Heard or read 9/23

  1. Adam
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "son of the red earth"
    • Description:

      Adam -- a primal Old Testament name -- was revived as a 1960s cowboy name. Adam is not as popular as it once was and feels ready for a respite, replaced by newer A names like Aidan/Aiden, Avery and Axel. Its most prominent current bearers include Adams Sandler, Levine, Brody and Driver -- who plays a character named Adam on Girls.
  2. Adrian
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "man of Adria"
    • Description:

      Adrian is one of those names that’s easy to picture on all kinds of people. From an active and energetic five-year-old to your great grandpa, from the coolest, breeziest guy you know, to the quiet, serious one, it’s no wonder Adrian has always made the US Top 500 since the early 20th century.
  3. Alex
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Alexander, Alexis
    • Meaning:

      "defending men"
    • Description:

      The independent Alex has become a classic in its own right. One of the truest unisex names, Alex is used almost equally for both sexes. Alex is used both on its own and as a short form of formal names of both genders, such as Alexander, Alexandra, and Alexis.
  4. Alice
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "noble"
    • Description:

      Alice is a classic literary name that's both strong and sweet, ranking in the US Top 100 and popular throughout the western world. Alice is derived from the Old French name Aalis, a diminutive of Adelais that itself came from the Germanic name Adalhaidis, which is composed of the Proto-Germanic elements aþala, meaning "noble," and haidu, "kind, appearance, type."
  5. Alison
    • Origin:

      Norman French, diminutive of Alice
    • Description:

      Alison has been long popular in Scotland and widely used here since the fifties; this more feminine medieval derivative of Alice had long surpassed the original in popularity. But now sounds a tad dated in the U.S., with Alice having leapfrogged back over Alison, Alicia and other variations. Allison is the only variant still ahead of the stylish Alice.
  6. Allen
    • Origin:

      English and Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "handsome, cheerful"
    • Description:

      Allen is the spelling of this name -- other common spellings are Alan and Allan -- most associated with the surname; it might also be the most appropriate if you're trying to steer clear of Al as a nickname, as this can easily offer you Len or Lenny as options.
  7. Amanda
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "she must be loved"
    • Description:

      Amanda may no longer be the most popular girls' name in her class, but she is still among the prettiest and has a lovely meaning. Amanda was one of the romantic-sounding girls’ names that rocketed to stardom in the eighties, along with Samantha, Vanessa, et al.
  8. Amelia
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "work"
    • Description:

      Amelia is one of the hottest girls' names, a successor to the megapopular Emma and Emily. Amelia, which spent several years at Number 1 in England, is now comfortably ensconced in the US Top 10.
  9. Anderson
    • Origin:

      English from Scandinavian
    • Meaning:

      "son of Anders"
    • Description:

      Anderson shot up quite a bit on the popular names list in the 2000's, no doubt in large part due to the prominence of white-haired cable newsman Anderson Cooper. Perhaps surprisingly though, Anderson was even higher on the list in 1880. Actress Edie Falco named her son Anderson in 2005. Though there haven't been many first-named Anderson namesakes, there have been countless notables bearing the surname, including Hans Christian, Marian, Maxwell, Sherwood, Gillian, Laurie, and Pamela.
  10. Angel
    • Origin:

      Spanish and English
    • Meaning:

      "angel, messenger"
    • Description:

      Angel is one of those names that has a very different trajectory for girls and boys. As a female name, it was most popular in the US from the 1970s until the turn of this century, almost breaking into the Top 100 at its peak in 2001 but then beginning a long slide down the list.
  11. Aqua
    • Origin:

      Color name
    • Description:

      One of the new color names that is catching on, invoking a calm, blue-green-sea feeling.
  12. Ariel
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "lion of God"
    • Description:

      Ariel is a male Biblical name, seen there as the messenger of Ezra, and also used as a symbolic name for the city of Jerusalem, while Shakespeare used it for a (male) sprite in The Tempest.
  13. Aurora
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "dawn"
    • Description:

      The goddess name Aurora has consistently been on the US popularity list since the nineteenth century, but has really taken off in the past 30 years. Aurora also enjoys remarkable international popularity, ranking in the Top 100 throughout the English-speaking world as well as in Italy, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, and several other European and Latin American countries.
  14. Austin
    • Origin:

      English, shortened form of Augustine, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "great, magnificent"
    • Description:

      Austin is one of the most attractive city names for babies, with an appealing southwestern feel and place-name panache.
  15. Airlia
    • Blue
      • Origin:

        Color name
      • Description:

        Among the coolest of the cool color names, particularly popular with celebs as a unisex middle name.
    • Bruce
      • Origin:

        Scottish and English from French
      • Meaning:

        "from the brushwood thicket"
      • Description:

        Bruce is a Norman place name made famous by the Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who won Scotland's independence from England in the fourteenth century. It's perennially popular in Scotland, but has been rarely used here for a generation -- though the impact of Bruces Lee, Springsteen, Dern and Willis, as well as Batman's Bruce Wayne -- still lingers. At one time Bruce was so widespread in Australia, it became a nickname for any Ozzie man. An interesting alternative is Brix, the Normandy place name where the Bruce family originated.
    • Bryan
      • Origin:

        Variation of Brian, Irish
      • Meaning:

        "strong, virtuous, and honorable"
      • Description:

        An alternate spelling of Brian, Bryan's one of the most enduring of Irish imports. Bryan is now slightly more popular than the original, with associations to Bryan Cranston, Bryan Ferry and Bryan Brown.
    • California
      • Origin:

        Place-name
      • Description:

        Has not caught on as much as other Golden State place-names -- Sierra, Marin, West, or even Francisco -- probably because of its length.
    • Carina
      • Origin:

        Italian
      • Meaning:

        "dear little one"
      • Description:

        Carina is a pretty feminissima name whose fall from popularity may be speeded by similarity to (hurricane name) Katrina.