Remember when Justin and Brittany dated? What about Beanie Babies? Nintendo 64? Gel pens? Yo-yos? Ah, memories. The 90s brought us many great things. Names, however, were not a strong suit for the decade.
You probably know at least one person for every name on this list whether it’s someone you went to school with, worked with, or dated. Read through this list and reminisce about the good ‘ole days when you played with your yo-yos at recess or listened to the Backstreet Boys at your local skating rink. The following names were trendy at the time, but the trend is ending. Your kid deserves a more unique name anyway!
Remember when you wanted a sequin fanny pack with your initial on it and your initial was sold out? Yeah, me too. Did you have a popular initial too? The 90s brought us a lot of names that begin with “B” or “J”. I don’t really know what the obsession with names that started with these letters. Don’t worry, you’ll see them on the list.
It’s hard work picking a name for your little one! You’re busy completing your shopping lists, the baby’s nursery, and reading all the baby books. The name you pick has to suit your darling in all stages of life from infanthood to becoming a grandparent.
Relax, we’ve got a whole list of names to stop considering. Go ahead and cross out these overused and classic 90s names from your list. Your kid will thank you!
Not to disappoint, we’ll start with a “B” name. Now I know what you’re thinking “but I love Brandy!” Yes, I love the singer Brandy just as much as the next girl. “Sittin Up in My Room” was my elementary school jam. You were probably in puppy love spending time waiting on your crush to call too. Remember landlines? Throwback! Did you ever see Brandy in the live version of Cinderella? Wasn’t she dazzling? Sure, Brandy is a great actress/singer. Brandy though is not such a great name.
Brandy is an English baby name after – you guessed it – the strong alcoholic spirit distilled from wine of fermented fruit juice. Can we just all agree you shouldn’t name your baby after alcohol? Can you imagine naming your kid “Whiskey”? No, that’s ridiculous. Really ladies, we don’t want a whole bunch of “Vodkas” or “Gins” running around on the playground, do we? Brandy should be no exception.
What do Michael Jordan and Martin Lawrence have in common? They have daughters named “Jasmine” who were born in the 90s. Here’s our first “J” name. Besides the fact that you would ultimately be naming your kid after a Disney princess (I’m looking at you, Disney World annual passholder), Jasmine is just losing popularity. Consider an encounter with a stranger at the grocery store who is admiring your baby girl. “She’s so cute! What is her name?” “Thank you. Her name is Jasmine.” “Oh, like the princess?” Every. Single. Time. It’s something to think about, mama.
Jasmine is a Persian name which means the Yas flower. Jasmine is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family. The flower is white and delicate. Is the Jasmine flower beautiful? Yes. Does jasmine smell good? Yes. Is jasmine tea delicious? Absolutely. If you haven’t tried it yet. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Teavana to try a cup. Does Jasmine make for a good name? No, it does not!
I know at least three ladies named Monica who were all born in the 90s. Keep in mind my hometown is 9,000 people strong. Monica was the 76th most popular name in 1990.
Your favorite Monica is probably Monica Geller from Friends. She was kooky, a terrible dancer, a clean freak, a great chef, and an even better friend. You’re probably thinking something like, “sounds like someone great to name peanut after!” Wrong.
Monica is a Greek baby name meaning “advisor”. So you are essentially naming your kid “advisor”? She’s a newborn. How can she advise anyone on anything? Need more convincing? Arguably the most famous “Monica” from the 90s is Monica Lewinksy. Ring a bell? She’s known for having an affair with President Bill Clinton. Beyonce brought Monica Lewinsky back to the media’s eye with her song “Partition”. “He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown” sound familiar?
How many variations of the name “Kay” do we really need? Kayla? Kailyn? Kaylee? Enough is enough. Stick with the classic “Kay” or “Kaye” if you like Kayla. It is a classic baby girls’ name that has withstood the test of time.
Kayla is of Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic origin meaning keeper of key; full of joy; pure. Okay, “full of joy” is a nice sentiment – even cute. “Keeper of keys” isn’t. Kayla is a shortened version of the Hebrew name Makayla meaning “who resembles God”. Makayla or Michaela is another good alternative to Kayla if you absolutely love the name.
Kayla was the 12th most popular name of the 1990s. Further, there were 155,878 baby girls born in the United States of America named Kayla in the 90s. The name likely gained popularity through the character named Kayla on the popular daytime TV series “Day of Our Lives”. Kayla dropped in popularity to the 22nd name of the 2000s for baby girls born in the United States.
Justin Timberlake is just as dreamy as he was in the 90s when he was dancing in *NSync. If you haven’t heard his new song “Filthy” yet, make sure to do so. As sexy as Justin Timberlake is, his name just doesn’t match up. Likely due to the obsession with all things *NSync and Justin Timberlake, Justin is the 17th most popular boy’s name of babies born in the United States of the 1990s.
The name Justin is Latin for just, righteous. That “Justified” album cover is making sense to you now, right? Up until the 20th century, typically only Irish baby boys were named “Justin”. The great immigration of Irish settlers brought the name to the United States in the 20th century and it gained in popularity throughout the century.
Although Justin Bieber had already taken over our iPod shuffles and our hearts by the mid-2000s, the name Justin dropped in popularity to the 29th most popular boy’s name for baby boys born in the United States.
The name is likely to continue on its trajectory, lower and lower on the most popular baby boy’s name list. Cross it off and keep moving.
Speaking of Justin Timberlake, his wife bears the name “Jessica”. If you grew up in the 90s you probably remember when Jessica Biel played “Mary” on 7th Heaven. Athletic, beautiful, and wild – Mary was the outcast on the show. Other famous women named Jessica include Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four and Honest Company Co-founder), Jessica Simpson (singer), Jessica Chastain (Mad Men), and Jessica Lange (American Horror Story).
Jessica first appeared in Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice. It makes sense that I mentioned “Juliet” as an alternative name, doesn’t it? Jessica is a Hebrew name meaning rich.
Jessica is the eighth most popular baby girl name for babies born in the United States for the years 1917-2016. That is nearly a century! The name is so common and overused. Skip it in lieu of something a little bit more unique. How about “Jackie” or “Juliet”? You don’t want your baby girl to be named “Jessica” in a sea of “Jessica’s”, do you?
Every time I hear the name Valerie I think of Amy Winehouse’s cover of “Valerie”. It’s a great song. Not the best name, though. Sure, Val is pretty cute. It’s the name of the hip trendy girl in the class who walks to the beat of her own drum. How often are people going to call her “Val” though? Valerie ranks #147 on the most popular baby girl names of babies born in the United States in the 1990s. It dropped to #155 in the 2000s. In the 2010s, Valerie dropped yet again to #167. Clearly the name hasn’t withstood the test of time.
Valerie means “fierce” and is of English, Irish, and French origin. It is a variation of the French name Valeria. The most famous Valerie in American pop culture is Valerie Bertinelli who has starred in Hot in Cleveland, Touched By an Angel, and One Day at a Time.
Alexis is the 99th most popular baby name of the past century of baby girls born in the United States of America. There are 334,364 baby girls named Alexis between the years 1917-2016. Your baby girl will literally be an Alexis in a sea of kids named Alexis. Skip the name. Too many syllables. It definitely doesn’t roll off the tongue, and it wouldn’t be easy to say when scolding your little one. Oh yes, she will disobey you one day. Just wait and see. Maybe try something gender neutral such as “Alex”? Consider it.
Alexis is a Greek name meaning “helper” or “defender”. The name historically has been used for males (especially in Russia) but today is more commonly used for baby girls. Another name to consider if you love Alexis is “Lexi”. This name is a common nickname for girls named “Alexis” but is not common as a first name.
First adjectives that come to mind when I hear Dawson? Rugged, masculine, and woodsy. Oh, and of course - Dawson’s Creek anyone? This name was not super popular but is definitely a 90s name. It didn’t even make the top 200 list of baby names in the United States in the 1990s. Like Justin Timberlake, James Van Der Beek who played Dawson was especially dreamy. That blonde hair, the brown eyes, the tall stature – it’s enough to make any girl want to name her baby boy Dawson. Not so fast. Before you get carried away, let’s look at the meaning of Dawson shall we? Dawson is an English name meaning David’s son. David’s. Son. Not cute.
Dawson is typically used as a last name and not a first name too. Think Rosario Dawson (Sin City), Len Dawson (professional football player), and Roxann Dawson (Star Trek: Voyager). If you love Dawson consider “Arrow”, “Archer”, or “Maverick”. They all elicit the same “rugged” feel.
If you grew up in Church you know Rebecca is a Biblical name. What you probably didn’t know is that it means “join, tie, snare”. Rebecca was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob in the Old Testament.
The name Rebecca was very popular in the 17th century just as it was in the 1990s. Rebecca ranked #169 in the 1990s among baby girls born in the United States of America. The name ranks #29 for baby girls born in the United States over the last century (1917-2016). To paint a clearer picture, that’s 729,158 baby girls named Rebecca over the last 100 years in the United States. Go ahead and cross off this super popular name on your list of potential names.
If you’re obsessed with the name Rebecca, consider “Harper”, “Rachel”, or “Becca” – a common nickname for little girls named “Rebecca”. Becca is way cooler. Think Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect.
If you’re a Friends addict, much to the chagrin of your partner you’ve probably considered the name “Phoebe”. Phoebe Buffay played by Lisa Kudrow was a fun-loving, spirited, super kooky lady. Phoebe didn’t make the top 200 baby girl names list of babies born in the United States in the 1990s, but was made popular by the American television show Friends.
Phoebe is a Greek name deriving from the male name Phoebus. Phoebus means bright and shining. An alternative name for Artemis (the goddess of the moon in Greek mythology), Phoebe symbolizes the moon in poetry. Phoebe is also a Biblical name. She was a woman mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.
Say “Bye Bye” to this name and consider something else for your little girl. If you love the fact that Phoebe symbolizes the moon, try something celestial such as “Celeste”, “Luna”, “Nova”, or “Ophelia” (moon of Saturn).
Seth ranked #90 on the list of most popular baby boy names in the United States of America in the 1990s. Granted most of the famous Seth’s in Hollywood are hilarious – Seth Green, Seth Rogen, Seth Meyers, and Seth McFarlane. Seth is a Hebrew name meaning anointed. Seth is a Biblical name and was the third son of Adam and Eve. Ironic how sacrilegious Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy is, isn’t it?
I always thought “Seth” was a good name for pet Snake. Seth the Snake. It has a ring to it, doesn’t it? It may suit a snake but it doesn’t fit a child. Seth doesn’t roll off the tongue. The “th” at the end is very awkward. Sure, junior will be able to spell his name with ease. It’s only four letters. Pronouncing it? Well that’s likely a different story.
If you like Seth, consider “Sean”, “Stephen”, “Caleb”, or “Ethan” instead. Your kid will have an easier time pronouncing his own name. You’ll be a cooler mom. Everyone wins.
Remember the show Doug from the 90s? A cute little character, wasn’t he? Doug the Pug has a nice ring to it. Doug the baby? Eh, not so much. Doug is typically used as a nickname for the name “Douglas”. It ranked #156 on most popular baby boy names in the 1990s among American born children. Douglas ranks #54 on the most popular baby boy names of the past century (1917-2016) of babies born in the United States of America.
Douglas is a Scottish baby name meaning dark water, dark stream or from the dark river. Today it is used as a baby boy name, but it was more commonly used as a baby girl’s name in the 17th and 18th centuries. Sure, if you’re a hippie, Douglas may make sense for a baby’s name. If you want to be super hippie name a girl Douglas. If you can’t stand the thought of naming your offspring “dark water”, consider these alternatives: “Gordon”, “Daniel”, “Logan”, or “Theodore”.
If you’re having a baby boy and love Friends, you probably have considered naming your little darling “Joey”. Sure, it’s not as recognizable as “Phoebe” from Friends but we all know which “Joey” you’re thinking of. Joey was the often times dumb, sweet, sexy friend. Dreamy? Yes. Good name? No way! Joey is a Hebrew name meaning “May Jehovah add/give increase”. It can be a shortened form of the name Joseph (a Biblical name – Mary’s husband, Jesus’ earthly father). The female version is Josephine.
Joey is also a common nickname for the name “Joe”. Famous people named Joe/Joey include: Joe Biden (Obama’s Vice President) and Joey Lawrence (heartthrob actor in Brotherly Love, Melissa & Joey, and Boy Meets World), among others.
If you love “Joey”, don’t worry. “These are just feelings.” “They will go away.” Consider some other names for your baby boy such as “Nick”, “Ross” (if you have to name a kid after Friends), “Tommy”, “Johnny” (hello, Johnny Depp).
Dennis the Menace? You don’t want your son’s name to rhyme with anything that means “threat or danger”. Will he jump out of a tree to prove to his friends he can? Sure. Do we want him to torment your neighbor’s cat? Nope! Dennis the Menace nearly killed his neighbor by using a slingshot to fling aspirin into his neighbor’s mouth while sleeping causing him to nearly choke to death. Better safe than sorry. Take this name off your list.
Parents of American born children don’t echo my sentiments. Dennis is the 49th most popular name of the past century for baby boys born in the United States of America. It ranked #178 in the 1990s among American-born baby boys.
For 90s lovers, the most famous Dennis is Dennis Quaid. He played Lindsay Lohan’s character’s father on Parent Trap. Dennis Quaid was the definition of hot dad and dad bod before it was thing.
Mercedes is the name of that one girl who almost won (runner up) on Tyra Banks’s America’s Next top model in cycle 2. Wasn’t that show great? Mercedes is a model and national spokesperson for the Lupus Foundation of America. Pretty cool, huh? But the name!
Mercedes is of Spanish origin meaning “mercy”. More recognizable, Mercedes is also a German car brand. Mercedes barely made the top 200 baby girl names list of American born children in the 1990s at #189. Can we implement a new rule? Don’t name your kid after a car brand. You would never think of naming your kid “Chevrolet”, “Infiniti”, “Honda”, or “Cadillac”, right? Okay, maybe you would consider “Infiniti”. The others? Definitely not! Well, I hope not.
Show your baby some mercy and skip “Mercedes”. Try names like “Grace”, “Gloria”, “Joy”, or “Carmen” if you want to stick with the mercy theme or love Spanish names.
Deanna has to be the homeliest name I’ve ever heard. Deanna is to homely what Jane is to plain (just doesn’t rhyme). In the 1990s, Deanna ranked #184 on the most popular baby girl names of babies born in the United States of America. As all trends do, the name Deanna too faded within a decade. By the 2000s, it dropped off the list.
The name Deanna was made popular by Canadian-born actress Deanna Durbin. She starred in several movies in the 1950s and 1960s. Think of her as the Canadian version of Judy Garland (Wizard of Oz; mother to Liza Minnelli).
Deanna is a Latin name meaning fertile. It is a variation of Diana, a Roman goddess of fertility and childbirth. “Come here, little fertile” doesn’t have the same ring I guess. Please don’t name your kid “fertile”. It’s rather strange.
Scratch “Deanna” off your list. Consider the following names instead: “Brianna”, “Dillon”, “Dana”, “Dahlia”, “Savannah”, or “Hannah”.
Rugrats ruined Angelica for me. She was the bossy and rude one of the group. She was terrible.
Another reason not to name your baby girl “Angelica”? Angelica is a tall plant of the parsley family. Angelica is a Latin baby name leaning angel. It is typically used for baby girls even though angels are male. For those of you who went to church growing up, remember Michael the angel who told Mary she was pregnant? Definitely a male angel.
Angelica ranks #105 of top baby names for baby girls born in the United States of America in the 1990s. Angelica didn’t make the top 100 baby names list for girls from the last hundred years. The variation “Angela” did however rank #36.
The most recognizable Angelica in American culture is Anjelica Huston. Notice the unique spelling. She is most notable for playing Morticia Addams in the Addams Family. She also played the evil stepmother in Ever After, the film where Drew Barrymore plays Cinderella.
Tiffany was the 37th most popular name of the 1990s among baby girls born in the United States of America. You can’t help but to think of the jewelry company Tiffany & Co., right? Apparently American parents love this name and have for a while now. “Tiffany” ranks #98 on the most popular baby names in the United States over the past century.
Tiffany is a Latin name meaning manifestation of God. Common nicknames for “Tiffany” include Tiff, Ti-Ti, Tiffy, and Fanny. Remember that show Flavor of Love on VH1? It was the bachelor before bachelor was cool. The most explosive personality and contestant on the show was Tiffany Pollard or “New York” as she was called on the show. Apparently she’s addicted to plastic surgery now. Maybe not the best person for your daughter to share a name with.
Don’t name your kid after jewelry. Find something more unique. Perhaps “Taylor”, “Megan”, “Victoria”, or “Rachel” will work better for you.
Cheyenne made #100 on the list of most popular baby girl names of the 1990s for babies born in the United States of America. It has since dropped significantly in popularity to a pre-1990 level. Cheyenne is a Native American baby name and is the name of an Algonquian tribe of the Great Plains. The name Cheyenne means unintelligible speaker. Cheyenne is also the capital and most populous city of the state of Wyoming.
If you do choose to name your daughter “Cheyenne”, she will already have a song named after her by Jason Derulo. This name rose in popularity due to the show Reba. Reba’s daughter’s name on the show is named Cheyenne Montgomery. It doesn’t get much more country than that, folks! (And I’m from the country. Consider me your official guide).
Cheyenne always sounded like a horse whisperer’s name to me. Scratch the name off your list mama. If you like city names, consider the following: “London”, “Bailey”, “Bristol”, “Adelaide”, “Charlotte”, “Chelsea”, “Sydney”, and “Savannah”.
Abigail ranks #42 on the list of top names of the 1990s given to female babies born in the United States. The name is very popular and England and Wales, ranking in the top 75 names for baby girls since 1996. Popular nicknames for Abigail include “Abby”, “Gail”, “Gayle”, “Abbey”, and “Abbie”. Abigail is a Hebrew name meaning “father’s joy”. Abigail is also a Biblical name. She was King David’s third wife.
The most notable Abigail of Hollywood is Abigail Breslin who played roles in Little Miss Sunshine, Scream Queens, Zombieland, and My Sister’s Keeper. Other famous Abigails include: Abigail Adams (First Lady, married to President John Adams), and Abigail Fillmore (First Lady, married to President Millard Fillmore).
This name is such a mouthful. Sure, the nicknames can be cute. Well, except for Gayle (Oprah’s best friend). If you like “Abigail” and want to use a Biblical name, try “Sarah” or “Eve”.
I have never met a Brittany I liked. I grew up with a least five girls named Brittany or Brittney. They’re all horrible. You’ve probably had a similar experience.
Brittany ranks #92 on the most popular baby girl names for babies born in the United States in the last 100 years. The name take 7th place for top baby names in the United States in the 1990s. The name is English meaning “from Briton”. As you can imagine the name is quite popular in the United Kingdom. Alternate spellings of “Brittany” include “Brittney” and “Britney”.
In American culture famous Brittanys/Britneys include Brittany Murphy (Clueless, 8 Mile, Uptown Girls), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect) and Britney Spears. Although we 90s lovers are all happy to see a much healthier Britney Spears, we can’t forget that she shaved her head in 2007. She can be rather unhinged at times. Maybe you should think twice before naming your darling daughter after the “Toxic” superstar.
Brady is a Scottish name meaning spirited. Was your friend Brady’s mom obsessed with the Brady Bunch? Yeah, I thought so. The name was reintroduced by the naming of Miranda’s son from Sex and the City. Brady has historically been used as surname instead of a first name. Remember Miranda’s lover and Brady’s dad was named Steve Brady. Also the Brady bunch was named so because Brady was the family’s shared last name.
Brady ranked #195 on the list of top baby boy names for American born children in the 1990s. It did not make the list of top 100 baby names of American children of the past hundred years. Brady is better left as a last name. Think dreamboat National Football League player and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. If you like “Brady”, consider “Brian”, “Carson”, “Bryce”, “Ryan”, or “Austin”. If you are obsessed with Sex and the City, consider the following names “John”, “Aidan”, or “Smith”.
Tricia is supposed to be a cooler version of Patricia. It’s still terrible. Did you know that Patricia is the number three most popular baby girl name in the United States of the past hundred years? Yes, I was surprised too. In the 1990s, Patricia was #133 on the list of most popular baby girl names in the United States of America. Patricia is a Latin name meaning “noble”. The male version is “Patrick”. Pat is also a common nickname for “Patricia”.
Did you ever see Easy A? The movie based off of The Scarlet Letter starring the ever witty Emma Stone? The actress who played her mom is Patricia Clarkson. That’s about the most culturally relevant Patricia I could find for you. Skip Patricia. The name is really too long in my opinion. Tricia isn’t any cooler. Try names like “Catherine”, “Elizabeth”, “Mary”, or “Sofia” if you like the idea of a “royal” or “noble” name.
We started out talking about baby names inspired by alcohol (Brandy). It’s only fitting that we end our list with another alcohol inspired name.
Crystal (also spelled Krystal, Cristal, Chrystal) is the English word for clear glass. The word comes from a Greek word meaning “ice”. Another source of inspiration for Cristal includes Cristal, the $300 bottle of champagne. Remember our rule? No naming kids after alcohol. Okay, okay. Cristal the champagne is pronounced differently than Crystal typically. It’s too similar. Skip it all together! Yes, you may intend for people to pronounce your daughter’s name as CHRYS-tal. That doesn’t mean other people will.
Crystal Reed plays Allison Argent on MTV’s Teen Wolf and Sofia Falcone on Gotham. Although she was born in 1985, the name Crystal peaked in popularity in the 1990s. Crystal ranked #65 of top baby names given to American-born baby girls in the 1990s.
If you like the name “Crystal” consider these other names for your baby girl: “Ruby”, “Amethyst”, “Opal” or “Amber”.