Names that Peaked in 2002

  1. Emily
    • Origin:

      Feminine variation of Emil, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "rival"
    • Description:

      Emily may have dropped somewhat in the current standings, but it was the most popular girls' name for over a decade because it appeals on many levels: Emily is feminine, classic, simple, pretty, and strong. Emily is Number 1 among Gen Z names. It also has those nice literary namesakes, like Emily Dickinson and Emily Brontë.
  2. Kaia
    • Origin:

      Latin, Scandinavian, or Hawaiian
    • Meaning:

      "to rejoice or sea"
    • Description:

      The new Maia, the next Kayla, Kaia has been on the charts since the year 2000. You might see it as a female form of the also-rising Kai, which means sea in Hawaiian and is sometimes used for girls as well, or as a Kardashianization of the ancient goddess name Caia.
  3. Cole
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "swarthy, coal black"
    • Description:

      Cole -- a short name that embodies a lot of richness and depth -- has long been associated with the great songwriter Cole Porter. It's quite popular in Scotland.
  4. Blake
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "fair-haired, dark"
    • Description:

      Blake -- an early unisex option -- dropped out of the Top 100 in 2017 for the first time since 1988, but remains a sophisticated choice. And yes, both conflicting meanings of Blake are accurate. It originated as a surname in England derived from a nickname. Much of its masculine image was influenced by the wealthy, silver-haired character Blake Carrington in the massively popular 80s TV series Dynasty. Rosie O'Donnell has a son named Blake.
  5. Jade
    • Origin:

      Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "stone of the side"
    • Description:

      As a precious stone, Jade is known for its cool green hues, its importance in Chinese art, and its ability to transmit wisdom, confidence, and clarity. As a name however, Jade is a 90’s throwback in the UK, a Number 1 choice in France, and a returning gem in the US right now.
  6. Blaise
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "to lisp, stammer"
    • Description:

      As modern as it sounds, Blaise is an ancient Christian martyr name. In Arthurian legend, Blaise is the name of Merlin the Magician's secretary. Its relation to the word and name Blaze gives it a fiery feel. Amanda Beard named her baby boy Blaise Ray.
  7. Jacob
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      Biblical Jacob ceded his Number 1 spot to biblical Noah, in 2013, after holding first place on the list of baby boy names from 1999 to 2012, given a huge boost by the Twilight phenomenon.
  8. Joshua
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "the Lord is my salvation"
    • Description:

      Joshua, a Top 10 name from 1983 until 2010, has dropped out of the Top 50 but manages to present a relaxed, attractive image, with a bit of the Old West mixed in with its biblical persona.
  9. Riley
    • Origin:

      English, Irish
    • Meaning:

      "rye clearing; courageous"
    • Description:

      Riley -- one of the most popular unisex names -- is trendier now for girls though for boys it's a classic, ALWAYS ranking in the US Top 1000.
  10. Aaliyah
    • Origin:

      Variation of Aliya, Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "heavens, highborn, exalted"
    • Description:

      Both powerful and pretty, with a melodic sound, Aaliyah joins Layla, Lila, Dana, and Farrah as a name of Arabic origin that is also popular in the English-speaking world.
  11. Cael
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "slender"
    • Description:

      Cael is the name of the angel of the zodiac sign of Cancer and also of a warrior of Irish mythology. Its ascendance to the Top 1000 over the past decade probably has to do with its similarity to Cale and Kale (and Kyle and Cayden etcetera).
  12. Madison
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "son of Matthew"
    • Description:

      Since we wrote a book called Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana, encouraging parents to move beyond overused names, it's no secret what we think of this trendy surname name, inspired by a mermaid named Madison in the 1980s movie Splash.
  13. Faith
    • Origin:

      Virtue name
    • Description:

      Faith is one of the most straightforward of the virtue names popularized by the Puritans in the seventeenth century, many parents still choosing it as an indicator of their religious conviction. Faith peaked in 2002 at Number 48.
  14. Sydney
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "Saint Denis"
    • Description:

      Sydney was a hot girls' name in the 1990s, but she's arguably still cool. One of the original old man names adopted for baby girls, Sydney's popularity may be down but she's not out.
  15. Hana
    • Origin:

      Hebrew, Hawaiian, Maori, Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "grace, work, glow, flower"
    • Description:

      Many things to many peoples: a flower name, also spelled Hanae, to the Japanese; a Czech and Polish short form of Johana; and an alternate form of the biblical name Hannah in the US. It also means "craft, work" in Hawaiian and "glow" in Maori.
  16. Jagger
    • Origin:

      English occupational name
    • Meaning:

      "carter"
    • Description:

      Jagger is a swaggering Rolling Stone of a name that's been picked up by a number of fellow celebs, including Lindsay Davenport and Brett Scallions--while Soleil Moon Frye pulled a gender switch when she bestowed it on her daughter. It's edgy with a touch of danger.
  17. Araceli
    • Origin:

      Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "altar of the sky"
    • Description:

      Once-obscure Spanish name inching back up into the US Top 1000 girl names after a short break. Araceli Segarra is a noted mountain climber.
  18. Halle
    • Origin:

      Norse, male diminutive of Harald
    • Description:

      Until the beautiful actress Halle Berry inspired hundreds of parents to emulate her name, it was the diminutive Swedish families used for their sons christened Harald. Now, in a complete turnaround, it couldn't be more feminine. It is worth noting, however, that its popularity has fallen dramatically since 2002 when it reached a high of 316.
  19. Aldo
    • Origin:

      Italian from German
    • Meaning:

      "old and wise"
    • Description:

      A spirited German name very popular in Italy and occasionally used here, Aldo is one of the unique baby names with international flair. And names that mean wise have an enduring appeal.
  20. Mckenna
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "son of Kenneth"
    • Description:

      Mackenzie begat McKenna - a catchy but very trendy choice. While the Mc or Mac prefix means "son of," this is much more popular as a girl name in the US, peaking at #177 in 2002.