The 7 Most Popular Baby Names Throughout the Decades

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Most popular baby names through the decades
Most popular baby names through the decades

Whether you're the type of mom who loves traditional

baby names (cue: Mary and Michael) or are one of those hipsters who thinks random fruits and cities make for like, the coolest, baby names ever (cue: Apple and Brooklyn), one thing's for sure: the last 100 years have seen their fair share of namesakes.

We scoured the top baby name charts of the 20th and 21st centuries and picked the 25 most popular baby names out there. Inspiration for these monikers came from all types of literature and historical events … from books of the Christian Bible to the tween-crazed Twilight series to Hollywood's most popular celebrities. Check out our list below, and see if you can figure out what inspired these names!


Emily
Emily


1. Emily
Origin: Latin; Meaning: rival, laborious, eager
One of the most popular baby names of the 21st century (it held the top spot for girls from 1996 to 2007), Emily is a fitting name for your little one who arrives weeks early … eager to make her mark on the world!

Related: 10 things every woman should do before getting pregnant


Ashley
Ashley


2. Ashley
Origin: Old English; Meaning: ash meadow
This baby name was a 2-year wonder of the '90s, holding the top spot for girl names in 1991 and 1992. We can't help but wonder if it was because of the adorable Full House child star, Ashley Olsen. It seems, once again, her twin sister Mary-Kate has been over-shadowed. Tough break.


Amanda
Amanda


3. Amanda
Origin: Latin; Meaning: fit to be loved; lovable
Amanda made it on the top 5 girl's baby names list for every year of the 1980s - an impressive accomplishment in the world of nomenclatures. With a meaning full of love, this is a wonderful name for a little girl fortunate enough to be born on Valentine's Day (and a welcoming alternative to Cupid).


Jennifer
Jennifer


4. Jennifer
Origin: Welsh; Meaning: fair, smooth
This variant of the medieval name, Guinevere, held the top girls baby name spot for over 10 years, from 1970 to 1984. We hate to state the obvious, but any girl named Jennifer probably has highly impressionable parents. For a fresh take on Jennifer today, try opting to name your little one Jenna or Gennifer.

Related: 20 baby names that are out of this world


Mary
Mary


5. Mary
Origin: Latin; Meaning: star of the sea
It seems the namesake Mary has been popular ever since the beginning of man - first claiming the name of Jesus' mother, then followed by countless queens throughout time. Meaning "star of the sea," Mary is the ideal name for a blossoming swimmer or beach lover.


Jacob
Jacob


6. Jacob
Origin: Hebrew; Meaning: he who supplants
Holding the number one spot for boy names from 2000 on is Jacob, whose popularity is no doubt thanks to the sexy werewolf character in the Twilight series. If you love this name but are hesitant to jump on the Twilight bandwagon, try the variant Jacoby.


Ethan
Ethan


7. Ethan
Origin: Hebrew; Meaning: strong, firm
This stylish baby name has been on the top 5 baby names list since 2002, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere. With a strong, firm meaning - we imagine any young lad bequeathed with this name wouldn't dare have the word "weak" in his vocabulary.

For 18 more popular baby names throughout the decades, visit Babble!

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