A Kayden or Hendrix would have been an
anomaly in a 1950s kindergarten classroom; today a Judith would be almost as
unusual. The names given to babies born in the two decades after World War II
aren't extinct, but these boomer names are due for a second coming.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #397
Today this Scottish name is well-known because of Ronald Reagan and Ron
Weasley. In the middle of the century it was one of the most popular names for
baby boys, and Ronnie is a sweet nickname.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #492
Karen only became a common name in the U.S. in the 1940s, so it's no surprise
that this was a popular choice for boomer babies. It's a Danish nickname for
Katherine, which itself is a Greek name with indeterminate meaning.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #510
Meaning: "From Laurentum," an ancient Roman
It's a nickname for the dignified and upper-crust name Laurence, but Larry has
a decidedly casual vibe—doesn't everyone have a friend with a wacky Uncle
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #879
Sharon means "plain," but any girl with this name will be relieved to
hear that it's the geographical feature—not a lack of beaut—that
inspired this Hebrew name. Famous Sharons include Sharon Stone and Sharon
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #191
Meaning: Born of fire; handsome
Kenneth's popularity hasn't fallen off as drastically as many boomer names.
It's the Anglicized version of the Gaelic names Cináed, meaning "born of
fire," and Coinneach, meaning "handsome."
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #985
It's a little unusual today, but this name is delicate and feminine—appropriate, since it means "lady" in Italian. That doesn't mean it's
for shrinking violets, however; both "The West Wing" and
"Suits" feature Donnas who are fierce and funny.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #491
Dennis the Menace really did a number on this name's reputation. It's derived
from Dionysos, the Greek god of wine, revelry and dance—so you can be sure
that a young Dennis will be the life of any party.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #739
Like Patrick, Patricia is a form of the Latin name Patricius, meaning noble.
Baby boomers commonly shortened this name to Pat or Patty. Tricia is a slightly
less dated nickname today.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #418
Like its sound-alike Ronald, Donald is nowhere near as popular now as it was
during the post-World War II era. It's derived from the old Gaelic name
though for most folks today the name is best known as belonging to Donald Duck.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #753
Deborah is a stately name with a long history; it dates back to the Old
Testament. Plan on using this full Hebrew name instead of any of its cutesy
nicknames. Even Debbie Gibson went back to Deborah.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #560
Gary is an old name that's due for a comeback. Sure, you rarely meet a Gary who
doesn't have some gray in his hair, but this moniker, which comes from an
English surname, is friendly and masculine.
Popularity rank in the U.S.: #863
Barbara comes from the Greek for "foreign," which is somewhat
appropriate today: Most kids probably have never even heard of this name. Don't
pick it in honor of Streisand. The legendary singer was named Barbara but
changed the spelling to Barbra to stand out.