Baby name trends are cyclical and about every 100 years names that have fallen from fashion return to favor. New parents rediscover charming names each year and help to make them popular once more. These vintage names are often considered grandma or grandpa-chic, often sounding like names from a previous generation, because they are! Not all names go out of style (we’re looking at you, John, Sarah, Elizabeth, and James), but some names do not have the staying power of more established options. This makes them unpredictable when they make a comeback. Further, not all names make a comeback (we’re thinking of names like Eustace, Ople, Melvina, and Curlie). However, some still defy the odds.
A recent study by baby and nursery retailer, Kiddies Kingdom, has revealed which baby names are set to make a comeback. The research revealed the top 20 vintage baby names that are set to make a comeback. They looked at the 100-year rule about baby names returning and paired it with names that are starting to trend again to uncover what names we should expect on more birth certificates in the coming years. Take a look at their finds below for some unique baby name options.
Vintage Names for Girls Set to Comeback
Vera is a name of Russian origin that means “faith.” Vera was most popular in the US in the first decade of the 20th century. The name has been quietly on the rise since 2009 but its popularity today pales in comparison to its former glory 100 years ago.
Sylvia is a name of Latin origin that means “from the forest.” Sylvia was a top 100 name from 1932 to 1948. It had been on a downward trend until the 2010s when it showed a slight uptick in new parents choosing the name. Could this classic re-enter the top 100 once more? We’ll have to keep an eye for it to see.
Nellie saw its most popular year on record in 1885. It ticked down each year that followed before going virtually unused from the 1970s until 2019 when it re-entered the US top 1000 names. That does not mean it is a popular choice. But, it soon could be!
Nora is an Irish diminutive form of Honora, a name of Greek origin that means “light.” It is curious how this name ended up on the list because the name has been on a steady climb in the US since 2000. However, we included it along with the other names from the study.
Millicent is a name of German origin that means “strong in work.” It saw its most popular year in the US in 1927. The name has gone largely unused since the 1960s. It offers you the adorably old-fashioned nickname, Millie. This one has been off the charts for so many decades it will be a wonder if it ever returns.
Martha is an ancient name of Aramaic origin that means “lady.” The name had been in a freefall for decades from the 1950s until its fortunes began to change in 2012. The name is uncommon for baby girls today but it has been teasing a comeback ever since the 2010s. We shall see.
The name Marjorie is closely associated with the herb marjoram. However, Marjorie is a Scottish form of the name Margaret, meaning “pearl.” The name peaked in popularity in the US in the 1920s, climbing into the top 20 most popular names for girls. After 100 years, parents are taking notice of this charmer once more.
Hazel is another name that has rebounded in recent years. The name is of English origin and it means “hazelnut tree.” The appellation was most popular in the US in 1897. Could it return to the top 20 most popular names for girls? It’s likely!
Ethel is a name of English origin that means “noble maiden.” It was most popular in the US, reaching the top 10 in 1896. The name has gone practically unused for decades, last ranking in the top 1000 in the 1970s. This name sounds a bit clunky to us but maybe we are in the minority. We will be surprised to see this one return.
Annie is an English diminutive form of Ann, which is of Hebrew origin, meaning “grace.” Annie is one of the nickname-names that has always been mildly popular in the US. As a given name, it was most popular in the US in the 1880s! It declined for decades after that but it has very slowly been inching up in favor since the 1970s.
Vintage Names for Boys That Are Ripe for a Comeback
Victor has been an evergreen favorite in the US since the recording of baby name data began in 1880. However, it has sunk to its lowest level of popularity ever in recent years. We know parents will return to this established winner. Victor is of Latin origin and means “conqueror.”
Sidney was most popular in the 1910s and it hung on for decades before falling completely from fashion for baby boys. In recent decades, the name has done better for baby girls but it has also fallen from fashion for them too with parents opting for the Sydney spelling for girls. Sidney is a name of French origin that means “Saint-Denis.”
Roland has not been a hot name since the 1940s. Maybe it’s time for a comeback? The name is of German origin and means “famed through the land.”
Raymond was a top-50 choice for baby boys in the US until the 1970s. Since then, the name has seriously been on the decline. Raymond is a name of German origin that means “wise protector.” We have always been fond of the nickname Ray and hope to continue hearing more of this name in the future.
Percival was a name that was last mildly popular in 1902! With over 100 years of neglect, is it possible for this appellation to stage a comeback? Percival is a name of French origin that means “one who pierces the valley.” Many people think that Percy is a nickname for Percival, and it can be, but Percy is a standalone Norman name that refers to a place called Perci-en-Auge
The last two decades have seen the classic name Leonard perform as poorly as ever. We imagine it has only hung on to mild popularity because it has been passed down as a family name. Leonard is a name of German origin that means “brave lion.”
Herbert peaked in the late 1920s and has been falling and falling ever since. The name is of German origin and means “bright army.” Only time can tell if this name will ever come back into fashion.
Gilbert started to really go out of fashion in the 1960s. It is only given to a handful of boys each year these days. The name is of German origin and means “shining pledge.”
By the 1970s, Bernard was seen as an old-fashioned and stuffy choice. It’s officially considered an old man’s name today. Bernard is also of German origin and means “brave as a bear.”
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Yes, an herb but also an ancient name from the Greeks. The name peaked in the 1940s. The name means “regal.” Despite that fabulous meaning, the name has not been used since 1971. Bring this baby back, new parents!
What do you think of these predictions? Will names like Ethel and Gilbert really come back? Only time will tell but we feel like many of the names on this have already started to return to favor. If you would like to learn about even more baby names from the past, take a look at the names that are set to go “extinct” next year.
Baby Names for Girls Set to Go Extinct
- Averly – A baby name of English origin, meaning “wild boar forest.”
- Brydie – A name from the same Gaelic root that brings us Bridget, meaning “exalted one”
- Carolyn – A name of English origin from French, meaning “free man”
- Cecile – A French feminine form of Cecil, from Latin, meaning “blind”
- Cheryl – A name of French origin, meaning “darling”
- Cheyanne – A baby name of Lakota origin, meaning “people who speak a different language”
- Christie – A diminutive form of Christina, meaning “follower of Christ”
- Collette – A French, feminine form of Nicholas, from Greek, meaning “people of victory”
- Debra – Debra is a variant form of Deborah, from Hebrew, meaning “bee”
- Delphina – A French name, from Greek, meaning “of Delphi” and “womb”
- Evaleigh – A baby name of Hebrew origin, meaning “juniper tree” or “alive”
- Flossie – A diminutive form of Florence, from Latin, meaning “prosperous.”
- Georgette – A French form of George, from Greek, meaning “farmer”
- Gladys – A baby name of Welsh origin, meaning “nation”
- Hally – An English name from a Scottish clan name that means “Hay’s meadow”
- Harpreet – A unisex baby name of Sikh and Sanskrit origin, meaning “lover of God”
- Jackie – A diminutive form of Jacqueline, of English origin from Hebrew, meaning “supplanter”
- Jules – A unisex French form of Julius, meaning “youthful”
- Julianne – A baby name of Latin origin, related to Julius, also meaning “youthful”
- Junie – A diminutive form of June, the month name comes from the name Juno
- Justina – A feminine form of Justin, from Latin and Greek, meaning “justice”
- Kenzi – A short form of Mackenzie, from Scottish, meaning “Kenneth’s son”
- Lilliah – An English, elaborate form of Lily, meaning “lily flower”
- Loxley – A baby name of English origin, meaning “lynx gate”
- Luanna – An English combo baby name of Louise and Anna, meaning “renowned warrior” + “grace”
- Meryl – A form of Muriel or Meriel, from French, meaning “blackbird”
- Norina – An English diminutive form of Eleanor, meaning “woman of honor”
- Olivine – A form of Olivia, from Latin, meaning “olive tree” or a gem name with a notable green hue
- Paignton – A name of English origin, meaning “Paega’s town”
- Peggie – A diminutive form of Margaret, meaning “pearl”
- Perl – An English variant form of Pearl, with the same meaning
- Pixi – Another spelling for Pixie, from Cornish or Swedish, meaning “fairy”
- Ryley – A unisex baby name of Irish origin, meaning “courage”
- Sharlene – A form of Charlene, of French origin, meaning “free man”
- Shelly/Shelley – A French form of Michael, from Hebrew, meaning “who is like God?”
- Shyanne – A baby name of Lakota origin, meaning “people who speak a different language”
- Sigrid – A name of Norse origin, meaning “fair victory”
- Tammy – An English form of Tamara, from Hebrew, meaning “date palm tree”
- Teigen – A baby name of Norwegian origin, meaning “strip of land”
- Tessie – An English diminutive form of Theresa, from Greek, meaning “to reap”
Baby Boy Names Set to Go Extinct
- Alexandro – A Latinate form of Alexander, from Greek, meaning “defending men”
- Billie – An English short form of William, from German, meaning “resolute protector”
- Brad – A short form of Bradley, from English, meaning “broad meadow”
- Braydan – A variant spelling of the Irish name, Bradan, meaning “salmon”
- Brent – A name of English origin, meaning “dweller near burnt land”
- Chandler – A baby name of English and French origin, meaning “candle maker”
- Darnell – A name of English origin, meaning “hidden spot”
- Drake – A name of English origin, meaning “dragon” or “male duck”
- Edmond – A name of English origin, meaning “wealthy protector”
- Elbert – An English form of Albert, from German, meaning “noble”
- Elija – A variant of Elijah, from Hebrew, meaning “Yahweh is God”
- Finch – A baby name of English origin, meaning “to swindle” or a reference to the bird
- Finneas – A alternative spelling of Phineas, from Hebrew, meaning “oracle”
- Fitzgerald – A name of Scottish and Irish origin, meaning “Gerald’s son”
- Frazier – A name of French or Scottish origin, meaning “strawberry” or “of the forest”
- Greg – A short form of Gregory, from Greek, meaning “watchman”
- Harrie – An English diminutive form of Henry, meaning “estate ruler”
- Izac – A spelling variant of Isaac, from Hebrew, meaning “laughter”
- Jamiel – A name of Arabic origin, related to Jamal, meaning “beauty”
- Kegan – A baby name of Irish origin, meaning “son of Egan”
- Kennie – A diminutive form of Kenneth, of Irish and Scottish origin, meaning “born of fire” and “handsome”
- Kristopher – A spelling variant of Christopher, of Greek origin, meaning “follower of Christ”
- Lamar – An English baby name from French, meaning “dweller near the pool”
- Larenzo – An Italian form of Laurence, from Latin, meaning “of Laurentium”
- Neville – A name of French origin, meaning “new town”
- Nial – A baby name of Irish origin, meaning “cloud”
- Philipp – A name of English origin, from Greek, meaning “lover of horses”
- Raymon/Ramon – An English variant form of Raymond, from German, meaning “wise protector”
- Remie – A form of Remy, from French, meaning “oarsman”
- Rhiley – A spelling variant of Reilly, of Irish origin, meaning “courage”
- Rhuben/Reuban – Twopelling variants of Reuben, from Hebrew, meaning “behold, a son”
- Roderick – A baby name of German origin, meaning “famed ruler”
- Stevie – A short form of Stephen, from Greek, meaning “garland”
- Stone – An English word name that means exactly what you think it does
- Tyreese – A form of Tyrese, related to Terence, a Latin clan name, meaning “from Tyrie”
- Walt – A diminutive form of Walter, of German origin, meaning “army ruler”
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- Wes – A short form of Wesley, from English, meaning “from the western meadow”
- Wiley – A Scottish form of William, meaning “resolute protector” OR a habitational name that means “from Wylye”
- Yusif – A name of Arabic origin, related to Yusuf, meaning “God increases”
- Zachery – A Hebrew baby name, a form of Zechariah, meaning “the Lord has remembered”
Wow! There were some serious surprises among these baby names that are set to go virtually extinct next year. There are so many beloved appellations that still deserve consideration. New parents, it’s up to you now.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 1 Vintage Names for Girls Set to Comeback
- 2 Vintage Names for Boys That Are Ripe for a Comeback
- 3 Baby Names for Girls Set to Go Extinct
- 4 Baby Boy Names Set to Go Extinct
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