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Names that Peaked in 1997

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.

DanteHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin diminutive of Durant
  • Meaning:

    "enduring"
  • 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.

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.

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.

SageHeart

  • 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.

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.

MorganHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • 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.

GrantHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish from French
  • Meaning:

    "large"
  • 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.'

NoelleHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "Christmas"
  • 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.

JordanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "flowing down"
  • 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.

SabrinaHeart

  • 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.

DuncanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "dark warrior"
  • Description:

    Duncan is jaunty, confident, and open, a Scottish royal name that's brimming with friendly charm and makes it into our golden circle of names that are neither too popular nor too strange. Popularity aside, Duncan is one of the most classic Scottish names for boys.

SheaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "the stately, dauntless one"
  • Description:

    The short but solid Irish surname Shea works for both genders; Kevin James has a daughter named Shea. Shay is another possible spelling.

StoneHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Though some may find such names rather harsh and severe, increasing numbers of parents are gravitating toward this kind of flinty, steely, stony single-syllable name.

CullenHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "holly tree"
  • 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.

CheyenneHeart

  • Origin:

    Sioux
  • 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.

JordanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "flowing down"
  • 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.

SaulHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "prayed for"
  • 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."

TannerHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "leather tanner"
  • 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.

KenanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "possession"
  • Description:

    The biblical character Kenan was a great-grandson of Adam and a direct ancestor of Noah. As in Christianity, Kenan is honored in Islam.