What’s in a name? That question, once posed by William Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet,” is now being answered every day by parents ushering in (on average) one baby every 8 seconds in the U.S. With that welcome comes the tradition of naming a newborn—and these days, vintage names are coming back strong.
Some of these names almost disappeared from the lexicon altogether, like Audrey, whose association with the word “tawdry” nearly wiped it out of existence. In other cases, it was a single person sporting the name—whether real or fictional—that sent it skyrocketing up the ranking charts.
The Bible has inspired many parents’ naming decisions. Royalty is another common theme throughout, with names of kings, queens, and other heads of state displaying longevity. Iconic literary characters and authors helped a number of these names achieve their peak position in the late 1800s and early 1900s as well.
Stacker consulted the Social Security Administration’s Historical Baby Names database to compile a list of 100 vintage baby names now regaining popularity. The list began with 545 names ranked in the top 200 most popular for at least 10 straight years between 1880 and 1930. Of these names, Stacker selected 100 which ranked lower between 1930 and 2010 than they did in 2018. The names are ranked here by their popularity in 2018.
Along with each name, you’ll find information about where it came from, what it may translate to, some of the more popular historical figures that helped establish its first run up the charts, and why it may be making a comeback today.Keep reading to see if your name is on the list of 100 vintage baby names coming back into style.
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- Today's rank: #304 (1,087 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #143, 1,527 babies born)
A variant of Mildred and Milicent, this name is making a comeback since its 1950s popularity as the moniker for the sexy, red-headed Marvel Comic character Millie the Model, who leaves a small farm town for big-city dreams.
- Today's rank: #302 (1,088 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #146, 11,047 babies born)
In the Bible, Miriam was sister to Aaron and Moses who led a group of women in worship after the parting of the Red Sea. Miriam Shor is famous for making melodies in the off-broadway play “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Miriam Hopkins, a legendary 1930s Hollywood actress, held a long-time notorious feud with Bette Davis.
- Today's rank: #301 (1,094 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #44, 8,691 babies born)
Between 1880 and 1920, Lena remained in the top-100 names for girls—but it was the 1930s actress and singer Lena Horne who brought the name real fame. Modern-day actresses bearing this moniker include HBO stars Lena Dunham from “Girls” and Lena Headey from “Game of Thrones.”
- Today's rank: #292 (1,122 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #52, 7,072 babies born)
Short for Margaret, which means pearl, many A-listers share this name. Famous owners of this surname including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maggie Q, and Maggie Smith.
- Today's rank: #285 (1,156 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #97, 3,194 babies born)
This variant of Catherine has made a comeback since Prince William married Kate Middleton. Russian empress Catherine the Great ruled the empire in the late 1700s. This name, which means “pure,” is shared by actresses Kate Beckinsale, Kate Winslet, and Kate Hudson.
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- Today's rank: #280 (1,178 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1890s (Rank: #35, 16,375 babies born)
The name Elsie means “oath to God.” Singer/songwriter Elsie Janis entertained World War I troops, Elsie MacGill became the first female architect for airliners, and Elsie Locke is a New Zealand children's author best known for “The Runaway Settlers.”
- Today's rank: #270 (1,222 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #88, 3,456 babies born)
Actresses Drew Barrymore and Isla Fisher named their daughters after this green sapling that represents peace and success. Though the name may conjure up thoughts of Popeye’s girlfriend, shortened it reads “Liv,” the name of actress Liv Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
- Today's rank: #257 (1,257 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #65, 28,289 babies born)
Fashion designer Vera Wang and actress Vera Farmiga keep this name on people’s minds. During its height during the late early 1920s, this Russian name, meaning “faith,” might make people think of singer Vera Lynn and actress Vera Miles.
- Today's rank: #254 (1,435 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #162, 841 babies born)
The name Simon, which means “the listener,” is prominent in the Bible and made a comeback in the early 2000s after its mid-1900s popularity spike. Simon Templar was the lead character in the popular book series “The Saint.” Modern-day Simons include rock band Duran Duran’s lead singer Simon LeBon and reality show host Simon Cowell.
- Today's rank: #251 (1,288 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #46, 8,423 babies born)
A variant of Adelaide, this three-letter name means “noble.” Ada Lovelace was the daughter of poet Lord Byron. Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov kept the name in the spotlight in his 1969 novel “Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle.” Actresses Ada Nicodemou and Ada Maris (famous for her role on the sitcom “Nurses”) keep the name alive today.
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- Today's rank: #241 (1,342 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #45, 56,480 babies born)
June Cleaver, the quintessential mother on the 1950s sitcom “Leave it to Beaver,” is strongly associated with this vintage moniker. This Latin-derived name is, in fact, short for Juniper.
- Today's rank: #238 (1,595 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #76, 25,577 babies born)
A Greek variation of Leo, meaning "lion," Leon was most popular in the 1920s and is slowly returning. In the late 1800s, four French prime ministers bore this name. Knox Leon Jolie-Pitt is the son of A-listers Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. In the late 1970s, boxer Leon Spinks beat Muhammed Ali, considered one of boxing's greatest upsets.
- Today's rank: #238 (1,352 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1900s (Rank: #108, 5,949 babies born)
A diminutive of Dolores, this popular baby name is a favorite of celebrities. Kelly Ripa, Annie Lennox, Chris Rock, Charlie Sheen, Carnie Wilson, and Lisa Bonet are just a few famous folks who have daughters named Lola. Before its renaissance, the name was most popular in the early 1900s and enjoyed a boost thanks to 1950s performers Lola Albright and Lola Flores.
- Today's rank: #238 (1,352 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #178, 1,079 babies born)
Television host Al Roker and actors Vincent D’Onofrio and Greta Scacchi all chose the Arabic name Leila (meaning “night”) for their daughters. A variant of Layla—the name of one of singer-songwriter Eric Clapton’s most famous songs—Leila is also the name of a fictional character saved by “Don Juan” in the famous poem by Lord Byron.
- Today's rank: #231 (1,638 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #158, 863 babies born)
Felix, which means “fortunate,” is perhaps best-associated with the 1919 cartoon cat who launched to fame in the animated television show in the 1950s. “The Odd Couple,” character Felix Unger kept the moniker alive in the decades to follow. Felix is also the title of 67 saints and four popes.
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- Today's rank: #229 (1,642 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #14, 16,180 babies born)
Most often associated with King Arthur, the name Arthur peaked in popularity during the late 1800s. Famous Arthurs include tennis player Arthur Ashe, playwright Arthur Miller, and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although this name of Celtic origin means “bear,” the PBS cartoon character Arthur is, in fact, an aardvark.
- Today's rank: #224 (1,395 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #196, 10,304 babies born)
Like Leila, Lila is of Arabic origin, and means “night.” In Hindu lore, its definition loosely translates as “the endlessness of the cosmos” and Leela is Lord Rama’s wife. In Scotland, it’s short for “lilac,” the small purple springtime flowers.
- Today's rank: #223 (1,406 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #85, 3,540 babies born)
The English-origin feminine variation of George, which means "farmer," is shared by painter Georgia O'Keeffe and Georgia Jagger (daughter to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger). Hit songs "Sweet Georgia Brown," and "Georgia on My Mind" have kept the name alive, as well.
- Today's rank: #218 (1,716 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #22, 7,091 babies born)
Charlie, meaning “free man,” is the diminutive of Charles, a name associated with British royalty. Charles, Prince of Wales, will someday succeed Queen Elizabeth to become King of England. American Charlies include comedian Chaplin, journalist Charlie Rose, and saxophonist Charlie Parker have kept this name popular.
- Today's rank: #208 (1,460 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1930s (Rank: #153, 13,711 babies born)
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- Today's rank: #206 (1,945 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #29, 5,982 babies born)
The Oscar statuette, awarded to the top actors and directors in Hollywood, has kept this name in vogue since the Academy Awards premiered in 1929. Other famous Oscars include author Oscar Wilde, “Sesame Street’s” Oscar the Grouch, and Oscar Madison of “The Odd Couple.”
- Today's rank: #192 (1,565 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #131, 1,884 babies born)
Short for Josephine, Josie means “Jehovah increases.” The 1960s fictional rock band Josie and the Pussycats was a pop culture sensation, resurrected in a 2001 motion picture. It’s also the title of a song by the rock band Steely Dan, a 1991 TV series starring Josie Lawrence, and a 2018 film starring Dylan McDermott.
- Today's rank: #190 (1,574 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #146, 1,515 babies born)
Short for Calista and derived from the Greek word for “beautiful,” (spelled Kallista), Callie came was popularized by screenwriter Callie Khouri, who wrote “Thelma and Louise.” Fictional characters include Callie Torres from the modern-day television show “Grey’s Anatomy," and Callie Shaw from the 1920s pop culture sensation book series “The Hardy Boys.”
- Today's rank: #173 (2,241 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1960s (Rank: #88, 42,537 babies born)
The name Dean, which means “church official,” rose sharply in popularity between the 1940s and 1960s, at least in part thanks to iconic singer and comedian Dean Martin. Dean got another boost from James Dean in the 1950s, while today Dean Cain is among the more recognizable celebrities to bear this name.
- Today's rank: #172 (1,692 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #82, 22,830 babies born)
Adapted from the Germanic medieval name Genovefa, meaning “tribe woman,” Genevieve has been climbing in popularity since its lowest ranking in 1968. South African model Genevieve Waite was the mother of the model and singer Bijou Phillips.
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- Today's rank: #170 (2,264 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #83, 2,012 babies born)
August is a shortened version of Augustus, the title given to the first Roman Emperor, Octavian, and means “exalted,” or “venerable.” Other famous Augusts include playwright August Wilson and actor J. August Richards from the television show “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
- Today's rank: #169 (1,702 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #60, 6,054 babies born)
The daisy is a white flower meaning “day’s eye,” because it opens its petals at sunrise. The name received a bump in popularity from the Henry James’ novella “Daisy Miller,” and again during the 1920s from “The Great Gatsby.” Catherine Bach played Daisy Duke on the show “Dukes of Hazzard.” In animation, Daisy Mae is a popular character from “Lil’ Abner,” while Daisy Duck rose to fame in the Looney Tunes world.
- Today's rank: #167 (1,733 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #181, 11,924 babies born)
Eloise comes from the French name Heloise. Saint Eloise, the wife to 12th-century French theologian Peter Abelard, gave the name its start. The name all but disappeared from the charts between 1965 and 2008, but returned thanks in part to the popularity of children’s book character Eloise.
- Today's rank: #164 (2,344 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #155, 6,040 babies born)
Abraham draws its origins from the Old Testament. Among the most famous bearers of this name is Present Abraham Lincoln, who oversaw the abolition of slavery following the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was resurrected for pop culture purposes in the novel and movie, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”
- Today's rank: #154 (2,484 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #166, 820 babies born)
Persian for “bringer of treasure,” Jaspers was one of the Three Wise Men from the New Testament. Artist Jasper Johns became popular in the 1950s for his abstract expressionist work. Jasper received a popularity spike thanks to Jasper Cullen, a vampire from the popular “Twilight” series of books and movies.
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- Today's rank: #153 (1,831 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1900s (Rank: #33, 20,026 babies born)
Queen Esther was the Jewish wife of the king of Persia who risked her life to save her people in the Old Testament. The name Esther gained popularity in the 1800s thanks to Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House.” In 1893, Esther Cleveland was born—the only child of a U.S. president to be born in the White House.
- Today's rank: #143 (2,747 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #80, 24,782 babies born)
Calvin, meaning “bald,” gained popularity as a first name in honor of John Calvin, a leader of the Protestant Reformation. American President Calvin Coolidge and his “Cool Cal” nickname undoubtedly helped move the name up the list. Calvin Broadus Jr. may be the most famous Calvin of all time, though most know him as the rapper “Snoop Dogg.” Designer Calvin Klein, former NFLer Calvin Johnson, and DJ Calvin Harris also keep this name popular.
- Today's rank: #139 (2,052 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1900s (Rank: #174, 2,926 babies born)
Originating as a Spanish form of Elizabeth, and meaning “pledged to God,” Queen Isabel of Castile funded Christopher Columbus’ explorations. Isabel Sanford played Weezy on the 1980s television show “The Jeffersons,” and the name Isabel reached the top 100 for the first time in 1999—one year after Katherine Heigl began playing Isabel Evans on the television show “Roswell.”
- Today's rank: #136 (2,857 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #103, 10,859 babies born)
Taken in part from German, this “greatest” name rose in the early 20th century thanks, in part, to political scientist Max Weber. Boxer Max Schmeling and Hall of Fame basketball coach Max Friedman helped keep the name in the public eye during the 1920s. Fictional characters Max Rockatansky from “Mad Max,” Max Evans of “Roswell,” and Max Medina from “Gilmore Girls” kept the name going in pop culture.
- Today's rank: #133 (2,897 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #162, 20,507 babies born)
Ivan, meaning “God is gracious,” and was popular among rulers of Russia and Bulgaria.Physiologist Ivan Pavlov and writer Ivan Bunin won Nobel Prizes in the early 1900s. Director Ivan Reitman of “Meatballs,” “Stripes,” and “Ghostbusters” fame, helped advance the name to its height in the 1990s.
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- Today's rank: #131 (2,254 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #104, 2,851 babies born)
Elizabeth’s shortened form, Eliza reached its pinnacle in the 1880s, shortly after Eliza McCardle Johnson served as First Lady alongside President Andrew Johnson. Eliza Doolittle popularized the name during the run of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion” in 1912, and again during its adaptation as the musical “My Fair Lady.” Eliza Dushku found fame in the late 1990s on the show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
- Today's rank: #127 (2,312 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1890s (Rank: #3, 37,937 babies born)
Adapted from the Latin margarita, meaning “pearl,” Margaret has a rich history in royalty, with 12 saints and two princesses bearing the name. Margaret Taylor was First Lady of the United States from 1849 to 50, and Margaret Thatcher served as British Prime Minister from 1977 to 1990. Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for her novel, “Gone with the Wind.”
- Today's rank: #123 (2,432 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #16, 74,690 babies born)
The name Rose reached its peak in the early 1900s. Rose Cleveland was First Lady for one year in 1849, sister to President Grover Cleveland. Rose Kennedy, the matriarch of the Kennedy family, was a noted philanthropist and brought the name fame in the 20th century. Today, actresses Rose McGowan and Rose Byrne keep the name popular.
- Today's rank: #116 (3,351 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #74, 52,567 babies born)
Hebrew for “gift of God,” Nathaniel is an alternate spelling for an apostle from the New Testament.Nathaniel Hawthorne penned “The Scarlet Letter” in 1850, while other famous Nathaniels have shortened the name to Nate or Nat. Among the best-known is jazz musician Nat “King” Cole.
- Today's rank: #115 (3,394 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #116, 1,235 babies born)
Taken from an English surname, this moniker means “son of Harry.” As a first name, the most popular bearer is actor Harrison Ford, whose Hollywood credits include the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.
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- Today's rank: #114 (3,416 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1890s (Rank: #140, 1,136 babies born)
Meaning “universal,” Emmett is a masculine version of the German name Emma. Architect Emmett Hull helped make the name more popular in the South in the early 1900s for his many designs around Mississippi. Thirty years later, the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.
- Today's rank: #113 (2,640 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #176, 1,092 babies born)
A French adaptation of the name Isabel (taken from the name Elizabeth) Isabelle means “pledged to God.” The name got its saintly start from Blessed Isabelle of France, who turned down the opportunity to be queen. Isabelle de Merteuil was a featured character, albeit a heartless one, in the 1782 novel “Dangerous Liaisons,” later portrayed on the big screen by Glenn Close.
- Today's rank: #110 (3,479 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #173, 775 babies born)
Derived from Silvanus, the Roman god of trees, Silas was an apostle of Paul in the New Testament. George Eliot (pen name of author Mary Ann Evans) gave the name a boost in 1861 with her novel “Silas Marner.” The name, which means “wood,” or “forest” gained popularity in the early 2000s, thanks to Silas Botwin, a character on Showtime’s “Weeds.”
- Today's rank: #107 (3,552 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #68, 18,285 babies born)
A shortened form of the Roman name Vincentius, meaning “to conquer,” 22 saints bore this name before Vincent gained popularity once more in the 19th century. Artist Vincent van Gogh didn’t become widely known until after his death in 1890, perhaps a reason for the name’s rise in the 1910s. While actors Vincent Price and Vincent D’Onofrio use their full first name, a shortened version has been used by actors Vince Vaughn, Vin Diesel, and fictional A-lister Vince Chase from HBO series “Entourage.”
- Today's rank: #105 (3,609 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1980s (Rank: #97, 31,089 babies born)
Initially a last name meaning “west meadow,” Wesley gained traction as a first name in the 1700s, in honor of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Filmmakers Wes Craven and Wes Anderson have kept viewers entertained for decades, and actor Wesley Snipes has starred in a number of hit films. Fictional character Wesley Wyndham-Pryce was a major character in the 1999 television show “Angel.”
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- Today's rank: #103 (2,877 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #9, 17,717 babies born)
Clara is adapted from the male Latin name Clarus, meaning “clear,” or “bright,” and rose in popularity in the 13th century with Saint Clare of Assisi. When the name Clara peaked in the 1880s, pianist Clara Schumann was attributed to its rise. Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881. During the 1920s, Clara Bow was the “It” girl of the silent film era.
- Today's rank: #100 (2,897 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #92, 36,962 babies born)
Madeline, meaning “high tower,” has origins in the New Testament, adapted from Mary Magdalene. Two major literary works feature characters by this name: Charles Dickens’ “Nicholas Nickleby” and Ludwig Bemelmans’ children’s book “Madeline.”
- Today's rank: #98 (2,929 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #108, 16,179 babies born)
Sophie is a French form of Sophia, Greek for “wisdom” in Greek, popular with European royals. Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for her role in the 1983 film “Sophie’s Choice.” Sophie Turner gave a big bump to the name in recent years, starring as Sansa Stark in the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones.”
- Today's rank: #95 (2,956 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #75, 36,571 babies born)
Taken from the Latin name Vivianus, meaning “alive,” Vivian first gained popularity from Vivian the Enchantress in the Arthurian romances. Julia Roberts’ character Vivian Ward became a pop culture icon in the 1990 hit movie “Pretty Woman.” Celebrities Gisele Bundchen and Melissa McCarthy both have daughters named Vivian. Women’s college basketball star C. Vivian Stringer won more than 1,000 games and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
- Today's rank: #95 (4,001 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1900s (Rank: #90, 2,597 babies born)
From the ancient Germanic name Everard, meaning “brave as a wild boar,” Everett re-entered the top 100 names for boys in 2018 after nearly a century. Though there aren’t many famous Everetts to account for the recent surge, George Clooney’s played a character by this name in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou.” Everett is popular in the American South, with Rhett being a popular nickname after the character from “Gone With the Wind.”
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- Today's rank: #91 (3,023 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #23, 61,356 babies born)
Josephine, the French feminine form of Joseph, meaning “Jehovah increases,” reached peak popularity near the turn of the 20th century in part because of Josephine March, from the 1868 book “Little Women.” More recently, Katie Holmes’ character from the popular show “Dawson’s Creek” used a shortened form (Joey), as did the title character in the 2001 film “Josie and the Pussycats.”
- Today's rank: #89 (3,184 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #79, 3,902 babies born)
Lydia comes from an ancient region of Greece and rose in popular usage during the Protestant Reformation. Two literary Lydias spurred the moniker’s rise in the 1800s, most notably Lydia Bennett from 1813’s “Pride and Prejudice,” and Lydia Smallbury in the 1874 novel “Far from the Madding Crowd.”
- Today's rank: #87 (3,247 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #70, 4,915 babies born)
A diminutive of Sarah, meaning “princess,” the name Sadie has regained popularity in recent years. Sadie may be most recognizable from the Sadie Hawkins Dance, a comic strip-inspired event where girls ask boys to accompany them. Hollywood actress Christina Applegate helped continue its resurgence, naming her daughter Sadie Grace in 2011.Actress Sadie Sink plays Maxine on the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things.”
- Today's rank: #78 (4,675 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1980s (Rank: #22, 195,092 babies born)
Adam means “son of the red earth” in Hebrew, and was the name given to the first man in the Old Testament. Adam West rose to fame in the 1960s as Batman in the television show and movie and had a strong influence on the comic series. Adam ranks in the top 100 names in several other countries as well, led by France, where it is the sixth-most popular name.
- Today's rank: #78 (3,463 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #169, 8,985 babies born)
Adeline is the English form of Adelina, which comes from a Latinized Germanic name meaning “noble.” The name has spiked in usage over recent decades, climbing more than 700 spots in the rankings since 2000. Singer Adele may have contributed to its spike in popularity, as Adele, Lina, and Addy are among this name’s many variations
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- Today's rank: #75 (3,542 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1890s (Rank: #33, 16,460 babies born)
A form of Eve, Eva peaked at #33 in the 1890s thanks to Little Eva, from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 literary classic “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Hebrew for “life,” the name has more recently been popularized by actresses Eva Longoria and Eva Mendes.
- Today's rank: #74 (3,552 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #24, 60,307 babies born)
Ruby became popular in the 19th century, inspired by the dark red gemstone. Ruby Gillis, a character in the 1908 novel “Anne of Green Gables,” helped push the name to its peak in the 1910s. Pop culture has kept the name relevant, from the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” to Renee Zellweger’s Academy Award-winning performance as Ruby Thewes in “Cold Mountain.”
- Today's rank: #73 (3,574 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #23, 11,954 babies born)
From the Greek name Kore for “maiden,” Cora didn’t become an English name until James Fennimore Cooper’s 1826 novel “The Last of the Mohicans.” Cora was outside the top 300 as a name as recently as 2009 when it began climbing the ranks, perhaps thanks to Cora Crawley, a character on the television series “Downton Abbey.”
- Today's rank: #71 (3,643 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #10, 17,142 babies born)
Alice is derived from the French name Aalis meaning “noble.” Lewis Carroll’s renowned novels “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” helped send this name to unprecedented heights in the 1880s. Pulitzer Prize-winner author Alice Walker, rocker Alice Cooper, and the loveable maid from “The Brady Bunch” have all kept this name popular through the years.
- Today's rank: #64 (3,821 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #134, 12,030 babies born)
Naomi comes from the Hebrew for “pleasantness,” and was the mother-in-law of Ruth in the Old Testament. Naomi is symbolically remembered on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot when the book of Ruth is read. Modern-day Naomis include Naomi Judd, Naomi Watts, and Naomi Campbell have helped the name retain its popularity since 1990.
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- Today's rank: #60 (5,953 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #31, 128,341 babies born)
Meaning “exalted,” Aaron was the older brother of Moses in the Bible and served as the first high priest of the Israelites. Aaron Burr famously defeated Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. More recently, actors Aaron Eckhart and Aaron Paul have kept the name in the public’s mind, though it’s consistently been in the top 50 for boys since 1971.
- Today's rank: #58 (6,027 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #184, 721 babies born)
In the Old Testament, Eli was a high priest of Israel. American inventor Eli Whitney revolutionized agriculture with the cotton gin, helped launch the name to its first peak in the 1880s. The name has climbed up the charts in 2008 and 2012, the same years that Eli Manning led the New York Giants to Super Bowl victories.
- Today's rank: #55 (4,136 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #82, 3,743 babies born)
The French feminine form of Charles, meaning “free man,” Caroline is more popular than ever. Neil Diamond’s song “Sweet Caroline,” written for Caroline Kennedy, is played during every Boston Red Sox game. Caroline Harrison was First Lady to 23rd President Benjamin Harrison from 1889 until her death in 1892.
- Today's rank: #54 (4,145 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #2, 38,159 babies born)
Anna’s peak at the #2 most popular name during the 1880s can be partially attributed to the title character in Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.” Like many classic names, Anna, meaning “grace,” traces back to the Bible. Popular Annas today include tennis player Anna Kournikova, actresses Anna Kendrick, Anna Paquin, and Anna Faris. Anna is also the first name of both Patty Duke and Tina Turner.
- Today's rank: #52 (6,604 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #5, 46,656 babies born)
From German, French origin meaning “free man,” Charles has been popularized by kings, saints, and royalty. Author Charles Dickens and scientist Charles Darwin helped the name reach its pinnacle in the 1880s. Cartoonist Charles Schultz, aviator Charles Lindbergh, athlete Charles Barkley, and actors Charles Bronson and Charlie Chaplin, all helped keep this name relevant through the 20th century.
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- Today's rank: #51 (4,354 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #49, 7,520 babies born)
Pop culture has kept the name Lucy climbing the charts, from the “Peanuts” comic strip character to the Beatles’ psychedelic jam “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” Lucy Steele was a character from the 1811 Jane Austen novel “Sense and Sensibility,” and “I Love Lucy” was one of the most popular comedies of all time. Adapted from the French name Lucia, meaning “light,” Lucy has steadily climbed back into favor since falling out of the top 500 as recently as 1979.
- Today's rank: #50 (6,719 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1890s (Rank: #43, 4,691 babies born)
Leo, Latin for “lion,” was a popular name among early Christians, and was adopted by 13 different popes. Author Leo Tolstoy helped increase the name’s popularity in the late 1800s, thanks to his classic works “Anna Karenina” and “War and Peace.” More recently, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, known as Leo, is likely responsible for this name remaining in the Top 50.
- Today's rank: #49 (4,379 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #126, 25,317 babies born)
Taken from the French Clara, meaning “bright,” or “clear,” Saint Clare (later Claire) of Assisi lived in the 1200s but was named the patron saint of television in the 1950s. Emmy award-winning actresses Claire Danes (Homeland) and Claire Foy (The Crown) have helped push this name into the top 50.
- Today's rank: #48 (6,790 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1980s (Rank: #39, 105,990 babies born)
In the Old Testament, Nathan, meaning “God has given” in Hebrew, was a prophet. Historic figures include Nathan Hale, who was executed by the British as a spy during the American Revolution. Notable Nathans today include actors Nathan Lane and Nathan Fillion.
- Today's rank: #46 (4,662 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #73, 37,550 babies born)
The name Audrey nearly disappeared before it rose in popularity, due to its closeness to the word “tawdry.” Actress Audrey Hepburn was born during the name’s peak in the 1920s, and went on to star in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Nun’s Story,” and “Sabrina.”
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- Today's rank: #44 (7,020 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1900s (Rank: #38, 6,490 babies born)
Theodore Roosevelt was largely responsible for popularizing this name. Meaning “gift of God,” it has been shortened to Ted by baseball legend Ted Williams, rock legend Ted Nugent, and was the first name of children’s author Dr. Seuss (though he dropped the “e”).
- Today's rank: #43 (4,794 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #79, 23,157 babies born)
A name inspired by the purple flower, Violet has made a comeback after disappearing from the Top 100 names between 1973-97. It’s been used in children’s popular culture, from Violet Beauregard from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” to the super-daughter from the animated film “The Incredibles.” Rocker Dave Grohl, and actresses Christina Milian and Poppy Montgomery all have daughters named Violet.
- Today's rank: #42 (4,916 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1890s (Rank: #23, 20,154 babies born)
Named for the light-brown tree, Hazel reached its peak in the 1890s. Hazel also reached the top 500 as a boy's name but dropped off the list by the 1970s. Hazel was the protagonist in the 1952 novel "Wise Blood," as well as the heroine in the movie "The Fault in Our Stars."
- Today's rank: #38 (5,121 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #59, 6,130 babies born)
Stella, Latin for “star,” didn’t emerge as a name until 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney used it for his sonnet collection. Marlon Brando famously shouted this name in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and it has been used as the title of five films and a pair of television shows. English fashion designer Stella McCartney is a famous bearer of the name, and Ellen Pompeo and Dave Matthews have daughters named Stella.
- Today's rank: #36 (8,307 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #130, 27,655 babies born)
This “youthful” name has been used by emperors and saints throughout history. Musician Julian Lennon is the son of the Beatles great John Lennon. Actor Julian McMahon is the son of the former Prime Minister of Australia.
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- Today's rank: #34 (8,417 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #75, 2,311 babies born)
In the Old Testament, Isaac (son of Abraham) means “to laugh.” Isaac Newton, who discovered gravity, and famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov have sported this biblical name.
- Today's rank: #34 (5,534 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1900s (Rank: #13, 32,519 babies born)
It’s unclear if Lillian emerged as a diminutive of Elizabeth or a longer form of Lily. Early film actress Lillian Gish’s Hollywood career spanned 75 years. Actress Lillian St. Cyr, who became known as Princess Red Wing, was also a big star of the silent film era. Actress Mary McCormack and director Baz Luhrmann both have daughters named Lillian.
- Today's rank: #33 (5,629 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #11, 158,783 babies born)
Hannah, meaning “favor” or “grace,” has biblical roots — Hannah was the mother of Samuel. More recently, fictional Hannahs have been very popular, including Miley Cyrus’ Hannah Montana, Lena Dunham’s character from the show “Girls,” and the lead character in the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why.” Television is full of famous Hannahs, like the news anchor Hannah Storm and Hannah Brown, who was the “Bachelorette” in Season 15.
- Today's rank: #33 (8,440 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #146, 927 babies born)
The son of Jacob and Leah in the Old Testament, Levi was the ancestor of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The name, meaning “joined,” or “attached,” didn’t reach the top 100 for boys until 2009. Perhaps the most iconic Levi is Levi Strauss, who helped the name reach its previous heights in the 1880s thanks to his denim empire. Celebrities Sheryl Crow, Matthew McConaughey, and Sara Gilbert all have sons named Levi.
- Today's rank: #32 (5,694 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #29, 74,759 babies born)
Eleanor of Aquitaine was the first bearer of this name in the 12th century, named after her mother, Aenor. Meaning “other Aenor,” the moniker has been given to two Queens of England, as well as the wives of Henry III and Edward I. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, popularized the name in America. Another First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, was also born with the first name Eleanor. The Beatles further popularized it in their song “Eleanor Rigby.”
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- Today's rank: #30 (5,799 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #56, 6,521 babies born)
Adapted from the name Eleanor or Honora, meaning “light,” Henrik Ibsen helped give rise to the name in the late 19th century with Nora Helmer, the heroine of his play “A Doll’s House.” Writer Nora Ephron has been nominated for Academy Awards for “When Harry met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “Silkwood.” Fictional characters Nick and Nora Charles have been featured in books, plays, and films since the 1930s.
- Today's rank: #28 (8,834 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1920s (Rank: #17, 115,984 babies born)
The name John went through quite a transformation — Johnkin, Jankin, and Jackin — before finally arriving at Jack. In the Middle Ages, this name was so common, it became an alternate word for “man,” while literary legend Jack London helped inspire its rise to prominence in the 1920s. It’s very popular in children’s nursery rhymes, like “Little Jack Horner,” “Jack and Jill,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and “Jack Sprat.”
- Today's rank: #25 (9,288 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #176, 758 babies born)
A Celtic name meaning “young warrior,” Owen is a popular name in Ireland, where spellings include Owain, Eoin, or Eoghan. Fictional character Owen Salinger from the hit show “Party of Five” helped inspire the name’s rise more than 300 spots between 1994 and 2000. Other famous Owens include actor Owen Wilson and late professional wrestler Owen Hart.
- Today's rank: #24 (6,724 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #14, 15,227 babies born)
Created in the 17th century by the Puritans as a name of virtue, Grace is derived from the Latin word “gratia” for “goodwill.” Actress Grace Kelly, who starred in films in the mid-20th century, is one of the most recognizable bearers of this name. She became the princess of Monaco, before her tragic death in a car accident. Other famous Graces include First Lady Grace Coolidge, singer Grace Jones, and actress Chloe Grace Moretz.
- Today's rank: #21 (9,734 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #17, 9,129 babies born)
There’s no shortage of important Samuels in history, beginning with the leader of the Israelites in the Old Testament. Inventor Samuel Morse discovered the single-line telegraph and morse code in the 1830s and ’40s, around the same time Samuel Clemens was born, who would go on to be a literary legend under the pseudonym Mark Twain. Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett, and actors Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Shepard, and Sam Elliott are just a few more Samuels who found fame.
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- Today's rank: #21 (7,089 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #19, 117,459 babies born)
Borne from a Roman goddess, this name of “victory” became more common in the 19th century thanks to Queen Victoria of England. Victoria has been in the top 100 for girls since 1980, aided along the way by the award-winning film “Victor/Victoria” in 1982 and pop sensation/businesswoman Victoria Beckham since the late 1990s. Those that “Love Pink” are familiar with the name through the fashion brand Victoria’s Secret, which was founded in 1977.
- Today's rank: #16 (10,649 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #8, 24,139 babies born)
Eight English kings, six German kings, and four French kings have all had this royal name. American Henry David Thoreau—whose 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience—was cited by Dr. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, helped Henry reach #8 in the 1880s. Henry has remained in the top 150 ever since, with assembly-line inventor Henry Ford, baseball great Henry “Hank” Aaron, and actors Henry Fonda, Henry Winkler, and Henry Cavill all keeping this name as popular as ever.
- Today's rank: #15 (8,055 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #17, 13,936 babies born)
After falling off the charts in the mid-1980s, Ella rapidly gained popularity in the 21st century, rising more than 250 spots between 2000 and 2013. The heroine from the 1997 book “Ella Enchanted,” was wildly popular among younger readers, helping spur its meteoric rise up the ranks. Jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song” and the first African American woman to win a Grammy Award in 1958, is among the most famous.
- Today's rank: #13 (11,770 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #5, 298,345 babies born)
Jacob traces back to the Old Testament as the father of the 12 founders of the tribes of Israel. The name had a huge resurgence in the 1990s, with nearly 300,000 Jacobs joining the world, thanks to the popularity of shortened version Jake. Jacob reached the #1 spot on the list of boys’ names in 1999, and reigned until another Biblical name, Noah, took over in 2013.
- Today's rank: #12 (8,656 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #3, 237,232 babies born)
Adapted from the Latin aemulus, meaning “rival,” Emily emerged as an English name in the 18th century for Princess Amelia, known as (Emily). Literary legends Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson brought about a popularity spike in the 19th century, while its recent rise up the charts can be partially attributed to popular actresses Emily Blunt, Emily Deschanel, and Emily Wickersham. It was the most popular name for girls between 1996 and 2007.
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- Today's rank: #11 (11,989 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #23, 183,907 babies born)
Translated as “defending men” in Greek, the Macedonian king Alexander the Great ruled in the 4th century BC. Alexander has since been used by dozens of kings, popes, saints, and celebrities. Some of the best-known are Alexander Graham Bell, credited with inventing the telephone, and American founding father Alexander Hamilton (whose legacy has enjoyed a renaissance thanks to award-winning Broadway play “Hamilton.”)
- Today's rank: #10 (10,376 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1910s (Rank: #12, 91,491 babies born)
Derived from the French for “wished-for child,” Evelyn entered the top 10 for the first time in 2017. When Evelyn emerged in the 17th century, it was primarily used as a boy’s name. The Writer Evelyn Waugh married a woman named Evelyn, who would subsequently become known as Shevelyn.
- Today's rank: #8 (12,301 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #100, 2,957 babies born)
A variant of the German name Amalia, meaning “work,” Amelia didn’t rank among the top 100 names for girls between 1887 and 2004. Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, was born at the end of the 19th century. More recently, Angelina Jolie played Amelia Donaghy in “The Bone Collector,” and it’s the first name of actress Minnie Driver.
- Today's rank: #7 (12,886 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #109, 34,641 babies born)
Elijah appears in both the Old and New Testament as a prophet. Meaning “Yahweh is God,” Elijah was a character in the Charles Dickens novel “Martin Chuzzlewit.” Today, actor Elijah Wood undoubtedly had a significant impact on the rise of the name, thanks to his role as Frodo Baggins in the award-winning “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
- Today's rank: #6 (13,381 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #30, 133,898 babies born)
Stemming from the Hebrew name Binyamin, which means “son of the right hand,” Benjamin was the 12th son of Jacob in the Old Testament. The name ranked in the top 50 in the late 1800s thanks to the contributions of founding father Benjamin Franklin. Pop culture has kept this name popular as well. Actors Ben Stiller and Ben Affleck have helped keep the name youthful.
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- Today's rank: #6 (12,940 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1940s (Rank: #59, 49,476 babies born)
A French feminine derivative of Charles, Charlotte gained popularity in the 1800s thanks to the literary contributions of Charlotte Bronte, author of “Jane Eyre.” Fictional characters, like Charlotte Lucas from “Pride and Prejudice,” and the title character from “Charlotte’s Web,” also helped keep this name on the list. The band Good Charlotte found success in the early 2000s, while Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, chose this name for their daughter.
- Today's rank: #5 (13,928 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #132, 1,865 babies born)
Meaning “wisdom” in Greek, St. Sophia was the mother of Faith, Hope, and Love. Actress Sophia Loren, who originally spelled her name with an “f,” is one of the most recognizable Sophias, starring in hit movies during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Sophia topped the charts for girls between 2011 and 13, with help from actresses Sophia Bush, Sophia Myles, and Sophia Lillis.
- Today's rank: #5 (13,389 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #76, 2,287 babies born)
Derived from the French name Olivier, the name fell out of favor in the 17th century after the rule of Oliver Cromwell, who brought about the execution of Charles I. Charles Dickens helped revive Oliver in 1838 with his novel “Oliver Twist.” Director Oliver Stone, of “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July” fame, and with actor Oliver Platt, are some of the more famous bearers of this name.
- Today's rank: #2 (18,267 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1990s (Rank: #69, 56,238 babies born)
Noah reached its previous peak in the 1990s, thanks in part to the rise of Noah Wyle on the television show “ER.” Noah had a four-year run as the #1 name for boys, before being supplanted by Liam in 2017.
- Today's rank: #1 (18,688 babies born)
- Best historical decade: 1880s (Rank: #3, 25,404 babies born)
Derived from German and meaning “universal,” Emma entered the Social Security charts at #3 in the 1880s on the back of Jane Austen’s 1816 novel of the same name. Emma jumped up the charts in 2002 when Ross and Rachel chose the name for their baby on the hit television show “Friends.” Several A-list actresses have helped it reach a pinnacle position, including Emma Thompson, Emma Roberts, Emma Watson, and Emma Stone.
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