Gender: Female Meaning of Jennifer: "white shadow, white wave" Origin of Jennifer: Cornish variation of Welsh Guinevere Jennifer's Popularity in 2019: #393

Jennifer Origin and Meaning

The name Jennifer is a girl's name of Cornish origin meaning "white shadow, white wave".

Jennifer is the Cornish variation of Guinevere, which ultimately derived from the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar. It has been in use in the English-speaking world since the 18th century but came to prominence in the 20th. Playwright George Bernard Shaw chose Jennifer for the name of his leading lady in his play The Doctor’s Dilemma, which drew more attention to the name.

Jennifer was the top name of the 1970s, when there were close to 800,000 Jennifers born: No wonder there are now online support groups for grown-up Jens who have suffered a lack of personal identity. These days Jennifer has fallen out of the Top 100 though it's forever a pretty-sounding name.

Many modern parents opt for Jenna over Jennifer, though Jenna too is losing steam. Jenny and Jennie are forever appealing if not exactly stylish short forms; Jenifer is an alternate spelling.

One name that's taking over where Jennifer left off is Genevieve. Another idea for Jennifer lovers in search of an alternative: the perennially appealing Jane. Or even the original Welsh Guinevere.

Bill and Melinda Gates are the parents of a Jennifer. Wonder how she feels with a sister named Phoebe and a brother called Rory?

16 names similar to Jennifer

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Jennifer. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Jennifer, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

Find other names based on Jennifer using our baby name generator.


Rank in US: #393

- this week

Famous People Named Jennifer

Pop Culture References for the name Jennifer

Jennifer's International Variations

Genoveva (Spanish) Ginevra, Genoveffa (Italian) Genowefa (Polish)


snowsbeloved Says:


But you have to admit, Ginnifer, as in Ginnifer Goodwin, is innovative and managed to avoid tacky territory.

snowsbeloved Says:


Ehhh, Mary has regained its freshness, I think. In 20 some years, Jennifer will probably do the same.

Isabella_188 Says:


Such a nice sounding name. :)

Isabella_188 Says:


Same with "Mary"...

Isabella_188 Says:


Oh, please. Jennifer isn't too long! Elizabeth is 9 letters, and no one complains about that.

jenncait Says:


My name, and I have only met maybe 2 people with the same name in my 23 years...amongst the 20 Jessica's, Sarah's and Amy's I went to school with...perhaps Jennifer just isn't as popular where I'm from!

I'm a Banana Says:


8 letters isn't too long. 11 letters? That's too long. That aside I do hate this name.

Smollie Says:


I actually really like this name. I don't know anyone with this name, which might be surprising to hear. Plus, I really like the nicknames Jen and Jenny - both have a cool but vintage feel to me.

burg123 Says:


Why though? It's not even a pretty name.

Nicole Says:


We named our daughter Jennifer and call her Jenni or Jen. Her grandmother and my cousin are also named Jennifer so there's a few in our family! My husband was the one who actually named her though and I had a choice of veto and didn't use it. Now it is really unusual, so much so that we can barely ever find Jennifer stamped things like names for her door etc.

Samsonite Says:


Such an overused name; have no idea why anyone ever did use it (then, once it was clearly so popular) or would now. Aside from its overuse, it just isn't particularly pretty, and it's too long.

bordercollie Says:


I actually really love Jennifer. It's soft, but strong, and really pretty. Sad that it was so overused.

abertawe Says:


Come on, there is a lot of nostalgia around the 50s. Why assume this person celebrates racism?

kiwipop Says:


Sorry, that's not what I meant, I was talking about pop culture, clothing, etc

htw Says:


How were the 50s the best generation? Mmm segregation!

htw Says:


I think it needs to rest for at least 20 more years

jchew823 Says:


Unfortunately, I was one of the 800,000 Jennifers born in the 1970’s. I can’t begin to tell you how many Jennifers I graduated High School with. And even though my Father was the parent who gave me the name, and told me why he did, I still haven’t grown to like it after all these years. Which of course doesn’t please my Father.

Maybe it’s because it was such a common name when I was growing up. My brother actually wanted to name his eldest daughter after me. Not because I’m his favorite (and only) sister, but because he realized how uncommon the name is now, and wanted to try to bring the name back into popularity. He didn’t do it (thank God). Instead he gave his eldest daughter the MIDDLE name of Jennifer, which I think doesn’t go too well with her first name but it isn’t my kid!!! To this day, I still don’t know if I should be honored by the fact that my brother did this, or sort of think that this child is cursed that one of her names is the one I have disliked most of my life.

Jenn Terry Says:


I've grown to love my name. I hated it growing up because it was so common. I was among the hundreds of thousands of Jennifers born in the late 1970's. There were 5 Jennifers in my graduating class. The fact that there is an online support group for Jennifers is a bit ridiculous. YOU define your own self-identity. Your name is just the beginning.

I like the nickname Jenn or Jenna a little better, but I love Welsh names and think it's very pretty.

Impwood Says:


I actually like this name. I wouldn't use it because I do not absolutely love the way it sounds, but I see it as a lovely Welsh name with a wonderful meaning.

RoddyThlayli Says:


I don't dislike the name Jennifer, but I've met two where I live (Canada) in a fairly small, out of the way, farmer-type community.

zzyzx Says:


dated, but if you named your kid this she`d probably be the only one.

headintheclouds Says:


If I look at Jennifer purely without knowledge of its popularity in the 80s and just appreciated it for its aesthetics, I would actually really like the name. It sounds quirky, fun and weighty all at once, with a lovely meaning and an interesting background + roots. I can see how parents in the 80s would have found it pretty and named their daughter Jennifer without realizing the sheer magnitude of its prevalence, especially without Internet back in the day. Nowadays, I think the Jennifer phenomenon has made this name very, very overexposed and as a result it seems time-stamp dated and tired, but I would bet that one or two generations from now, there'd be lots of little Jennifers running around once again, as the name starts sounding fresh again, and Jennifers start becoming grandmothers with namesake granddaughters!

Jannifer Jones Cohen Says:


My name is Jannifer -- a different variation. My mom had named me Jennifer Jones after the movie star but didnt like the nick name Jenny so changed the e to an a shortly thereafter. This name has remained quite different through all the variations for 66 years. I like my name as I like being different. There were not many Jennifers when I was growing up either. But the 80's did change that!

Jennifer Kelly Says:


Hey! I may take offence. BTW, I was born in '93.

kiwipop Says:


I actually think that the name Jen by itself sounds better.

mabespark Says:


This has the coolest meaning, but it feels stale and leftover from the '80s.

jtay07 Says:


This is my name and I love it. Just because a name is or was very common doesn't mean it isn't a nice name. I don't mind meeting other Jen's.

raevynstar Says:


I really like it! Sure, it was an epidemic in the 80s, but it would be refreshing now (as opposed to another Ava).

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Way too common. But I hate Gennifer even more. I do like the variations Jeniffer and Jenifer.

MaryKathryn Says:


This name is so "been there, done that"