It would be really great if someone out there was reading through this list while listening to a Walkman. If they were eating FroYo or had just finished doing a Jane Fonda workout, then that would be even better.
See, this list is going to be ‘80s-tastic, so readers can hop in their DeLoreans and pack a puffy red vest, because we’re going back… to the future. Or something like that.
In case it isn’t clear, we like the 1980s. We think it was a nice time, if not a strange since fashion choices were made that can never be forgotten.
Yes, these are the names that so many will be familiar with from all those morning attendances that were called in class. These are names like Jessica and Stephanie and Britney. Or boy names such as Ian and Trevor and even A.J.
Yep, that’s right, these are names so ‘80s that it may just be like a walk down memory lane, or a history lesson, I suppose, depending on who is out there looking to be inspired today.
While these name may be super, super ‘80s, they might just be great for someone out there looking to go beyond the whole “name that isn’t really a name” thing. There's no Nori or Chicago or Stormi here. Nor is there an Apple or Kulture. Just good old-fashioned names from back in the day — more than two dozen of them, in fact.
She was that girl next to you in class. Oh, wait, no, there was one of her in pretty much every class you were ever in during school. In fact, based on my experience, there were probably enough of her that all three of them had to use a last initial after their first names in order to differentiate between the lot of them. Okay, okay — it actually is a rather pretty name, and its charms are clear. It is Hebrew in origin and means “gift” or “God beholds,” according to BabyNameWizard.com.
Spears. That is probably all I really have to say about that. An entire generation or two will forever think “Hit me, baby, one more time!” or start humming about things that are “toxic” when they hear the name Britney because of the famous pop star with the interesting story as she got into her adult years. Truly, though, Brit is an adorable nickname and the long form is still pretty cute, too, and it means “from Brittany” — fancy!
Sarah is actually really pretty, in my opinion, and while I have met a lot—and I mean a LOT—of them, all 500 of them have been really nice, sweet people, now that I think of it. And smart, to boot. Okay, Sarah is actually still a pretty name, simple and nice in the way it rolls off the tongue. Its origins go back to Hebrew as with so many names, but it has of course been used in various forms all over this big and beautiful blue planet.
He’s the cool guy at school, or maybe at the local teen hangout spot. Wait, guys, I think I may just be beginning to summarize that character from Saved by the Bell… The trend here, I guess, is although we’ve gathered up all these ‘80s-tastic names as a list of things of the past, we honestly can’t really help but still love them and enjoy looking back on all of these fond associations. You could, of course, do many variations of it; including the long form Zachary, and it means “the Lord has remembered,” says SheKnows.com.
Oh, dear, there have just been so, so many of them. Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer Anniston. Jenny from the block, aka JLo. I mean, it’s so ‘80s that Jennifer (Lopez) was literally a “fly girl” on Living Color; we’re reminded by a quick googling of the lovely three-syllable moniker for a girl. It means “the fair one” — so it’s pretty clear why so many parents chose it for their fair little ladies back in the day. While it may feel overused to parents now, we still kinda like it, TBH.
It’s kinda casual, kinda easy-goin’, and pretty darn cool, now that we think about it. It’s Ryder, and if people just stopped and thought about it for a minute, they would probably be able to guess what it means. It comes from the old name rīdere, according to Baby Name Wizard, and means “rider, knight, mounted warrior.” Okay, that’s actually pretty awesome, and it might just be time to revive Ryder, for today’s brave boys.
Ian Fleming, and like, five people in most graduating classes, too, had this name, and it’s actually pretty great. What I love about it is that it’s easy for kids to say and to learn to spell, and hey, maybe the parents of that weird and wonderful time known as the 1980s sort of had this in mind when they filled it in on those birth certificate forms back it the (neon-colored, stretch-pants-rocking) day. Go ahead and pick the name, actually. Just no more mullets, please.
Aw, Meg… Do you wanna get married, or run away? Sorry to say that I was actually miss-hearing the Goo Goo Dolls lyric all those times the hit “Slide” was on the radio (it’s actually “May” in that song). I guess it was the whole Meg Ryan thing. And man, was she the stuff of the ‘80s and ‘90s cuteness! But you know what? In all seriousness, if you want a name with origins in Wales that means “pearl,” I think I just found you a winner. I quite like it myself now that I know that it means that!
It’s sweet and cute, and yet most Kates I’ve met, heard about, or encountered are a bit more complicated. They're modern women with interesting pasts and imperfect presents. But that’s just my association with this nice name, which of course brings to mind related names such as Katherine, Kate, and so on and so forth. And hey, it actually means “to purge” or “to cleanse,” according to Oh Baby Names, so it’s funny that we’d think of characters interesting yet imperfect/impure at first hearing.
Oh, sweet baby names in the ‘80s, is this a relic. Believe it or not, it is actually a nature name, because of that wild plant, “small shrubs with pink or white flowers which commonly grow in rocky areas,” as is so succinctly spelled out for us by whomever wrote the blurb at Wikipedia. Go ahead: Name your kid after a shrubbery! No one’s stopping you. It is from Scotland, in any case, which adds a historic appeal to the name, to be sure.
I say you just go with Garwig — that sounds way more interesting. And hey, if we were all over in Old England, right now, that wouldn’t even be a little bit weird, believe it or not. Baby Name Wizard states that the old name Garwig is where the slightly more modern name Gary came from, and the meaning has to do with spears and battle and things like that. I don't know, man, “Gary” just doesn’t really scream battle, spears, and bravery to me. But that’s okay — I prefer peace anyway.
There’s the Jolly Old Saint one, and then the other thousand with various incarnations of this nice little name. Nicholas and Nick and all of those names. And I mean, any other name that you take and then shorten or change to make it a bit more friendly and cute is of course called a nickname. So there’s that. When I tried to look up the meaning of Nick, as in the name for boys, I instead got a handy list for people actually googling what to use as a pet name for a boy in their life: Junior, Baby Cakes, and Poopy are the standouts from the list. Nick, though, means “victory.”
There’s something very Full House and Babysitter’s Club about this one, am I right? I think Stephanie is probably the most ‘80s names in the whole wide world, and while we’ve surely met a lot—and we mean a LOT—of people called Stephanie, it by no means would lead us to give the moniker to our own children born in the modern age. It means “garland” or “crown,” according to Name Berry, so the appeal becomes clearer, and Steph is a fun nickname, after all.
So you came looking for ‘80s names, and we are not about to disappoint: Trevor. Right? Although the "T" name has that total vintage ring to it, it actually remains pretty darn cute. It’s one with origins in Ireland and Wales, so that’s cool, and it means “big village” — or “prudent”! Huh! That’s a thinker. The thing we like about it that we think modern parents will, too, is that Trevor can be either a first name or a last name, or surname, depending on what you wanna call it.
Okay, it was A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell, not A.J., but you see where I’m going with this. It’s just that naming a kid (or I suppose calling him by) a set of initials just seems like you’re trying really hard to be a cool guy in the ‘80s. And yes, Saved by the Bell did technically start in the ‘80s, during which many of its biggest fans were probably born. I guess this entry, A.J., is actually code for Alexander James, and if you like the ring of that, well then head on down to the next ‘80s-tastic idea on this list.
It could be for a boy. It could be for a girl. It could keep people guessing! And so, we think that many modern parents may actually quite like the name Alex, either all on its lonesome or as a short little version of Alexander, or Alexandra. Alex Mac, Alex on Laguna Beach… and probably a bunch of people from all of our own lives have had this name, and we feel like it’s one that people probably either really like or really don’t.
No, not Kylie — get your mind out of the tabloids. I mean Kyle, as in the name for a boy, which is so ‘80s it hurts. I can’t help but here it voiced in that whiny little South Park voice, and you know what? That kind of makes me like it more, actually. The name Kyle comes from a last name with origins in Scotland, and while this is cool as ice, the other radical part is that that it can be used for either a boy or a girl, similarly to the above entry. Your welcome.
Alicia Augello Cook — who dat? Well, the thing is, when you google Alicia, you get the results related to someone you may have heard of who is more commonly known as Alicia Keys. If you skip over all of that jazz and go down to the Wiki result, you will see that the name Alicia means “nobility” (fancy!) and that it is the way someone from Spain would go about naming their daughter Alice. Might need to revive this one!
She’s Cher’s nemesis from Clueless, and also so, so many chicks born in or around a little time known as the 1980s. Whether you think it’s, like totally “ambular” or have other associations, it’s actually a pretty nice name, right? I like fossilized resin in a warm honey shade as much as the next Jurassic Park fan, so why not name a kid after it? (That’s what amber is, which the She Knows baby names site reminds us of.)
Um, we had to do a double-take just now and make sure we didn’t already include this one on the list because it’s so generically ‘80s. Must have been thinking of the earlier entry Zack, guys, cause this one is fresh to the list, and it means battle, according to the good folks over at Wikipedia.com. If we were hangin’ around chatting in Old England, we’d be talking about the older name Ceadda, instead. Maybe modern parents will prefer to revive the related Chadwick!
I’m pretty sure this is the female lead’s name in Can’t Hardly Wait — which is a really good movie about graduating high school starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and so I guess this name has to be pretty great, after all, now that we think about it. If you’re older, you might think of a song by the band Boston. If you’re younger, you might think of The Amanda Show… But would you really want to?
I like the name Drew. I like the name Andrew, too, actually. I’ve met quite a lot of nice ones, in my time, and I’m willing to bet that many of my dear readers out there across the World Wide Web have, too. The given name Andrew means “manly,” "brave," "strong," "courageous," and "warrior" — whoa, that’s a lot of intense stuff. But you know what’s not? The sweet little nickname Andy, which is actually nice for either a boy or a girl.
Does anyone else think of feathered bangs and fanny-packs when they hear the name Ashley? There’s just something about it that makes us think of those things, and maybe also, like, stonewashed jeans, scrunched down socks, and aerobics tapes. If it isn’t clear to you by now, while we think it’s really, really enjoyable to poke fun about the 1980s, we secretly can’t help but love many things about this strange period of time in our recent history. Ashely means “ash tree meadow.” Huh.
It is literally “dusty.” Have we said enough? No? The name Dustin means “brave fighter,” or, to get more Nordic with it, “Thor’s stone.” Okay, I think we may have actually just convinced an entire new generation that this name is, in fact, one of the coolest things you could ever call your kid. In fact, no one uses it because I think I might want to just hoard it for my own use, just in case.
It’s the oldest story in the book. (See what I did there?) It’s short, it’s simple: It’s Adam. It means things like “to be red” — a reference to human skin, says the site Behind The Name — or “to make.” I think this might have something to do with a little creation myth a few people have probably heard of. For all things Genesis, for things more about origins than being original, and for plain and simple as you can get, take it back—and we mean WAY back—to “Adam.”
Sources: MomJunction.com, Babynamewizard.com, BehindTheName.com