Today's post is a continuation of yesterday's post - The Most Popular Names of All Time: Girls. I'll be looking at some of the most popular names historically in the US, and providing background and variants for each. Now, let's hear it for the boys!
Boys, funnily enough, have less variation in naming, and are more likely to be named after a family member - I have three Joseph's in my family. Choosing a nickname or diminutive of these popular names is a great way to keep the tradition alive without feeling boxed in on a birth certificate.
Quite possibly the most popular boys name of all time - vying closely with John - James is still polished and desirable today. At #9 now, it's never left the top 20. But original version Jacob has surpassed it in the past few years. James has quite a few namesakes and quite a few diminutives and nicknames, so using it on a birth certificate and picking a more individualized appellation is ideal. But beware - names like Jim and Jamie have their own associated eras too.
James is Hebrew in origin, and means "supplanter".
Variations: Diego, Jacques, Hamish, Seamus, Giacomo, Jem, Jameson, Jake
Often used as a general term for any man, it will take a lot to set one John apart from another - on paper. Any individual John will have their own unique personality and ambitions, and isn't that what every namer wants for their namee? In any case, dozens of alternatives to John exist, and might be more euphonic than the original version.
John is Hebrew in origin, and means "God is gracious".
Variations: Sean, Juan, Jean, Evan, Ian, Jack, Johnny, Giovanni
This name's long-time popularity has declined in recent years, with Bob's and Rob's getting older every day. But the name's meaning and established history give it staying power, at least through its nicknames and variations! There are also many namesake Robert's throughout history of all races, ages, and religions, so take your pick!
Robert is German in origin, and means "bright fame".
Variations: Roberto, Beto, Robbie, Robin, Rupert, Roban, Hopkin, Robi
Over 50 years at #1 has made this name a modern marvel. Michael's angelic origins and widespread use have made it a hit across the US, but this popularity has made it feel almost overused. Still, if you're looking for something substantial and fairly recent, Michael is a great choice. Otherwise, try out a variant or diminutive, listed below.
Michael is Hebrew in origin, and means "who is like God".
Variations: Mitchell, Mickey, Michel, Miguel, Mikhail, Mika, Misha
Newcomer Liam has pushed its originator down the list in recent years, but the original stands eternal. William is royal, esteemed, and accessible all at once - rather hard to find in any other name. But as Bill and Will get older, Liam shows us that a great nickname can make all the difference. International versions and diminutives can help your little William stand out.
William is German in origin, and means "resolute protection".
Variations: Guillermo, Willem, Illiam, Guillaume, Willie, Vilem, Pim, Wilkin
Are any of these names too overused or should they keep on keepin' on? Tell me in the comments!