Top Names that Peaked in 1997
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:Feminine variation of Emil, Latin
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.
Description:Jordan became one of the top unisex baby names in the heyday of basketball's Michael Jordan, and is still among the most popular unisex names starting with J. The name was originally given to those baptized in holy water brought back by Crusaders from the River Jordan, the only river in Palestine, and the one in which Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.
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.
Origin:English, shortened form of Augustine
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.
Meaning:"sea-born, sea-song or sea-circle"
Description:Morgan has long been a traditional Welsh male name, a variant of the Old Welsh name Morcant, from the Welsh elements mor, meaning “sea” and cant, “circle.” The female Morgan is unrelated to the male version—it is a name from Arthurian legend created for Morgan le Fay, King Arthur's half-sister and famed sorceress. Her name comes from Morgen, an Old Welsh name meaning “sea-born,” and is related to the Irish name Muirgen.
Description:Noelle is the feminine variation of Noël, a masculine given name derived from the French word for "Christmas." As a word, Noël originated as a variant of nael, which evolved from the Latin natalis, meaning "birth." Noelle and Noel have traditionally been given to children born around Christmastime, particularly in the Middle ages.
Origin:Scottish from French
Description:One-time beach-boy compadre of Glenn, Greg, and Gary that originated as a nickname for a tall person, Grant has become a no-nonsense, career-oriented grown-up and one that is seeing new appreciation. It was chosen for his son by actor Morris Chestnut. It has cultural cred via artist Grant Wood, whose best known painting is 'American Gothic.'
Origin:Latin diminutive of Durant
Description:Though closely associated with the great medieval Florentine poet Dante Alighieri -- who's so famous most people skip the last name -- it's not as much of a one-man name as you might think. Heck, it's not even a one-poet name, thanks to British pre-Rapahaelite Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Though especially well used in the Italian-American community, it would make a striking name for any little boy.
Origin:English occupational name
Description:One of the hot two-syllable T names of the nineties (along with Tyler, Trevor, and Taylor), and well represented on soap operas; Tanner is still widely used, but its popularity is declining.
Origin:Spanish and Portuguese variation of Ferdinand
Description:Can you hear the drums Fernando? Although 58% of Nameberries prefer Ferdinand to Fernando, the Iberian variant has a softer, more romantic feel that makes it a better fit with all those Javiers, Lorenzos and Matteos.
Origin:Celtic mythology name; Latin name for the River Severn
Description:Sabrina, the bewitchingly radiant name of a legendary Celtic goddess, is best known as the heroine of the eponymous film, originally played by Audrey Hepburn, and later as a teenage TV witch; it would make a distinctive alternative to the ultrapopular Samantha. Similar names you might also want to consider include Sabina and Serena.
Description:Originally used for children baptized in holy water from the river Jordan, it became one of the leading androgynous names of the nineties. As the balance tips toward the boys' side, it's slipping on the girls' popularity chart. Alternate spelling Jordyn is now more popular for girls.
Origin:Herb name and also Latin
Meaning:"wise and knowing"
Description:Fits many criteria sought by modern parents: it's short and strong, with intimations of wisdom as well as fragrant herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys.
Origin:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese form of Herman, German
Description:Armando takes the flat-footed Herman and makes it romantic. This is another of the Latin names we expect to be seeing more of.
Description:Jewish parents in particular may be drawn to this quiet, composed name of the first king of Israel and the name of Saint Paul before his conversion. In modern times, it has been associated with Nobel Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow. Its meaning makes it appropriate for a long-awaited child.
Saul is a character in a John Dryden poem, and heard in the Handel oratorio, "Saul."
Meaning:"people of a different language"
Description:The name of a courageous tribe, Cheyenne became quite popular in the 1990s, inspiring a wide range of spelling variations—Shyanne is one example that's still on the rise.
Origin:Spelling variation of Reina
Description:This variation is actually more popular in the United States than the original Spanish Reina.
Origin:Feminine variation of Adrian
Meaning:"man of Adria"
Description:A popular spelling variation of Adriana.
Origin:Feminine variation of Michael
Meaning:"who is like God"
Description:This most proper form of the name shot up the charts in the nineties, only to sink just as precipitously, supplanted by upstarts Makayla and McKayla ad infinitum.
Description:Cullen is an appealing Irish surname name that upped its cool factor considerably when it became the Twilight family name of Edward et al. It's considerably less popular than it was at its peak in 2010, but is still widely used.
Origin:Swedish and Finnish variation of Michaela, Hebrew
Meaning:"who is like God"
Description:Variation of Michaela often used in Scandinavian countries.
Origin:Spelling variation of occupational name Bailey
Meaning:"law enforcer, bailiff"
Description:This Bailey variation is the second most popular spelling for girls, and while the -ee ending does make it more feminine, it feels more substantial in the original form. Bailee and Bayley are two other, less common alternatives.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:This modern Julia-Alissa hybrid is now on the decline in popularity.
Description:Hassan is among the more familiar Arabic choices, and also one with an attractive meaning. It has appeared in the US Top 1000 every year since 1971.
Origin:Spelling variation of Bailey
Description:Like other "ee" names, Bailee is starting to lose its shine, slowly slipping down the charts.
Origin:Spanish from Arabic
Meaning:"hidden river, valley of the wolves"
Description:Popular Spanish name that relates to the patron saint of Mexico. It could conceivably, like Soledad and Consuelo, cross the border into multicultural territory, but the name's decline since the nineties would seem to make that less likely.