Top 100 Baby Names of the Last 100 Years

It seems the newest parents-to-be want a unique name for their child. Though some folks seem to take it a bit too far with monikers like Cougar, Tomorrow, Marvelous and Tequila (and let’s not forget baby Hashtag), most parents presumably want a name their child can live with.

Unusual names may seem like a great idea these days, but traditional names are traditional for a reason. They may be family names, or they may denote a certain meaning that the parents wish to convey to their offspring. Regardless of the reason, these 100 baby names have stood the test of time over the last 100 years or so, based on data from the Social Security Administration.

Here are the top 100 most popular baby names over the last 100 years.

1.) James

James Corden Baby Names

CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Boy

The number-one male baby name for the last 100 years, James has been the popular given name for around 4.9 million boys. James is still in the top 20, showing what a timeless name it really is.

2.) Mary

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

The number one girl’s name is Mary. Over 3.7 million girls have this name. James has been in the top 5 from 1912 to 1980, while Mary has been in the top from 1912 to 1967. Mary ranked 112th in 2011, which still isn’t bad considering the millions of babies born over the last 100 years

3.) Patricia

patricia clarkson baby names

Mario Anzuoni, Reuters

  • Origin: Latin
  • Girl

Patricia first became popular in 1935, remaining in the top five for around 20 years. More than 1.5 million girls have been named Patricia. It hasn’t been a popular name recently, so maybe it’s due for a comeback.

4.) John

  • Origin: English
  • Boy

The name John enjoyed seemingly endless popularity from 1912 to 1972. This baby name is still in the top 30 popular boy’s baby names. There have been more than 4.7 million baby boys named John in the last 100 years.

5.) Elizabeth

queen elizabeth baby names

Getty Images

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

Elizabeth, meaning “my God is abundance,” is the name given to more than 1.4 million girls in the last 100 years. Famous women named Elizabeth include Queen Elizabeth and actress Elizabeth Taylor.

6.) Robert

  • Origin: French
  • Boy

The name Robert has been given to more than 4.6 million boys since it first became popular in 1912. Robert means “bright fame” and is the name of many famous men including author Robert Browning, poet Robert Frost and actor Robert Redford.

7.) Jennifer

jennifer aniston baby names

Getty Images

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Girl

Jennifer has been the name of more than 1.4 million people in the last 100 years, first hitting the top five in 1968. This name remained popular for 20 years before it fell off the top-five list.

8.) Michael

  • Origin: Herbew
  • Boy

Michael first hit the top five in 1949 and stayed there through 2010. In that time period, more than 4.2 million people have been named Michael, which means, “who is like God.” Unfortunately, naming your son Michael does not guarantee that he will be god-like.

9.) William

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

  • Origin: French
  • Boy

William has been the name of more than 3.7 million boys since 1912. It held strong for 57 years before it dropped from the top five, but it reappeared in 2009 and has been a top name ever since. Famous Williams include William Shakespeare, William the Conqueror of England and author William Faulkner.

10.) Linda

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Girl

Linda first broke into the top five in 1941 and remained there for more than 20 years. In the last 100 years, there have been more than 1.4 million babies named Linda, which means “soft and tender” or “beautiful.”

11.) Barbara

barbra streisan baby names

Russell James

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

Barbara comes from the Greek word “barbaros”. It means “foreign” or “strange traveler from a foreign land.” It was popular in medieval Britain after the 3rd-century martyr, St. Barbara.

12.) David

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Boy

This baby name comes from the Hebrew word Dawid, which means “beloved” or “uncle.”

13.) Susan

Parade

  • Origin: Persian language, Hebrew, Greek
  • Girl

Even though there were many places this name came from, Susan means “lily.”

14.) Richard

  • Origin: German, French, and English
  • Boy

This name derives from the word “ric” (ruler, leader, king, powerful) and “hard” (strong, brave, hardy). The nam, therefore,e means “strong in rule.”

15.) Jessica

Amy Sussman/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

This wonderful baby name means two things: “gift” and “God beholds.”

16.) Margaret

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

Margaret means “pearl.”

17.) Joseph

joseph gordon levitt baby names

Mark Blinch/Reuters

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

Originally derived from Ioseph, this means “he will add.”

18.) Sarah

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

In Hebrew, the meaning of the name Sarah is “Princess.”

19.) Thomas

tom hiddleston baby names

Wenn

  • Origin: English, Welsh, Scottish, French, German, Dutch and Danish
  • Boy

The name derives from the medieval personal name of Biblical origin, meaning ‘twin’.

20.) Charles

  • Origin: German
  • Boy

Started in Germany, this name is an Old English word meaning “a man, freeman, peasant.”

21.) Karen

karen gillian baby names

Sony Pictures

  • Origin: Danish
  • Girl

The root of this name means “pure” or “unsullied.”

22.) Nancy

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

The meaning of this name is “grace.”

23.) Christopher

chris pratt baby names

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

  • Origin: Greek
  • Boy

Christopher comes from a medieval personal name which ostensibly means “bearer of Christ.”

24.) Betty

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

Even though this is an American name, the meaning is either “oath of God” or “God is satisfaction.”

25.) Daniel

daniel craig baby names

Barbiradpicture/Shutterstock

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Boy

This baby name means, “God is my judge” and it derives from two early biblical figures, primary among them Daniel from the Book of Daniel.

26.) Dorothy

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

Dorothy derives from the Greek word Dōrothéa, which means the “gift of God.”

27.) Matthew

matthew mcconaughey baby names

Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

  • Origin: Greek , Hebrew
  • Boy

It comes from the Greek form of Hebrew meaning “gift of YAHWEH.” It comes from the roots of the meaning “gift” and refers to the Hebrew God

28.) Lisa

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

Similar to Elizabeth, Lisa means “the oath of God” or “God is satisfaction”.

29.) Anthony

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

  • Origin: Roman
  • Boy

This popular baby name means “highly praiseworthy.” It also derives from a Roman clan name.

30.) Donald

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Boy

The baby name Donald means “world-ruler” or “world-wielder.”

31.) Sandra

sandra bullock baby names

Medium

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

A feminine form of Alexander meaning defender of men, this name has been used in Britain since the early 13th century.

32.) Mark

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

The name Mark means “consecrated to the god Mars.” It also may mean “God of war” or “to be warlike.”

33.) Ashley

ashley tisdale baby names

Stylehall

  • Origin: Anglo-Saxon
  • Girl and Boy

The name of the drives from the Anglo-Saxon words meaning “ash,” “meadow” and “forest cleaning.”

34.) Paul

  • Origin: Roman
  • Boy

The name derives from the Roman clan name, Paulus, which means “small” or “humble.”

35.) Kimberly

Kim Cartall

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

  • Origin: Old English
  • Girl

The meaning of Kimberly is “from the wood of the royal forest.”

36.) Steven

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

The name is derived from Stephanos, which means “a crown” or “a garland.”

37.) George

George Clooney Baby Names

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

  • Origin: Greek
  • Boy

Coming from a few Greek words, the meaning of George is “rustic” and “farmer.”

38.) Donna

  • Origin: Italian
  • Girl

The name means “woman” in Italian.

39.) Carol

carol burnett baby names

Jake Michaels/The New York Times/Redux.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

The name is derived from the vocabulary word carol (joyous song, a carol).

40.) Kenneth

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Boy

Kenneth means “born of fire” and “handsome.”

41.) Andrew

andrew garfield baby names
  • Origin: Greek
  • Boy

The boy name comes from the Greek word “andros”, which means “man” The meaning evolved into “manly” and, as consequence, “brave”, “strong”, “courageous” and “warrior”.

42.) Michelle

  • Origin: French, Hebrew
  • Girl

Starting at the French feminine form of Michel, from the Hebrew name Michael that means “Who is like God?”

43.) Emily

Emily Blunt Baby Names

Brigitte Lacombe

  • Origin: Latin
  • Girl

This girl name is derived from the Latin origin name Aemilia, which is the feminine form of the Roman family name Aemilius, which means trying to equal or excel. Also, it is a name taken from the root word aemulus, meaning “rival.”

44.) Joshua

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Boy

The name was the name of the biblical Moses’s successor who led the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

45.) Edward

edward norton baby names

Wenn

  • Origin: Old English
  • Boy

The meaning behind Edward is “wealthy” or “fortunate guardian”.

46.) Helen

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

From a Greek origin, Helen means “light, torch, bright.”

47.) Amanda

amanda seyfried baby names

Allure

  • Origin: Latin
  • Girl

This baby name is derived from the Latin word “amanda”, which means “lovable” and “worthy to be loved.”

48.) Brian

  • Origin: Irish, Breton
  • Boy

The name possibly means “high” or “noble.”

49.) Kevin

Kevin Costner Baby Names

Stephen Lovekin/REX/Shutterstock

  • Origin: Irish
  • Boy

Kevin is an Irish name that means “kind, gentle, handsome.”

50.) Melissa

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

This girl’s name means “bee.”

51.) Deborah

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

Similar to Melissa, Deborah means “bee.”

52.) Ronald

  • Origin: Scandinavian
  • Boy

The name is derived from elements that meant “advice,” “decision” and “ruler.”

53.) Timothy

Tim Allen

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

  • Origin: Greek
  • Boy

Timothy means “honoring God.”

54.) Stephanie

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

Similar to Steven, the name has ties to the Greek word, Stephana, which is a feminine form of Stephanos. This means “a crown” or “a garland.”

55.) Laura

Laura Prepon Baby Names

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For ESPN

  • Origin: Latin
  • Girl

The name Laura is the feminized form of “laurus”, which is Latin for “bay laurel plant”. In the Greco-Roman era, this plant was used as a symbol of victory, honor or fame.

56.) Jason

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Boy

This boy name derived from the word “iasthai”, which means “to heal.”

57.) Jeffrey

jeff goldblum baby names

Theo Wargo, Getty Images

  • Origin: German
  • Boy

Derived from one of three Old German names, Jeffrey means “district,” “traveler” or “peaceful pledge.”

58.) Rebecca

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

The origins of this word stem from the meaning of “noose” and “to tie.”

59.) Sharon

sharon osbourne baby names

Variety

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

Sharon means “a plain, a flat area.”

60.) Ryan

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Boy and Girl

Popular sources typically suggest that Ryan means “little king” or “illustrious.”

61.) Gary

gary oldman baby names

BT

  • Origin: German
  • Boy

The name is derived from the German word “gar”, which means “spear.”

62.) Cynthia

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

Cynthia was originally a title of the Greek goddess Artemis. According to legend, Arthemis was born on Mount Cynthus.

63.) Kathleen

kathleen turner baby names

Cindy Barrymore/REX/Shutterstock.

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Girl

Similar to Katherine, this name means “pure” from the old Irish language.

64.) Jacob

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

Jacob means “seizing by the heel” or “supplanting.”

65.) Nicholas

nicholas hoult baby names
  • Origin: Greek
  • Boy

Derived from the Greek word “nike”, this name means “victory of the people.”

66.) Shirley

  • Origin: English
  • Girl

The original meaning of the name Shirley is “bright wood,” “bright meadow” and “from the white meadow.”

67.) Amy

amy adams baby names

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Images

  • Origin: French
  • Girl

Originally from the French, the meaning of this girl name is “dearly loved” and “beloved.”

68.) Eric

  • Origin: Norwegian
  • Boy

The name is derived from the name “ever or eternal ruler.”

69.) Stephen

stephen curry baby names

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

  • Origin: Greek
  • Boy

The meaning of this boy name means “crown” and “that which surrounds.”

70.) Anna

  • Origin: Latin
  • Girl

Derived from the name Hannah, the meaning of Anna is “favor,” “grace” or “beautiful.”

71.) Angela

angela bassett baby names

Rex/Shutterstock

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

This baby name is derived from the Greek word “ángelos”, which means “messenger of gods”

72.) Jonathan

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Boy

In Hebrew, the meaning of the name Jonathan is “Jehovah has given.”

73.) Larry

larry david baby names

Rex/Shutterstock

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

The name Larry, which is similar to Lawrence and Laurence, means “laurel.”

74.) Ruth

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

Ruth means “companion,” “friend” or “vision of beauty.”

75.) Brenda

brenda song baby names

INSTAR Images

  • Origin: Norwegian
  • Girl

This girl name means “sword” or “torch.”

76.) Scott

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

Scott is derived from the Latin word “Scoti”, which means Gaelic speaker.

77.) Frank

frank ocean baby names

NY Times

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

The name Francis means “Frenchman” or “free one.”

78.) Pamela

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

The girl name Pamela has roots in Greek meaning “all sweetness” or “honey.”

79.) Virginia

virginia woolf baby names

Medium

  • Origin: Latin
  • Girl

This feminine name has a connection to the Ancient Roman family name Virginius, a name probably derived from the Latin word “virgo”, meaning “maiden” or “virgin.”

80.) Justin

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

Justin is a form of the Latin given name Justinus, a derivative of Justus, meaning “just,” “fair” or “righteous.”

81.) Brandon

brandon flowers baby names

Esther Lin

  • Origin: English
  • Boy

Brandon comes from an old English wording meaning “hill covered with broom.”

82.) Katherine

  • Origin: Latin and Greek
  • Girl

Katherine comes from Latin and Greek both meaning “pure” and “clear.”

83.) Nicole

Nicole Kidman Baby Names

Steve Granitz/WireImage

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

The girl name Nicole means “victory of the people.”

84.) Raymond

  • Origin: German
  • Boy

The male given name comes from the old German word, Ragin, which means “counsel.”

85.) Gregory

gregory smith baby names

Shutterstock

  • Origin: Latin
  • Boy

Gregory is a masculine name from the word “Gregorius,” which means “watchful.”

86.) Catherine

  • Origin: Latin, Greek
  • Girl

Similar to Katherine, this name means “pure” and “clear.”

87.) Christine

Christine Lakin

Christine Lakin

  • Origin: Greek
  • Girl

The name is mentioned in many languages, all meaning “follower of Christ.”

88.) Samuel

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Boy

The boy name means “the name of God.”

89.) Benjamin

Ben Stiller Baby Names

Sebastien Nogier/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Boy

In Hebrew, the meaning of the name Benjamin is “son of my right hand.”

90.) Samantha

  • Origin: Aramaic
  • Girl

The girl name Samantha means “listener.”

91.) Debra

debbie gibson baby names

People

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

The name Debra in Hebrew means “bee.”

92.) Patrick

  • Origin: Roman
  • Boy

Patrick comes for the Romans, and it means “noble.”

93.) Jack

jack white baby names

Joshua Mellin

  • Origin: English
  • Boy

This boy name means “God is gracious.”

94.) Janet

  • Origin: English
  • Girl

This girl name is the feminine version of John, and it means “God has been gracious.”

95.) Carolyn

Carolyn Hennesy baby names

Jill Johnson/jpistudios

  • Origin: Italian
  • Girl

Originally from Italy, Carolyn means “strong.”

96.) Alexander

  • Origin: Greek
  • Boy

The name comes from the Greeks, and it means “defender of men.”

97.) Dennis

dennis quaid baby names

Fox News

  • Origin: Greek
  • Boy

The name comes for a Greek God of mythological god of wine and revelry.

98.) Rachel

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Girl

The meaning of the Hebrew name is “ewe.”

99.) Heather

heather graham baby names

Gotham/GC Images

  • Origin: English
  • Girl

In English, the meaning of the name Heather is “a flowering evergreen plant that thrives on peaty barren lands as in Scotland.”

100.) Jerry

  • Origin: English
  • Boy

The meaning of this name is “ruling spear.”

Did You Enjoy the Top Baby Names?

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