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Top Names that Peaked in 1996

MichaelHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • 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.

EmilyHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Emil, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "rival"
  • Description:

    Emily was derived from the Roman name Aemilia, which may have evolved from the Latin word aemulus, meaning "hardworking" or "rival." Amelia, although similar, has separate origins — it was derived from the Germanic name Amalia. Emilia, however, has the same Latin root as Emily.

MatthewHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Matthew is the English derivative of Matthaios, the Greek form of the Hebrew Mattiyahu, composed of mattan, meaning "gift" and yah, in reference to God. The biblical Matthew was the apostle who wrote the first Gospel in the New Testament. Mateo, Matthias, Teo, Matek, and Mattia are among the many named derived from Matthew.

NicholasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "people of victory"
  • Description:

    Nicholas is derived from the Greek Nikolaos, a name that evolved from the components nikē, meaning “victory”, and laos, “people.” It shares origins with Nike, the name of the Greek goddess of victory. Nicholas is also a New Testament name that is well-used in literature, such as in Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby.

AustinHeart

  • Origin:

    English, shortened form of Augustine
  • Meaning:

    "great, magnificent"
  • Description:

    Austin is one of the most attractive city names for babies, with an attractive southwestern feel, place-name panache and the solid base of having long been an Anglo-Saxon surname and a first name since medieval times. Austin reached the Top 10 in the 1990s, but has been gradually slipping down the list.

AlexandraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine form of Alexander
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Alexandra is the feminine form of Alexander, which ultimately derived from the Greek components alexein, meaning "to defend," and anēr, "man." In Greek mythology, Alexandra was an epithet of the goddess Hera. International variations include Alessandra and Alejandra.

TaylorHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "tailor"
  • 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.

TristanHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "noise or sorrowful"
  • Description:

    Tristan -- known through medieval legend and Wagnerian opera -- has a slightly wistful, touching air. This, combined with the name's popular "an" ending, makes Tristan very appealing to parents seeking a more original alternative to Christian.

KaylaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "laurel, crown"
  • Description:

    Kayla is a modern invented name that emerged in the late 1950s. Despite its similarity to the name Michaela, Kayla most likely began as a combination of the then-popular name Kay and -la suffix. Alternatively, it may be a variation of the Yiddish name Kaila, which derived from the Hebrew name Kelila. Kayla can also be considered an Anglicization of the Gaelic surname MacCaollaidhe or MacCathail.

RachelHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "ewe"
  • Description:

    Rachel was derived from the Hebrew word rāchēl, meaning "ewe." In the Old Testament, Rachel was the favorite wife of Jacob, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. International variations include the Spanish Raquel and Israeli Rahel.

KaliHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "black one"
  • Description:

    Cute name but be warned: Kali is the Hindu goddess of destruction, the fierce side of the goddess Devi.

ChanceHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Chauncey
  • Description:

    Once a cavalier Mississippi gambler type name, Chance has entered the mainstream since being endorsed by such celebrity dads as Larry King and Paul Hogan. Chance the Rapper has also boosted the name's popularity.

LoganHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish surname
  • Meaning:

    "little hollow"
  • Description:

    Logan, with its appealing Scottish burr, is a very hot boys' name—it's in the national Top 10 and heading for Number 1 in some states—and can also make a rich and resonant choice for a girl. Jason and Jordan Mewes have a daughter named Logan Lee.

MalikHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic; Greenlandic
  • Meaning:

    "king; wave"
  • Description:

    A name popular among African-American parents, with many spelling variations, including Malek and Maliq.

MarcoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian and Spanish form of Mark
  • Meaning:

    "warlike"
  • Description:

    Simple and universal, Marco is a Latin classic that would make a much livelier namesake for an Uncle Mark. It was used for her son by actress Jill Hennessy and goes well with surnames of any nationality.

FrancescaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Frances
  • Meaning:

    "from France or free man"
  • Description:

    Francesca is a lighter and much more feminine choice than the classic Frances, and one that is increasingly popular with upscale parents.

CollinHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Colin and Collins
  • Description:

    Thanks to its dashing British image and c-initialed two-syllable sound, Colin/Collin has enjoyed a long run of popularity.

MarcosHeart

  • Origin:

    Portuguese and Spanish variation of Mark
  • Description:

    Another culture's slant on Mark, sometimes associated with former president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos and his shoe-collecting wife, Imelda.

ImaniHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic, Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "faith"
  • Description:

    Another strong Arabic name, related to Iman. Imani one is popular throughout the Muslim world but especially East Africa. It was chosen for her daughter by actress Jasmine Guy.

GerardoHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of Gerard
  • Description:

    Widely used in the Latino community, the name gained renown in the nineties for its association with rapper Gerardo Mejía of 'Rico Suave' fame.

AlannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Alana
  • Meaning:

    "handsome, cheerful"
  • Description:

    The extra n makes it feel less like an feminization of Alan and more like a name unto itself.

AngelicaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, Polish, Russian diminutive of Angela
  • Meaning:

    "angel or angelic"
  • Description:

    Angelica is by far the choicest form of the angelic names -- more delicate than Angelina, more feminine than Angel, more modern than Angela. But though Angelica is so lacy and poetic, it lags behind the bolder Angelina (probably for obvious reasons).

KarinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian, German, Polish, and Russian variation of Carina
  • Description:

    This sweet and loving name, favored in recent years by a mix of Hispanic-American parents and Bob Dylan fans, was chosen for her daughter by TV actress Melina Kanakaredes.

JusticeHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Justice, one of the rare virtue names for boys, entered the popularity ranks in 1992, and has remained on the list ever since. Parents' search for names implying virtue has led to a mini-revival of this long-neglected name in both its German homonymic form, Justus, and as the word itself. Steven Seagal was ahead of the curve when he used it back in 1976.

HayleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "hay field"
  • Description:

    It all started in 1946, when Hayley Mills was given her mother's maiden name. Now that spelling is in third place, after Hailey and Haley, with all three adding up to one of the most popular names in the country. Hayley is the most used spelling in Australia.

KristianHeart

  • Origin:

    Danish and Greek variation of Christian
  • Description:

    Variation of Christian.

GuillermoHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of William
  • Description:

    As with Guillaume (see above), Liam, Willem, and Wilhelm, everyday Williams in their own countries, Guillermo is a captivating possibility here. Giermo, Gigermo, Gijermo, Gillermo, Gillirmo, Giyermo, Guermillo, Guiermo Guilermón, Guille, Guillelmo, Guillermino, Guillo, Guirmo, Gullermo, Llermo, Memo, Quillermo.

TristenHeart

  • Description:

    Variation of Tristan.

KianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Modern invented name
  • Description:

    Kiana (or more appropriately, Quiana) is the original polyester name, now falling fast out of favor.

DangeloHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Deangelo
  • Description:

    Even less popular than the rarely-used Deangelo. This spelling is likely helped by singer-songwriter and record producer D'Angelo.

MarisolHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish, contracted form of Maria de la Soledad
  • Meaning:

    "Mary of Solitude"
  • Description:

    Marisol is a favorite Spanish name for girls, and an excellent candidate to cross the culture line, a la Soledad and Paz.