20 Most Popular '80s Baby Names Worth Bringing Back

Wendy Robinson | Mar 12, 2020 Pregnancy
20 Most Popular '80s Baby Names Worth Bringing Back
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Acid-washed and high-waisted jeans are making a comeback. So are leg warmers and and even neon colors. If those somewhat questionable fashion moments can be cool again, why can't some of the most popular names from the 1980s? Although some of the most popular 1980s boy names never really went away -- Michael was number one then and is still a top 20 name choice -- others have almost been forgotten. 

There are for sure some parts of the 1980s that definitely don't need to make a comeback. Like, hello, nobody needs to rock a sincere mullet or sky-high bangs ever again. That being said, there are some options from the Social Security's roster of top 1980s names that are still actually pretty great. In the spirit of retro things becoming cool again, we've dug through and found 10 boy names and 10 girl names that haven't been used in a while so might still sound fresh and modern. So, dig out those old Bon Jovi or New Kids on the Block tapes, throw on a pair of tight Jordache jeans, and get ready to find the perfect classic or newly hipster choice. Read on, because we think moms-to-be can find a name that is totally rad. 

  • Jeffery 


    Jeffery, which has German origins and means "peace," was a top 30 name choice in the 1980s, ranking 29th among boy names. Usage of the name has declined steeply since the early 1990s, and it was ranked #1430 for boy names in 2019. This name is an appropriate choice for parents who want a name that is familiar but not common. And how cute is Jeff or Jeffy for a baby nickname?

  • Jessica 


    Any gathering of more than 10 women in their 40s is almost certainly going to have a least one Jessica in it. Jessica was the most popular girl's name of the 1980s, but it has fallen a lot since then. It's now ranked #545 for girl's name in the US. We still think this name, which has Hebrew origins and means "god sees," is pretty and feminine. 

  • Kenneth 

    Eva Blanco/istock.com

    For parents who are looking for a name with some Scottish or Irish vibes but think that Aidan or Liam are overused, we've got an '80s name that will work! Kenneth, which means "born of fire" or "handsome," was a top 50 name in the 1980s but is out of the top 100 now. We like Kenny for a nickname too!

  • Cory/Corey 

    Viktoriia Hnatiuk/istock.com

    No matter how you spell it, Cory was once a popular name -- anyone remember Corey Haim and Corey Feldman?  This name with Irish origins ranked in at #62 (Corey) and #70 (Cory) for the 1980s, but is now far less common. Although it can be a unisex option, it is generally more popular as a boy's name.

  • Allison


    Allison is ranked 50th for most popular names in the 1980s, but its popularity has declined since then. The nickname Allie makes this a really cute choice, and those looking for a fresher spelling can mix it up and try Ellison instead. The name has Scottish roots and means "noble," which is a lovely legacy to give a baby girl. 

  • Aaron


    This Hebrew name, which means "high mountain" or "exalted, enlightened," was the 30th most popular boy's name in the 1980s but has since moved out of the top 50. Aaron is a classic name, perfect for the kid who is always going to be in the front of any alphabetical order line at school.

  • Alicia 


    Alicia is the Spanish version of the name Alice and means "noble." It was ranked in the top 50 in the 1980s but now is out of the top 200 names in the US. Sweet nickname options include Ali or Cia, or you can just go with Alicia in an homage to Alicia Keys! 

  • Vanessa 


    There is nothing more 1980s than The Cosby Show. Although Bill Cosby is no longer the father we all wanted, we still have a soft spot in our heart for the smart and sassy Vanessa Cosby! Vanessa was a top 50 name in the 1980s but has dropped down into the 200s now. The name has English origins and is an elegant choice. 

  • Jesse 


    No '80s hit song list is complete without "Jesse's Girl," and so no '80s name list is complete without it either. Jesse, which can be unisex, was the 49th most popular name in the 1980s but has since fallen out of the top 100. We like the symbolism of the name, which comes from the Hebrew word for "gift." 

  • Kathryn


    Just making it in to the top 50 girl names of the 1980s is the elegant name Kathryn. This name, which is thought to be English in origin, means "pure." It can also be spelled Catherine or Katherine and offers multiple great nickname options including Katie (or Katy) and Kathy, which makes it great for both a little girl and an adult woman. 

  • Patrick 


    When it comes to classic 1980s movies, it's pretty hard to beat Dirty Dancing. This movie, which came out in 1987, starred the forever dreamy Patrick Swayze. The name Patrick is just as classic as that movie, but it has somehow managed to drop out of the top 100 male names in the US. We think it is ready for a comeback!

  • Shannon 


    Although many Irish names have enjoyed a lot of popularity recently, the name Shannon has fallen out of the top 1000 names for girls. This name, which means "old and wise," was ranked 39th in the 1980s. One cute but somewhat unexpected nickname for Shannon is Shay, which feels very modern and unisex.

  • Gregory


    For parents who want a name with some serious historical clout and some 1980s nostalgia, the name Gregory might be the ticket. Fun fact: There are more than 15 popes and saints with this name, which has Greek roots and means "vigilant" or "watchman." Even though this name was a top 50 name in the past, it has since slipped down to the 400s, so it fits that nice niche of classic but not common.

  • Julie 


    Julie was ranked 51st for names in the 1980s but has since dropped out of the top 500 names for girls in the United States. This French name, which means "youthful," has many wonderful variations, including Juliet, Jules, and Julianna.

  • Brian 


    Brian, which can also be spelled Bryan, was a top 20 boy's name in the 1980s but has since dropped out of the top 200. This Irish choice means "strong" or "virtuous and honorable," which is appropriate for a son!

  • Angela 


    Every mom thinks her baby is a little angel. And we're all right, of course! But for those who want to make that literal, the popular 1980's name Angela comes from the Latin for "angel." Variations include Angelica, Angelina, and even Angie as a sweet nickname.

  • Scott 


    Born in 1983, reality star Scott Disick was a real 1980s baby. But he was far from the only Scott born in that decade, as Scott was the 38th most popular boys name of the time. The name, which is Scottish (of course) is currently ranked outside of the top 500 boys names in the United States. 

  • Mary


    For most of the twentieth century, including the 1980s, the name Mary was one of the most popular girls names ever. The Hebrew name meaning "bitter" has deep religious meaning but has recently fallen out of the top 100 names. Maria, Marion, and Maura are all related options that are also not current top choices. 

  • Justin


    How about a 1980s name that is totally righteous? Justin, a name with Latin origins, was almost a top 10 name in the '80s, coming in at #12. The name means "fair" and "righteous" and is now commonly associated with Justin Timberlake and Justin Trudeau, who are both pretty cute representatives!

  • Kayla


    Kayla, which means "laurel" or "crown", was ranked #54 in the 1980s but has since been replaced in popularity with similar names like Kylie, Kinsey, and even Kaylee. The name is Arabic and Hebrew, and was the name of a popular character on the wildly popular '80s soap opera Days of Our Lives.

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