The Vintage Baby Names That Are Set To Be Popular In 2022

Baby name trends often run in a cycle, leading to vintage names that would be more familiar to our grandparents becoming popular again in recent years. This can lead to old fashioned baby names being reused in recent years. A great example of this is Meghan Markle and Prince Harry naming their daughter Lilibet, after the childhood nickname of Queen Elizabeth. Clearly, there is a special sentiment in choosing an old fashioned name for a modern-day baby. 

This may well be due to the hundred-year rule, which states that on average baby names cycle in popularity every hundred years or so. This would suggest that baby names that were popular during the 1920s should now be coming back in style. 

To test the hundred-year rule, we looked at the stats to find out if names that were popular in the 1920s really were coming back into style. If you are interested in seeing what vintage baby names are making a return in popularity, or perhaps you are looking for inspiration, then here are some of the vintage baby names for boys and girls that are making a comeback in 2022. 

The 100-Year Rule

The 100-year rule states that it takes around 100 years for most names to come back into fashion. Obviously, there are exceptions to this and many names, such as John or James, never stop being popular. 

The generally accepted explanation for this is the association with certain names. For example, names that were popular during our parent’s generation are still heavily associated with them, which makes it hard for us to imagine a child with those names. However, older names from our grandparents and great grandparent’s generations are freed from this link, which makes them much more suitable. 

This can also help explain why in some cases older relatives disapprove of reused vintage baby names, as they consider it from their generation. The familiarity and associations with certain names put us off their use for newborns, which leads us to lack further back for inspiration. 

Doris

The name Doris has a Greek origin that means “gift of the ocean”. In Greek mythology, Doris was the daughter of Oceanus. While Doris hasn’t been popular for a while, it was considered the paragon of grace back in the 1920s and was similar to fashionable names such as Frances or Phyllis. 

While Doris is still only in position 2340th when it comes to the popularity of Girls’ names, it has seen the biggest increase over the last 10 years, climbing 3098 positions. It is still a long way from being in the top 10 like it was in 1924. 

Della

Della is a diminutive of Adela, which is a name with German origin that means “noble”. Over the last ten years, Della has climbed 2783 positions to become the 1153rd most popular girl name in 2019. It is expected to continue to grow in popularity, with Nameberry predicting a rise to 642nd by 2028. 

Opal

The girl’s name Opal is of Sanskrit origin and means “gem”. Similar to other jewel related names, like Ruby and Pearl, Opal is on the verge of a repolishing in popularity. Opals were considered to have prophetic powers by the Ancient Greeks, while the Romans considered them to be a symbol of hope and good fortune. In addition, the Opal was the favourite gem of Queen Victoria.

Opal was in the top 100 names for girls in the first two decades of the twentieth century, before falling from favour. But over the last ten years, the name has risen 2497 positions to become the 1439th favourite girls’ name. opal is also the birthstone of October, making it the perfect choice for girls born in October. 

Dinah

Dinah is a girl’s name of Hebrew origin meaning “God will judge”. A charming, old testament name, Dinah has seen a jump in popularity in recent years, rising 1766 positions over the last 10 years to become the 2170th most popular Girl baby name. 

Wilma

Wilma is a name of German, Swedish and Scottish origin and means “resolute protection”. Many people’s first thought might be the character from the Flintstones, however, in Sweden, the name has been in the top 10 for girls names for years. During the 1920s Wilma was a top 100 name, before falling in popularity. However, this turned around in the mid-2010s, leading it to grow in popularity by 1555 positions, putting it at 4001st in 2019 with a continued upwards trend predicted. 

Forrest

Forrest is a boy’s name of English origin that has the meaning “dweller by the woods”. A suitably outdoorsy name, Forrest was popular in the early decades of the 1900s, reaching 175th in popularity in 1918. Its popularity dropped after that, until it received an intense blip with the release of Forrest Gump, before settling into a steady upwards climb in 2013. Over the last ten years, Forrest has risen 3192 positions to become the 5522nd most popular baby name for boys. 

Ambrose

The name Ambrose has a Latin origin and means “immortal”. Ambrose was a particular favourite character name of P. G. Wodehouse and, as a result, has taken on an air of blooming well-being and upper-class erudition. After falling out of favour in the 1930s, Ambrose is seeing a restoration, with the name growing in popularity to reach position 1369, after climbing 1858 positions over the last 10 years. 

Phineas

Phineas is a boy’s name of Hebrew origin that means “the Nubian”. Recent well-known uses of the name include Julia Roberts’ son, as well as Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake’s son. Fan’s of the greatest showman might also be enthusiastic for the name, with the lead character being called Phineas T. Barnum. Many of today’s children will also be familiar with the name, from the animated series Phineas and Ferb. Phineas is currently ranked 1655th in popularity and has risen by 1572 positions over the last ten years. 

Luther

The name Luther is a boy’s name of German origin meaning “army people”. Luther was a Top 100 name at the turn of the last century but fell off the list in the early 1990s. Famous people named Luther include Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant revolution, civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr and Luther Vandross, a popular R&B artist. Luther has risen 1358 positions over the last ten years to reach 1869th in popularity. 

Emmet

Emmet is a boy’s name of Hebrew origin meaning “universal; truth”. Honest and sincere, laid-back and creative, Emmet is a male cognate of the megapopular Emma and Emily. Emmet dropped off the Top 1000s in 1934 but is seeing a modern return to popularity. The name is now sitting at 628th in popularity and looks to be continuing to grow in popularity, after climbing 1353 positions over the last ten years. 

The Period Drama Effect

It is also possible that some of the popularity of these old-fashioned names has been inspired by recent popular TV series set in the right time period, such as Peaky Blinders or Downton Abbey. For boys, Arthur has returned to the top 10 names for boys in 2018, 84 years after it began falling out of favour. 

On the girl’s side, Ada has climbed 3,095 positions from its lowest point to now be in the top 50 girls’ names in 2019, returning to the position for the first time since 1924. Tommy and Polly have also risen in popularity since the debut of Peaky Blinders. 

Methodology

We looked at the popularity of a number of boy and girl baby names to find a list of baby names that were popular in the 1920s. We then compared these levels to current levels to find the names that are increasing in popularity in recent years and ranked them by which names have had the biggest jump in popularity over the last ten years. 

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