trendy Western name, recalling the legendary Dalton Brothers gang. It also has something of an upscale, preppy feel connected to the exclusive New York private school.
Description:Most known as a popular brand of Western hats, this surname has a brief history as a given name. It charted in the US Top 1000 in 1989 and 1991-95. It has been experiencing renewed interest in the last few years, having reentered the popularity charts in 2013 and now ranking its highest ever at Number 709.
Origin:Spanish variation of Alexandra
Description:Alejandra, the Spanish form of this popular and multivaried name, has fans both in and outside the Latino community. Still, it has lost ground since its peak in the 1990s.
Origin:Spelling variation of Schuyler
Description:A name very much in the air, for both boys and girls, often seen in the casts and character lists of movies and TV shows. The Skylar spelling is used more for females.
Origin:Diminutive of Alexander, Greek
Description:Alec, though an old nickname for Alexander, is much fresher sounding than Alex, with the additional advantage, at least to some parents, of being distinctly male (there are as many girl Alexes these days as there are boys). While Alec has a clipped British image, it's actually one of the classic Greek names for boys, by way of father name Alexander.
Origin:Feminine variation of Brian
Meaning:"strong, virtuous, honorable"
Description:Spelled this way, Briana was coined by Edmund Spenser for his great literary work, The Faerie Queene, which gives the now-overexposed name a far classier pedigree than it's usually credited with. But spelling variations Breana, Breanna and onward are popular too, though feel more invented -- probably because they are. One enduring appeal of Briana and sisters is that they're girl names that mean strong, brave, or powerful, which may be why George R. R. Martin names his warrior maiden Brienne of Tarth.
Origin:Place-name and Irish
Description:Cowhand name trendy a decade ago for boys, but with plenty of life left for girls.
Origin:Welsh diminutive of Margaret
Description:Megan originally evolved from Meg, which itself derived as a nickname for Margaret. Margaret ultimately comes from the Greek word margarites, meaning "pearl." Megan is no longer a common nickname for Margaret—it is most often used as a full name. Other spellings include Meghan, Meagan, Megyn, and Meaghan.
Description:Devon, spelled like the lovely seaside county in Britain that inspired the name, has crashed since its heyday around the Top 100 in the 1990s. Despite its use as a female name, for example for Devon on the TV show The 4400, Devon continues to be far more popular for boys than for girls.
Meaning:"from the sea"
Description:This pretty sea-born name was used to dramatic effect by Shakespeare in his play Pericles for the virtuous princess who says she is "Call'd Marina, for I was born at sea."
Origin:English variation of Michael
Meaning:"who is like God"
Description:Mitchell has had something of a roller coaster ride, showing some panache in the forties and fifties, when it was seen as a sharper alternative to Michael with its cool Mitch nickname, slipping a bit, then resurfacing in the 90s when it reached as high as Number 71. Mitchell Pritchett is one of the leading characters on the TV sitcom Modern Family.
Origin:Spanish variation of Vincent
Description:Popular saint's name in Hispanic cultures, familiar enough to use here.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:Obviously, Andre with the prefix De-, which denotes "son of".
Origin:Spelling variation of Jasmine
Description:Leave the Z behind, please. You're better off with the classic Jasmine spelling -- though all of this name's variations have been falling in popularity in recent years.
Origin:Spelling variation of Corey or African
Description:This variation of Corey has a Kardashian-style spelling update -- which might be why it's experiencing a boost in popularity of late. Kori is also a Kikuyu name meaning lamb, one of the many names from that African culture with animal meanings.
Origin:Variation of Darius
Description:The most popular spelling in a family of names including Darien and Darion, Darian has nonetheless been on the decline since it peaked in the 1990s.
Origin:Diminutive of Victoria or Japanese
Description:A more modern nickname for Victoria than Vicky, Tori is used fairly frequently on its own, kept in the public eye by singer Tori Amos and actress Tori Spelling. Still, it's far from fashionable, sinking in the polls significantly since reaching a peak of Number 142 in 1994.
Origin:Elaboration of Clara
Description:Clarissa, the daintier version of Claire, has a long literary history of its own, having been featured in the novels of Samuel Richardson, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolf—Clarissa was the title character of Mrs. Dalloway—not to mention the 1990s teen sitcom, Clarissa Explains it All.
Origin:Spelling variation of Kenya
Description:Kenia debuted on the US Top 1000 list in 1992. Even though it currently ranks higher than original spelling Kenya, this is a hard sell as it alters the spelling of the African nation.
Origin:Gem name; Persian
Description:Emerald is the intriguing color and jewel name of the deep green stone treasured as far back as ancient Egypt — it's supposed to open one's heart to wisdom and to love and be good for strengthening relationships — which could make for an interesting, unusual name, particularly with the popularity of so many Em-starting names.