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Baby names

100 years of the most popular baby names

Choosing a baby name can be daunting. Travel back in time and draw some inspiration from the most popular selections of the past 100 years.

By Corinne Guirgis
100 years of the most popular baby names

Photo: iStockphoto

100 years of popular baby names

1920s

Girls: Mary; meaning “bitter” Dorothy; meaning “got of God” Helen; meaning “light”

Boys: John; meaning “God is gracious” William; meaning “protector” Robert; meaning “bright fame”

Helen Mirren sitting on a chair posingHelen Mirren Photo: Ernesto Ruscio / Getty Images

1930s

Girls: Mary; meaning “bitter” Betty; meaning “God is my oath” Dorothy; meaning “Gift of God”

Boys: Robert; meaning “Bright fame’ James; meaning “supplanter” or “heeler” John; meaning “God is gracious”

Robert De Niro giving a speechRobert De Niro Photo: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

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1940s

Girls: Mary; meaning “bitter” Barbara; meaning “stranger” Patricia; meaning “of noble descent”

Boys: James; meaning “supplanter” or “heeler” Robert; meaning “bright fame” John; meaning “God is gracious”

John Legend giving a speech at an awards showJohn Legend Photo: Paras Griffin/VMN18 / Getty Images

1950s

Girls: Linda; meaning “pretty one” Mary; meaning “bitter” Patricia; meaning “of noble descent”

Boys: James; meaning “supplanter” or “heeler” Robert; meaning “bright fame” John; meaning “God is gracious”

Linda Evangelista at a fashion week red carpetLinda Evangelista Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

1960s

Girls: Mary; meaning “bitter” Susan; meaning “lily” Linda; meaning “pretty one”

Boys: David; meaning “beloved” Michael; meaning “like God” James; meaning “supplanter” or “heeler”

Michael Jackson singingMichael Jackson Photo: KMazur / Getty Images

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1970s

Girls: Jennifer; meaning “bitter” Lisa; meaning “consecrated to God” Kimberly; meaning “ruler”

Boys: Michael; meaning “like God” James; meaning “supplanter” or “heeler” David; meaning “beloved”

James Corden on his T.V showJames Corden Photo: CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

1980s

Girls: Jennifer; meaning “white wave” Amanda; meaning “worthy of love” Jessica; meaning “God is watching”

Boys: Michael; meaning “like God” Christopher; meaning “Christ-bearer” Jason; meaning “healer”

Jennifer Anniston posing on a red carpetJennifer Anniston Photo: Jesse Grant / Getty Images

1990s 

Girls: Jessica; meaning “God is watching” Ashley; meaning “from the ash tree” Brittany; meaning “from Britain”

Boys: Michael; meaning “like God” Christopher; meaning “Christ-bearer” Matthew; meaning “God’s gift”

Matthew McConaughey posing at a red carpetMatthew McConaughey Photo: Eric McCandless / Getty Images

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2000s 

Girls: Emily; meaning “admiring” Hannah; meaning “grace of God” Ashley; meaning “from the ash tree”

Boys: Joshua; meaning “Jehova saves” Matthew; meaning “God’s gift” Jacob; meaning “supplanter”

Emily Blunt, standing in front of carsEmily Blunt Photo: David M. Benett / Getty Images

2010s

Girls: Isabella; meaning “devoted to God” Sophia; meaning “wisdom” Emma; meaning “universal”

Boys: Jacob; meaning “supplanter” Ethan; meaning “firm/strong” Michael; meaning “like God”

Photo of Emma Watson on the red carpetEmma Watson Photo: Jason LaVeris / Getty Images

Read more: Can you guess which male baby names are now more popular with girls? 20 baby names that mean miracle Whoa! Parents invented over 1,000 new baby names in 2017

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