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Top 1940s Baby Names

Top 1940s Baby Names
Names from the 1940s' Top 100 may be one generation shy of sounding cool today. Today’s grandparent names such as Brenda and Barbara, Roger and Ronald, each peaked in this decade.

Along with Barbara and Ronald, other 1940s baby names that remain in the US Top 1000 include Bonnie, Dorothy, Eugene, Frank, Judith, Larry, Roy, and Virginia. The names that have dropped the farthest in popularity include Phyllis, Gail, Peggy, and Cheryl.

Many of the names from this decade are classics that were revived for the first generation of post-World War II babies, the oldest Baby Boomers. Expect to start hearing them on babies again in 20 years, when baby names from the 1940s will be a century old and so ready to return to style.
  1. AliceHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "noble"
    • Description:

      Alice was derived from the Old French name Aalis, a diminutive of Adelais that itself came from the Germanic name Adalhaidis. Adalhaidis, from which the name Adelaide is also derived, is composed of the Proto-Germanic elements aþala, meaning "noble," and haidu, "kind, appearance, type." Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland popularized the name in modern times.
  2. LouisHeart
    • Origin:

      German and French
    • Meaning:

      "renowned warrior"
    • Description:

      Kate and William shocked the world when they announced that they'd named their third child Louis -- Prince Louis Arthur Charles, to be more precise. But we've been predicting a comeback for this classic name for a long time.
  3. HenryHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Henry was derived from the French Henri, which ultimately comes from the Germanic name Heimrich, made up of the components heim, meaning "home" or "estate," and rich, meaning "ruler." The most famous wearer is Henry VIII of England, best known for having six wives—two of whom he beheaded for not bearing him sons. It’s been used in the British royal family many times since.
  4. ArthurHeart
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      " bear"
    • Description:

      Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of neglect, now being polished up and restored by some stylish parents, emerging as a top contender among names for the new royal prince.
  5. ThomasHeart
    • Origin:

      Aramaic
    • Meaning:

      "twin"
    • Description:

      Thomas is the Greek variation of the Aramaic name Ta’oma’. It came about because there were too many apostles named Judas; Jesus renamed one Thomas—meaning "twin"—to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and the Judas also known as Thaddeus. At first, it was used only for priests.
  6. JackHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of John
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      Jack is a derivative of John that originated in medieval England. The name went from John to Johnkin to Jankin to Jackin to Jack. The name was so common in the Middle Ages that Jack became a generic term for a man.
  7. 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.
  8. MargaretHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "pearl"
    • Description:

      Margaret is derived from the French Marguerite, which in turn came from Margarita, the Latin form of the Greek Margarites. Margarites was based on the Old Persian word margārīta, meaning "pearl."
  9. PeterHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "rock"
    • Description:

      Peter is derived from the Greek Petros, meaning “rock” or “stone.” One of the most important figures in the Christian hagiography is Saint Peter, keeper of the Gates of Heaven. Born Simon bar Jonah, he was given the nickname Peter by Jesus, to signify that he would be the rock on which Christ would build Christianity. Centuries later, there was Peter the Great, the czar who developed Russia as a major European power.
  10. GeorgeHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "farmer"
    • Description:

      Iconoclasts though we may be, we like Fred, we like Frank, and we like George, which was among the Top 10 from 1830 to 1950, when the number of little Georges started to decline. Solid, strong, royal and saintly, yet friendly and unpretentious, we think that George is in prime position for a comeback, especially since it was chosen by Britain's royal couple.
  11. LawrenceHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "from Laurentium"
    • Description:

      Lawrence has survived from Roman times, when Laurentium was a city noted for its laurel trees (the laurel is a symbol of wisdom and achievement). It was in the Top 50 from the 1890s through the 1950s and the Top 100 for decades longer, always among the most popular boys' names starting with L, but Lawrence is now used less for babies than Landon or Lorenzo. Nickname Lauro perks it up while Larry feels terminally dated. The Laurence spelling was popularized by Sir Laurence Olivier and is also attached to fellow actor Laurence Fishburne.
  12. FrancesHeart
    • Origin:

      English from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "from France; free man"
    • Description:

      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.
  13. EdwardHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "wealthy guardian"
    • Description:

      Unlike perennials William, John and James, Edward is a classic that moves in and out of fashion. This royal Anglo-Saxon standard has benefited in recent years from the popularity of the hot hero of the vampire sensation Twilight — Edward Cullen — who has given his name a new infusion of cool.
  14. CatherineHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "pure"
    • Description:

      Catherine is one of the oldest and most consistently well-used girls’ names, with endless variations and nicknames. The Catherine form feels more gently old-fashioned and feminine than the more popular K versions. Most stylish nickname for Catherine right now: Kate...or Cate, a la Blanchett.
  15. BonnieHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "beautiful, cheerful"
    • Description:

      Bonnie is a word the Scots really do use for pretty, thus the root of this name, from the French bonne. Bonnie is teetering on the edge of a comeback right now, along with Betty and Bea one of the girls' names starting with Bthat are so far out they're heading back in, especially in the UK.
  16. DianaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "divine"
    • Description:

      Diana, the tragic British princess, inspired many fashions, but strangely, not one for her name. For us, Diana is a gorgeous and still-underused choice.
  17. WalterHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "army ruler"
    • Description:

      Walter was seen as a noble name in the Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Walter Scott era, but it then spent decades in baby name limbo. Now quite a few independent-minded parents are looking at it as a renewable, slightly quirky, classic, stronger and more distinctive than James or John, second only to William among the handsome classic boy baby names starting with W. The recent popularity of Breaking Bad has brought us Walter White, conferring on the name Walter a new kind of cool and prompting a fresh wave of popularity.
  18. KennethHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish and Irish
    • Meaning:

      "born of fire, handsome"
    • Description:

      Kenneth may have lost much of its luster now, but Kenneth has had its moments of glory. The first king of Scotland was Kenneth, and Sir Kenneth, a Christian crusader, was the hero of the Sir Walter Scott novel The Talisman.
  19. HarryHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Henry
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Harry is the medieval English form of Henry, which derived from the Germanic name Heimrich, meaning “estate ruler.” Harry was the nickname of all eight King Henrys; it is also a diminutive of Harold and Harrison.
  20. MaryHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew or Egyptian
    • Meaning:

      "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
    • Description:

      Mary is the English form of Maria, which ultimately was derived from the Hebrew name Maryam/Mariam. The original meaning of Maryam is uncertain, but theories include "drop of the sea" (from Hebrew roots mar "drop" and yam "sea"); "bitter" (from Hebrew marah "bitterness"); and "beloved" (from the Egyptian root mr).