Top Names that Peaked in 1998
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:Victoria is the Latin word for “victory” and a feminine form of Victor. It is the name of the ancient Roman goddess of victory, the equivalent of the Greek Nike, and also a popular third century saint. Queen Victoria, for whom the Victorian Era is named, ruled over England for over sixty-three years.
Description:Hannah originated as a variation of the Hebrew name Channah, derived from the word channan, meaning "grace." In the Old Testament, Hannah is the mother of Samuel. Names including Anne, Anna, Nancy, Anya, Annika, and Annabel are all related to Hannah. Alternate spellings such as Hana, Hanna, and Chana are also used.
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:Hebrew, feminization of Samuel
Meaning:"told by God"
Description:The origins of Samantha are not entirely clear, although it is commonly thought to be a feminization of Samuel with the suffix derived from the Greek anthos, meaning “flower.” Samantha has been in English-speaking use since the eighteenth century, particularly in the American South, and drew attention via Grace Kelly's Tracy Samantha Lord character in High Society, featuring the song "I love you, Samantha.”
Origin:English variation of Magdalen
Meaning:"high tower or woman from Magdala"
Description:This lovely name with a soft and delicate image is an old-fashioned favorite that returned to favor in the 1990's, combining a classic pedigree with a cute nickname option: Maddy.
Description:Chase, with its sleek and ultraprosperous aura, is redolent of the worlds of high finance and international banking. Chase has been well used during the last few decades, seen as a character on 24 and on several young-audience shows.
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Nathaniel was derived from the Hebrew name Netan’el, meaning “gift of God,” composed of the elements natan, meaning “to give,” and ’el, in reference to God. The name is featured several times in the Old and New Testaments, typically spelled Nathanael. In the New Testament, Nathanael is also known by his other name, Bartholomew.
Origin:Greek, feminine variation of Anastasios
Description:Anastasia is the feminine form on Anastasius, a Greek name derived from the word anastasis, meaning "resurrection." It was a common name among early Christians, who often gave it to daughters born around Christmas or Easter. There are handful of saints named Anastasia, including the patron saint of weavers.
Meaning:"law enforcer, bailiff"
Description:Bailey -- a jaunty surname -- was first used for a female TV character in 1978 in the show WKRP in Cincinnaati, then caught on big time. Bailey's still an appealing choice, though, and a celebrity fave. Parents of daughters named Bailey include Scot Baio and Stella McCartney.
Origin:English variation of Alicia
Description:Alyssa was in the Top 20 from 1997-2010 and peaked as the 11th most popular girls’ name in 1998 and 1999 but has become less popular in recent years. It's related to the flower alyssum as well as to the classic Alice and variants. Alyssa Milano helped give it a bounce back when she was still a child sitcom star.
Origin:Spelling variation of Nicholas
Meaning:"people of vistory"
Description:Nicolas is the French and Spanish form, or streamlined spelling, of Nicholas, popularized by actor Nicolas Cage.
Origin:Welsh, variation of Griffith
Description:Griffin is one of the newer and most appealing of the two-syllable Celtic surnames. In English, griffin is the name of a mythological creature, half eagle, half lion. It re-entered the list in 1983 after an absence of 75+ years.
Origin:Spanish variation of Xavier
Description:One of the most popular Spanish names for boys in the US, Javier is embodied for many Americans in the magnetic persona of Spanish-born Oscar-nominated actor Javier Bardem.
Origin:Spanish and Portuguese variation of George
Description:The classic Jorge is one of the most popular and classic Spanish names for boys in the US. Some Latine families pronounce it the same way as George.
Meaning:"the Lord is my teacher; or drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
Description:Thanks to Mariah Carey, everyone now knows this name – and is aware that Mariah's pronounced with a long i – just as Maria was in the Jane Austen era. And though Mariah now sounds modern, it was heard as far back as 1550 in Great Britain.
Meaning:"house steward, dispenser of provisions"
Description:Spencer is a name that has everything: it's both distinguished sounding and accessible, dignified but Spencer Tracy-like friendly. Picked by several celebrities (a couple of times even for a girl), adding up to an enthusiastically recommended choice.
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.
Description:Jared is an Old Testament name that has been popular for decades--it was revived in the sixties via TV westerns-- and is still an appealing option.
Origin:French variation of Magdalen
Meaning:"woman from Magdala or high tower"
Description:Madeleine is the French spelling preferred by parents who like to put the proper point on things, though the one used by the little girl who lives in the old house in Paris all covered in vines is Madeline.
Origin:Spanish and Portuguese
Description:Esmeralda came into use as an applied use of the Spanish word for emerald, esmeralda. In the 1831 Victor Hugo novel Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the heroine was born Agnes, but called La Esmeralda in reference to the jewel she wears around her neck. The name Esmeralda got increased visibility via the Disney version of the story.
Origin:French variation of Celeste
Description:French-Canadian singer Dion made us notice this variation. Although many parents would prefer the homonym Selene, which has a different derivation and means "moon," Celine has been a Top 1000 name every year since 2012, and was also on the list each year from 1994 to 2005. Celine is also a newly-chic French fashion label.
Origin:Spelling variation of Hannah
Description:This simplified version is not nearly as popular as the original (it also destroys a perfectly good palindrome), and has been on the decline in recent years.
Origin:Spelling variation of Michaela
Meaning:"who is like God"
Description:Less-traditional variation of Michaela that's found more popularity than the original. The appeal for many parents is that this spelling clarifies pronunciation and also offers two names in one, incorporating the popular Kayla. While Makayla is the most popular version, all forms of the name are now dropping in the polls.
Origin:Variation of Nicholas
Description:Nikolas is a sleek and international spelling of this longtime favorite, chosen by parents who might like the Nik or Niko short form.
Origin:Spelling variation of Allison
Description:The original Allison was a Top 50 name from the 1980s through 2016, and Allyson is one of the many spelling variations parents used to put a more unique spin on the original.
Description:Despite being one of the rare boy names that mean life, Chaim barely survived early Jewish immigration, being watered down to Hyman and Hymie. Today, the original seems like the most promising form of the name, familiar thanks to bestselling author Chaim Potok.
Origin:Variation of Nathaniel
Description:Nathaniel is a wonderful classic name and Nathanael, which may be an ancient Greek or Hebrew form, is appealing and has gravitas but may prove needlessly confusing in the modern world.
Origin:Diminutive of Tracy
Description:Undoubtedly inspired by country singer Trace Adkins, it has dropped in recent years.
Meaning:"one who hunts"
Description:This surname gained momentum in the 1990s, when it was particularly in vogue for males. However, it seems to be experiencing a surge for females—it was one of the fastest-rising names of 2013, jumping 266 spots back into the Top 1000.