Cool Midcentury Baby Names

Cool Midcentury Baby Names

Cool baby names from the middle of the 20th century are coming into style on the heels of midcentury houses and furniture.

True, some baby names popular from the 1940s through into the 60s may feel like dowdy, overplayed Baby Boomer names just heading into retirement and not due back in style for another generation or two.

But some cool guy and girl midcentury names, with their sleek lines and no-nonsense feel, are starting to feel fresh again to the adventurous baby namer.

Midcentury girl names that feel cool right now include Billie, Betty, and Margo. Cool midcentury boy names include Hal, Mack, and Ray.

Check out this list of midcentury baby names trending in 2024, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

RELATED:

Vintage Baby Names

Top 1950s Baby Names

  1. RoseHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "rose, a flower"
    • Description:

      Rose is derived from the Latin rosa, which referred to the flower. There is also evidence to suggest it was a Norman variation of the Germanic name Hrodohaidis, meaning "famous type," and also Hros, "horse". In Old English it was translated as Roese and Rohese.
  2. JaneHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      No, we don't consider Jane too plain. In fact, for a venerable and short one-syllable name, we think it packs a surprising amount of punch, as compared to the related Jean and Joan.
  3. SallyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Sarah
    • Meaning:

      "princess"
    • Description:

      Sally is a cheerful, fresh-faced girl-next-door name that was originally a nickname for Sarah, but has long been used independently. Sally was popular in the eighteenth century and then again from the 1920s to the 1960s--it was just outside the Top 50 around 1940. Though it hasn't been heard as a baby name for decades, we can see Sally bouncing back, especially after her exposure as young Ms. Draper on Mad Men--the Nameberries rank it at Number 621, and it's a Top 100 name in Sweden.
  4. LouiseHeart
    • Origin:

      French and English, feminine variation of Louis
    • Meaning:

      "renowned warrior"
    • Description:

      Louise has for several decades now been seen as competent, studious, and efficient—desirable if not dramatic qualities. But now along with a raft of other L names, as well as cousin Eloise, Louise is up for reappreciation—sleek and chic, stylish in Paris, and starting to become so in the US as well. Louisa is perhaps more in tune with the times, but Louise has more edge. Louise has been on the rise lately, and reentered the US Top 1000 for the first time in a quarter century in 2016.
  5. JuneHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "young"
    • Description:

      June, a sweetly old-fashioned month name derived from the goddess Juno, was long locked in a time capsule with June Allyson (born Ella) and June Cleaver, but is rising again especially as a middle name.
  6. FrancesHeart
    • Origin:

      English from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "from France; free man"
    • Description:

      Frances, a soft and gentle classic last popular a hundred years ago, is trending again. The cool nickname Frankie is one reason for the revival of Frances, adding lightness and sass to a serious name. Frances is the feminine form of Francis, the English variation of the Latin name Franciscus. Franciscus, meaning "Frenchman," was taken from the Germanic tribe the Franks, which got its name from the francisca, the axe they used in battle. Until the seventeenth century, the spellings Frances and Francis were used interchangeably for both sexes.
  7. RayHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Raymond
    • Meaning:

      "wise protector"
    • Description:

      Ray, still and forever, is one of the all-time hippest boys' names, with its jazzy Ray Charles biopic overtones. It's one of the coolest middle names), but works perfectly fine as a first.
  8. BonnieHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "beautiful, cheerful"
    • Description:

      Bonnie is an adorable nickname name, heading back up the popularity list after a 50-year nap. A Top 100 girls' name throughout the rest of the English-speaking world, Americans are later to jump on the Bonnie bandwagon but now it's trending here too.
  9. HarrietHeart
    • Origin:

      English variation of French Henriette
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Harriet has long been considered a stylish, upscale name in England, but it's still waiting to be revived in the US—though some parents seeking a solid, serious semi-classic are beginning to consider it.
  10. RuthHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "compassionate friend"
    • Description:

      Ruth, with its air of calm and compassion, was the third most popular name in the 1890s, remaining in the Top 10 through the 1920s. It's still in use today as some parents tiring of Rachel and Rebecca are giving Ruth a second thought. Some see such Old Testament girls’ names as Ruth and Esther rising on the heels of boy equivalents Abel and Moses.
  11. BillieHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Wilhelmina, Wilma
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      Billie is a tomboy nickname name, part of the growing trend for using boyish nicknames for girls and now destined for stardom along with its most famous contemporary bearer, music sensation Billie Eilish.
  12. DeanHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "church official"
    • Description:

      Dean may sound to some like a retro surfer boy name, but it is once again climbing up the popularity chart in the USA. For decades it was associated with Dean (born Dino) Martin; more recent representatives include Dean Cain, Dean McDermott and Dean Koontz -- not to mention Jared Padalecki's dreamy Dean Forester in Gilmore Girls.
  13. EdieHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Edith
    • Meaning:

      "prosperous in war"
    • Description:

      Edie is part of the Evie-Ellie et al family of cute and friendly short forms that sometimes stand on its own. Briefly popular in the 1960s, it could well be due for rediscovery. It's already a fashionable choice in the UK, where it has ranked just outside the Top 100 for several years.
  14. JayHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "jaybird"
    • Description:

      Though this feels like a modern invention, Jay has been in use for centuries. Early Jays often were named in honor of founding father John Jay, whose surname derived from the jaybird. A popular mid-century choice, Jay was in the Top 100 from 1956 to 1970. In the last couple of decades he was replaced by such more elaborate forms as Jayden, Jaylen, and Jayce. But Jay could make a comeback in tandem with cousins May, Kay, Fay, and Ray.
  15. EveHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "life"
    • Description:

      Eve, the oldest name in the Book, is now coming back into style, having the virtues of simplicity and purity, yet with more strength and resonance than other single-syllable names like Ann. British actor Clive Owen chose Eve for his daughter, as did Jessica Capshaw.
  16. NancyHeart
    • Origin:

      English diminutive of Ann
    • Meaning:

      "grace"
    • Description:

      Nancy originated as a contraction of "mine Ancy," with Ancy being a nickname for Annis, a Medieval English variation of Agnes. In the 18th century it began being used in its own right, as well as a nickname for Ann. Related names include Nan, Nance, Nanette, Nanny, and Nanou.
  17. HelenHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "torch; shining light"
    • Description:

      Helen is a name that has connoted beauty since ancient times – Helen of Troy was the the mythological "face that launched a thousand ships," over whom the ten-year Trojan War was fought.
  18. BeaHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Beatrice
    • Meaning:

      "she who brings happiness"
    • Description:

      Bea is a former old lady name that's cute again as a short form -- and is now beginning to stand on its own. Bee is a variation that, like Bea, can work as a diminutive for any name that starts with the letter B, or in the middle. Bea actually stood alone on the popularity lists for four years at the beginning of the twentieth century--and it could happen again.
  19. KitHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Katherine
    • Meaning:

      "pure"
    • Description:

      Kit is a crisp, old-time British-accented unisex nickname that sounds fresh and modern today. Kitty is another so-retro-it's-cool nickname.
  20. JeanHeart
    • Origin:

      English and Scottish, from French variation of Johanna
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      Originally a feminine of John, Jean was popular in Scotland long before it found favor elsewhere, and had its most shining moment here in the era of Jean Harlow (born Harlean), ultimate symbol of silver screen glamour. Now, though there are many grandmas and even moms with the name, it doesn't seem all that baby-friendly. Though that could change, and Jean could join Jane.