The Most Swinging Baby Names From The 40’s

The 1940’s was a time of war in our nation and cultural roles were quickly shifting. While men were at war, women that were usually housewives were going back to work. They needed to be able to support their families while their husbands were away.

During this era men and women alike displayed classic style. Women with pin curls and hourglass silhouettes and men wore trench coats. The 1940’s represented class, elegance, and glamour.

So what names did people have during this time? They had names that represented this era, classic. Look no further, here is a list of baby names from the 1940’s . This list includes traditional 1940‘s names as well as unique ones.

24 Stella

This name might sound familiar to you. The name Stella was made popular because of a Tennessee Williams play called ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ . It means "Star" in Latin, and was created by the 16th-Century poet Sir Philip Sidney. Stella shines bright just like it’s meaning.

100 years ago Stella remained a top 100 favorite.  It dipped in popularity, but thanks to the current trend of 20th century names, Stella has made a big comeback.  And it should, this name is timeless and classic and here to stay.

Famous people named Stella include Stella McCartney, a famous fashion designer.  Another interesting fact about the name Stella is that a famous actress by this name developed the "Adler Method" of acting.  Her name was Stella Adler.

23 Mattie

You will love the name Mattie if you imagine your daughter to be a powerful warrior once she exits the womb. The name has German roots. Matilda and Martha are also variants of Mattie. Other meanings associated with Mattie are "noble" and "mighty".  

The great thing about Mattie is it also considered a unisex name.  This is probably because it is also short for Matthew.  This name is perfect for parents who aren't sure what the sex of the baby is and need a unisex name.

You maybe surprised to know that if you are from Australia that Mattie isn't a persons name at all.  In Australia, Mattie is a slang word used to describe a bushman's pack.

22 Leo

Leo is certainly a highly recognizable name. It’s Latin for the king of the jungle , the Lion. Many important people in history possessed the name Leo. These well-known people include 13 Catholic Popes, 6 Emperors, and 5 Armenian Kings.  

There is also a well-known handsome actor that goes by this name...Leonardo “Leo” DiCaprio. You absolutely can’t go wrong with this noble name.

Throughout the history of the name Leo it has remained consistently popular, which isn't a surprise for this dominate name.  And it's not just popular in the United States, but in other countries as well such as Finland, France, and England.  Among 15 countries Leo was ranked in the top 100 in names. These facts speak volumes on how great this name is.

If you like Leo but want a feminine version of this name, Leola is a great option.

21 Beatrice

Beatrice is a name that is sure to bring joy to your heart. Beatrice is a Latin name meaning “she who makes happy" or"voyager through life”. Beatrix  is the French version of this name.

Beatrice is a name for parents who consider themselves romantics. Throughout  history, the name Beatrice was the subject of poems and plays. In the poem "The Divine Comedy", Beatrice Portinari was the guide for Dante through a beautiful paradise.  It was also featured in the Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing”.

Beatrice is a name fit for a princess, or perhaps a queen.  Beatrix was the Queen of the Netherlands until 2013, she had a 33 year reign.

You can read more about the name Beatrice in the book "Bring Back Beatrice".  In the book and author gives the rich detail and history of such classic names like Beatrice.  It sounds like this  book is worth checking out.

20 Gwendolyn

This Welsh name means “fair, blessed and white-browed” was very popular during the 1940’s.  The name Gwendolyn is Celtic-derived, and is believed to be a name originating during the Medieval times, though there are no records of an actual person going by this name.  The name Gwendolyn was mostly used in fictional stories.  

The earliest recordings of a real person going by Gwendolyn only came in the 19th century.  However, it is speculated that other names such as Gwenllian and Gwenhwyfar were inspirations for the name Gwendolyn, hence no record of it.

Though the history of Gwendolyn is a little sketchy, it can still be used by those who are fans of Medieval times.

People named Gwendolyn have been described as kind, bright, gentle and rich. Perhaps this fact is true,  there are two women poets in history named Gwendolyn.

19 Charlene

Charlene is the feminine version of Charles. Though Charles means "man" in French, this name is anything but manly. The feminine version means "small beauty", and if you name your little girl this, that’s exactly what she will be,  a small beauty.  This name can also be spelled Charline.  

In the 1940's it rank #115 on the name charts, presently it ranks #1532.  It went up in popularity in 2015.  This is a charming name for a daughter, who is sure to be a "small beauty" once she is born.

18 Avis

No this name is not just a spell in Harry Potter books, it also means "bird". Avis is the Latin version of Aveza, which is German.  Pronounced ( AY-viss).  Avis was popular name during the Middle Ages, then remerged again during the 1940’s.  The Normans introduced this name to England.  The exact meaning of Avis name is unknown, but it is said to mean "desired".

Variations of this name include the German name Ava, and the English name Avila.  Avis is an uncommon name today.  This just means that your little is unlikely to encounter someone with this name as they grow up.

17 Rollo

When one thinks of Rollo they would never guess that it means “wolf” or “famous in the land”.  Rollo is pronounced (ROWL-ow). Which is such very fitting for a powerful Viking leader,  who was exiled during the medieval period.   This same Viking leader also became the first Duke of Normandy in (860-932).  It’s a boys name would be perfect for a rambunctious brave little guy.  Variations for Rollo are Rolf, Rudolph, and Rolla.  

16 Cosette

If you are looking for a classic and fairly uncommon name, Cosette is it. Pronounced (koh-ZETT).  In 2015 only 138 girls were given this name. Cosette means "little thing", and is the female version of Nicolas. It has French origins. Author Victor Hugo named a character whose real name was Euphrasie from his novel “Les Miserables” Cosette. Cosette is the female romantic lead and Jean Valjean's beloved adopted daughter.

15 Valencia

Besides being the third largest city in Spain, Valencia also means "brave" or "strong and healthy". It’s not a very popular name, which makes it perfect for parents who want an uncommon girls name.  Valenciah, Valyncia, Valencya, and Valenzia are all variations of this name.  

This exotic name is beautiful and it reached the height of its popularity in 1970 and has since declined. It's currently ranked at #2080 in the name charts.   No, that doesn’t mean it’s any less fabulous, it just means it’s waiting to be discovered again.

14 Kent

Kent is of Celtic origin and means “Country in Southeast England” or "high or coastal land". The surname Kent as a rich history and there is a lot historical data regarding this noble name.  Its history can be traced back to Britain, more specifically Berkshire.  Kent hit it’s peak popularity between 1940-1960. This name may sound familiar because of the super hero with the alter-ego, whose name was Clark Kent in Superman.  Though it is a boys names, surprisingly more girls are named Kent then boys. It also has remained pretty steady in popularity for girls as well. 

13 Morris

Maurice is a the English variation of Morris, which means “dark-skinned”. Morris derived from the Latin name Mauritius (Moorish).  The Moors were Muslim people who were said to be dark in skin color.  Morris was one a Top 100 name in the early 1900’s. It's unheard of these days for Morris to be a first name, since throughout history it was a popular last name.  

Morris is a strong distinguished name.  Though it’s no longer popular in the United States, it’s ranked very high in the Netherlands.

12 Claude

Some might tilt their head in confusion when finding out the meaning of Claude, which is “lame”. However, it is a very noble French name. There were also a plethora of early settlers who came to America that went by this name. So despite it’s meaning, the name Claude has rich history. You may also recognize this name from painter/artist Claude Monet.  

It currently ranks as #889 on the U.S. birth charts.  The female version of this name is Claudette and Claudine.

11 Denzil

The first person that comes to mind when seeing this name is the famous actor Denzel Washington, which is a variation of Denzil. Denzil is of Celtic origin, and surprisingly is an uncommon name for boys in countries other than America.   It is pronounced (DEN- zil). Denzil means “fort” or "from the high stronghold". 

Denzil  makes a great name for both boys and girls.  If you don't know if  you are having a boy or girl, and want something unique Denzil fits the bill.   In 2015 only 10 boys and 5 girls were given this name.  This statistic shows just how rare and uncommon this name is.

10 Revel

Revel is a name for boys and girls. Revel means “a merry celebration”, and that’s sure to be the case when your baby is born. Revel originated in the early medieval period.  It can also mean fun-love, boisterous, or riot.  Revel can also be spelled Revell, Revill, and Reavell.  This name is perfect for parents who want a non traditional name, that packs a punch.

9 Neville

Neville is a French name, meaning “new town”. This name is a very popular British name. It might also sound familiar to you because of the musical artists Neville Brothers. Besides these facts there isn’t much information on this mysterious and rare name. This is another name that is used as a surname, but makes a great first name for a little boy.  If you are looking for a unique name then Neville is the perfect fit.  

8 Nola

Nola is steadily becoming popular again. Nola has old-school charm with a modern twist. This name has multiple meanings. The Celtic and American meaning is “famous” and the Irish meaning is “fair shoulders”. Nolan is the masculine version of this name. Pronounced (NOW-laa), it is the shortened version of Finola.

7 Lyle

Lyle means “island” and it can be traced back to France. You may have recognize this name from the popular children’s song “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” and singer Lyle Lovett.

Lyle is most commonly used as a surname, among the English and Irish.  Lyle was among the top 1000 from 1880-1995.  That is a pretty good run for a baby name.

6 Connie

Connie is a form of Constance and it means to be knowledgeable and steadfast. It is an Irish name and the masculine versions of this name are Conrad and Cornelius.  Constance was used during the 17th century by the Puritans.  

Don't like the the English version of this name?  You could go with Consuela, Consolota of Constantia.

If you are familiar with the glamourous 1940's star Veronica Lake, you might be surprised to know that her birth name was Constance.

It wasn't until 1994 when Connie started to make a steady downward trend on the name chart.

People who are named Connie are said to be very pleasant, sensitive and considerate.

5 Bramwell

Bramwell is a Old English name that means “broom brambles”. Bramwell is used most commonly as a last name in England.  The earliest record of this name was in the 12th century.  Bramwell, is also spelled Bremwell. 

Though the meaning of this name is a bit funny, it has a very strong and noble feel to it. It's also perfect for those looking for a last name that sounds good as a forename.  Also, if you like rare names then Bramwell is the right fit for you.  In 2015 there were zero babies named Bramwell.

People named Bramwell are said to be energetic, hardworking, rich and humble.  That doesn't sound too bad.

There is one famous person who goes by this name and it is Bramwell Fletcher who was an actor.

4 Jinx

If you are superstitious then this name is right up your alley. Jinx means “Spell”.  If you love corky names this one is sure to captivate you with it’s mystical meaning.  Supposedly, the name derived from the Greek nymph name Iynx.  It is said that Iynx invented a love charm that she used to make Zeus fall in love with her.  

According to most dictionaries the name Jinx comes from the name of a bird called Wryneck, which is a greek word Iunx.  There is much debate on the actual origin of this name.  Still, it is held in high regard in the Pagan community.

Jinx is also a popular name in the comic book world.   Jinx was also a character in the James Bond film “Die Another Day”. This name recently had a peak in popularity, spiking at an all time high this year in 2016.

3 Eunice

Eunice has Biblical roots. There was a women named Eunice in the Bible that was noted for not being a hypocrite. She was Timothy’s mother. Eunice introduced Timothy to Christianity.  

Despite it's biblical roots Eunice found popularity among the Puritans.  After the Protesant Reformation

Eunice means “Good victory”, or “conquering well”. Eunice is actually derived from the greek name Eunike.  There is also a greek goddess named Nike, she was the  goddess of victory. Eunice was very popular in 1910 and started to trail off in the 1990’s.

2 Corliss

Corliss means just how it sounds, “carefree person”. Corliss has a free spirited artistic feel, that is sure to please parents who embody a carefree life. Corliss showed up on the name charts during the 1940’s, when it was at it’s highest popularity. 

Corliss was originally an English surname but overtime transferred to a forename.  Besides this fact there isn't much history on the name forename Corliss.  However, it is sure to contain a lot of history if the surname Corliss is searched for in ancestry records.

Are you a free spirited parent that is looking for a name?  If you are then Corliss is the name for you little one.  It's unique and corky, with a classic sound.

1 Gussie

Gussie is a shortened feminine version of Augustus or Augusta. 1880 was when this name was at it’s peak popularity.    Gussie means “great, magnificent”. Nowadays, Gussie is a very uncommon name, that is sure to stand out in a crowd.  Augusta (the name Gussie is derived from) was given to wives and and daughters of Emperors as a title of honor.  

The 1940's was the last time this name got shine. Since then it has been on a downward trend. This name is very unique only 5 babies in the U.S. were given this name in 2015.  Talk about a rare name!  Gussie can be girl or a boy name.  Depending on the historical time period, there are times when Gussie is more popular for boy and other times more popular for girls.  

Sources: OurBabyNamer.com, SheKnows.com, ThinkBabyName.com, NameBerry.com

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