200+ Most Popular 1940s Names For Baby Girls And Boys

✔ Research-backed

The ’40s may be known as ‘the war years,’ but 1940s names are a symbol of something more vibrant and humane. They are the mirrors of culture, art, and fashion, inspired by individuals in the limelight such as Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, John Wayne, and more. These monikers also reflect influences of different cultures, languages, and even religions. Names popular in the 40s show a mix of strength, glamor, and creativity that still catches our eye today. Have a look at our list to find a name you like.

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200+ Unique Baby Names In The 1940s

According to the SSA, the names on this list were some of the most loved monikers back then (1).

1940s Girl Names

Have a look at this list of popular feminine names during the 1940s and discover some timeless and elegant options.

1. Alice

Alice is a well-loved appellation worldwide. The name has its roots in Old French and Germanic. Taken from the Germanic name Adalheidis or Adelaide, it carries the connotation of ‘nobleness’ or ‘nobility.’

2. Anita

Anita is a popular choice in two different parts of the globe. As a European name, it is a diminutive of Ann or Anna, names derived from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning ‘favor’ or ‘grace.’ However, as an Indian name, Anita has Sanskrit roots and is the feminine form of Anit. It means ‘not guided.’

3. Ann

This feminine name has been in use since the Middle Ages. As the English and Manx form of Anne, Anna, or Hannah, it has roots in Hebrew and it means ‘favor’ or ‘grace.’

4. Anna

The variants and diminutives of Hannah were a popular choice during the 40s. Anna is a widely used name in different parts of the world. The popularity of the name may also be attributed to its usage in the Bible. Anna means ‘favor’ or ‘grace.’

5. Anne

Anne is the French form of Anna but also used as a masculine name in Frisian. The feminine connotation of Anne is ‘favor’ or ‘grace.’ In Frisian, Anne is usually the shortened form of Old German names that carry the ‘arn’ element, meaning ‘eagle.’

6. Annie

A diminutive of Anne mainly used by the English, French, and Dutch-speaking communities. Derived from Hannah, a Hebrew name, it means ‘grace’ or ‘favor.’

7. Arlene

Arlene is a Filipino and English name that comes from Arline. The exact meaning of the name remains a mystery. However, there are speculations that the name came into existence through Michael William Balfe, who created the name for the main character in his opera The Bohemian Girl.

8. Barbara

Many may not know that Barbara is actually a Greek name. Taken from the Greek word ‘barbaros,’ it means ‘foreign.’

9. Betty

A cute and lovely diminutive of Elizabeth, Betty has been a popular choice for ages. It means ‘my God is an oath,’ and is further popularized by one of the main female characters in Archie Comics named Betty Cooper.

10. Beverly

Beverly is a unisex name that has its origins as a surname. It was derived from the name of a Yorkshire city that means ‘beaver stream.’ The name initially gained popularity as a masculine name in the 19th century and gradually came to be used as an American feminine name.

11. Bonnie

Taken from the Irish word ‘bonnie,’ this feminine name means ‘pretty.’ The film Gone with the Wind might have boosted its popularity.

12. Brenda

This name has Old Norse roots and traveled to Britain during the Middle Ages. Inspired by the masculine name Brandr, Brenda is the feminine form and means ‘fire,’ ‘torch,’ or ‘sword.’

13. Carol

Carol is a unisex name in the English-speaking world. A shortened version of Caroline or Carolus, it could either mean ‘hymn,’ ‘song,’ ‘man,’ or ‘army.’ In Romania, Carol is perceived as a masculine name that carries the connotation of ‘man’ or ‘army.’

14. Carole

Similar to Carol, Carole is the French alternative and feminine form of Carolus. With roots in German, it means ‘man’ or ‘army.’

15. Carolyn

Carolyn is a spelling variant of Caroline, the feminine form of Carolus. It carries the meanings of ‘man’ or ‘army’ and has Germanic origins.

16. Catherine

This name is popularly seen as a French spelling of Katherine and widely used by English speakers. Catherine comes from the Greek name Aikaterine and carries multiple connotations such as ‘each of the two,’ ‘my consecration of your name,’ or ‘pure.’

17. Charlene

There are two ways to pronounce this elegant name, ‘shahr-LEEN’ or ‘chahr-LEEN.’ Charlene is the feminine form of Charles and is rooted in Germanic. It carries the connotations of ‘man’ or ‘army.’

18. Charlotte

Charlotte is another feminine form of Charles but is commonly seen in the French communities. The British started using the name in the 17th century. One of the famous bearers of this name was author Charlotte Brontë.

19. Cheryl

A name perhaps brought into the limelight by actress Cheryl Walker, it is an elaboration of Cherie, which means ‘darling.’ As an English name, Cheryl may have been combined with Beryl, which refers to a precious stone.

20. Christine

Christine is a popular European name, however, it is specifically the French alternative of Christina. Derived from the masculine medieval Latin name Christian, Christine means ‘a Christian.’

21. Connie

A unisex appellation, but Connie is mostly used as a feminine name, Connie comes from Constance or other names that begin with ‘Con.’ With Late Latin roots, the name means ‘constant’ or ‘steadfast.’

22. Constance

Constance is the Medieval spelling for Constantia, the feminine form of Constans. It is a Late Latin name that means ‘constant’ or ‘steadfast.’

23. Cynthia

A name that has made its mark in Greek mythology. Cynthia has Greek roots and comes from the given name Kynthia, meaning ‘woman from Cynthus.’ Cynthia has also been used as a reference to the goddess Artemis.

24. Darlene

You may have guessed the meaning of this name based on its sound. The name is derived from the English word ‘darling,’ and combined with the suffix ‘lene.’

25. Deborah

Deborah is a well-loved name over the centuries. With roots in Hebrew, Deborah is also a Biblical name that means ‘bee.’

26. Delores

A variant of Dolores, Delores comes from a Spanish title for the Virgin Mary and it means ‘sorrow.’ The name grew in popularity in America during the 30s and 40s.

27. Diana

An elegant name, Diana is famous in many parts of the world. The name has Latin roots and it means ‘divine’ or ‘goddess-like.’

28. Diane

Diana has a plethora of spelling variants and Diane is one of them. Frequently used by the French-speaking population, Diane has Latin roots and carries the connotations of ‘goddess-like’ or ‘divine.’

 29. Dolores

Delores wasn’t the only popular choice during the 40s, the original name was also a top pick. With Spanish roots, Dolores means ‘sorrow.’

30. Donna

Either taken from the Italian word ‘donna’ for ‘lady,’ or as a feminine form for Donald, Donna made its mark during the 40s.

31. Doris

Coming from the shores of Greece, Doris is a Greek name, which was used to refer to the Dorians, a tribe who occupied the Peloponnese during the 12th century. Doris means ‘Dorian woman.’

32. Dorothy

Dorothy is a variant of Dorothea. The English name has been in use since the 16th century. However, the name has its roots in Greek and means ‘gift of God.’

33. Edna

Edna is both a Hebrew and a Biblical name. In the Old Testament, Edna was the wife of Raguel. The name means ‘pleasure,’ and was borne by American poet and playwright, Edna St. Vincent Millay.

34. Eileen

Used as an Irish and English name, Eileen is the anglicized spelling of Eibhlín, the Irish form of Aveline. In some cases, Eileen is considered to be the Irish form of Helen, a Greek name that means ‘torch’ or ‘corposant.’

35. Elaine

Elaine is an English and Arthurian Romance name. It is an Old French form of Helen, a Greek name meaning ‘corposant’ or ‘torch.’ According to the legends of Arthur, she was Lancelot’s lover and mother of Galahad.

36. Eleanor

Taken from the Occitan Alienòr, this name is considered an Old French name borne by the Queen of France and later, England. The exact meaning of the name remains unknown.

37. Elizabeth

A classic and timeless appellation, Elizabeth is a name borne by numerous influential women throughout the ages. A Hebrew and Biblical name, Elizabeth means ‘my God is an oath.’

38. Ellen

Ellen is a popular Scandinavian feminine name and a spelling variant of Helen. With Greek origins, the name means ‘torch.’ However, as a Dutch name, Ellen is the shorter version of Eleonora or Eleanor.

39. Evelyn

Many think that Evelyn is a feminine given name, however, it can be used as a gender-neutral appellation. It was originally used as a surname derived from the given name Aveline, and has Old German roots. However, the meaning is unknown.

40. Frances

With a slight change in spelling, Frances is the feminine form of Francis, a Late Latin name that means ‘Frenchman.’

41. Gail

Although it is commonly seen as an independent name, Gail is the shortened form of Abigail. A Biblical name with Hebrew roots, Gail means ‘my father is joy.’

1940s names, Gail

Image: Momjunction Design Team

42. Geraldine

This name came into existence through the poet Henry Howard, who used it in a sonnet. The feminine form of Howard, this Germanic name means ‘power of the spear.’

43. Glenda

Glenda is probably a combination of the masculine name Glenn with the suffix ‘da.’ With Scottish roots, the name comes from the Gaelic word ‘gleann,’ which  means ‘valley.’

44. Gloria

Another feminine name derived from the title of the Virgin Mary, Gloria is a Spanish and Portuguese name derived from ‘Maria da Glória’ and ‘María de Gloria.’ When translated, the name means ‘glory.’

45. Helen

Since Helen’s variants made the list, it’s only fair the original name is mentioned as well. Helen is a classic Greek name that means ‘torch’ or ‘corposant’ and may also refer to the ‘moon.’ Helen was the name of one of the most beautiful women in Greek mythology.

46. Irene

Irene was a well-loved name in the US during the 40s. It comes from the Greek name Eirene and means ‘peace.’

47. Jacqueline

Jacqueline is the French feminine form of Jacques or James. At its root, Jacqueline is a Biblical Hebrew name and means ‘holder of the heel’ or ‘may God protect.’

48. Jane

A dainty feminine appellation, Jane is the Medieval English form of Jehanne, the Old French feminine form of John. Jane means ‘God is gracious.’

49. Janet

Janet is related to Jane. It is the Medieval spelling variant of Jane, meaning ‘God is gracious’ or ‘holder of the heel.’

50. Janice

An elaborate spelling variant of Jane, the name was possibly invented by author Paul Leicester Ford for his novel Janice Meredith.

51. Jean

Jean can be used as a masculine or feminine name depending on the origin. As a French name, Jean is used for boys and comes from the Hebrew name John. It means ‘holder of the heel’ or ‘Yahweh is gracious.’ However, as a feminine name, Jean is a variant of Jane and holds the same meaning.

 52. Jo

This name is commonly used as a shortened form of names starting with ‘Jo,’ for example, Josephine, Joanna, Joan, or Jobeth. Jo can also be used as a masculine name.

53. Joan

Joan is used as a masculine and feminine name. As a masculine name, Joan is the Catalan and Occitan form of Iohannes or John. As a feminine name, it comes from Joanna. In both contexts, the meaning of the name remains the same, that is ‘Yahweh is gracious.’

54. Josephine

This is the feminine form of Joseph, a Hebrew name that means ‘He will add.’ It is commonly seen in English, Dutch, and German-speaking countries.

55. Joyce

You may assume that Joyce means ‘joy,’ but you are wrong. Coming from the medieval masculine name Josse and the Breton name Judoc, Joyce means ‘lord.’

56. Juanita

A vibrant Spanish name that comes from Juana, Juanita is the Spanish equivalent of Joanna or John. It means ‘God is gracious.’

57. Judith

With connections to the Bible, Judith is a Hebrew name meaning ‘Jewish woman.’ Initially, the name carried the connotation of someone who is from the tribe of Judah.

58. Judy

A shortened version of Judith with Hebrew roots and Biblical associations, Judy means ‘Jewish woman.’

59. Julia

Julia is an elegant and noble name that traces its lineage to the Roman family name Julius. There may be possible Greek connections that carry the connotation of ‘downy bearded.’

60. June

A quirky name for a girl based on the name of the sixth month of the year, June came from the Roman goddess Juno.

61. Karen

This is a popular name in different countries and cultures. As a Slavic name, Karen is used for girls and is inspired by the feminine name Katherine. With Greek roots, the name can either mean ‘each of the two,’ ‘pure,’ or ‘torture.’ In Armenia, Karen is a masculine name and a variant of Garen, an Old Armenian name with no certain meaning. Lastly, as a Japanese name, Karen is given to girls, meaning ‘lotus flower’ or ‘water lily.’

62. Katherine

The exact origin of the name has been in discussion for ages. However, it is assumed that Katherine comes from the Greek name Aikaterine and may have connections with the goddess Hecate. It means ‘each of the two,’ ‘pure,’ or ‘torture.’

63. Kathleen

Kathleen is the Irish spelling of Caitlín or Katherine. Ultimately, it has Greek roots and holds the same meaning as Katherine.

64. Kathryn

A shrunken spelling of Katherine, Kathryn has a Greek origin and shares the same meaning.

65. Laura

A feminine name originating from the Late Latin name Laurus, Laura means ‘laurel.’ It’s a popular name for girls all over the world.

66. Linda

Linda is a linguistically rich appellation. Initially used as the medieval short form for names that contain the ‘lind’ element in German, Linda means ‘soft’ or ‘flexible.’ However, there are connections to the Spanish word ‘linda,’ which means ‘beautiful.’

67. Lois

In Galician, Lois is a masculine name that comes from Louis. However, in English, Lois is a feminine name with Greek origins. Lois also has associations with the New Testament of the Bible and means ‘better’ or ‘more desirable.’

68. Loretta

This Italian feminine name may have been taken from other given names such as Lauretta or Loreto. Loretta could either mean ‘laurel grove’ or ‘laurel.’

69. Lorraine

Lorraine is a distinct feminine name that comes from the name of a region in eastern France, carrying the connotation of ‘kingdom of Lothar.’

70. Louise

Louise is the French and Slavic equivalent of the masculine given name Louis. Louis comes from the German name Ludwig, which means ‘famous in battle.’

71. Lynda

This spelling variant of Linda has its roots in German, Spanish, and Portuguese. According to its Germanic origins, it means ‘soft,’ ‘flexible,’ or ‘tender.’ As for its Spanish and Portuguese roots, it means ‘beautiful.’

72. Lynn

Lynn is often used as a diminutive of Lynda or Linda, but it actually comes from the Welsh word ‘llyn,’ meaning ‘lake.’ Lynn can be used as a gender-neutral name.

73. Marcia

A name that has found its place in the English-speaking world since the 18th century, Marcia is the feminine form of Marcius or Marcus, a Roman praenomen that was derived from the Roman god of war, Mars. Mars denotes ‘man.’

74. Margaret

This dainty appellation comes from the Greek word ‘margarites,’ which means ‘pearl.’ Margaret has always been a top choice for feminine names and has been popular since the Middle Ages.

75. Maria

It is common to see the name Maria in many European countries. Taken from the Hebrew name Miryam, Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ. The name means ‘wished-for child,’ ‘sea of bitterness,’ or ‘rebelliousness.’

76. Marie

Maria may be a European favorite, but the Czech and the French version is Marie. Marie can be pronounced as ‘MA-REE’ in French,  ‘MA-ri-yeh’ in Czech, ‘ma-REE’ in German, and ‘mə-REE’ in English. Marie means ‘rebelliousness,’ ‘beloved,’ or ‘sea of bitterness.’

77. Marilyn

Made popular by the American actress, Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn is made up of Mary and the suffix ‘lyn.’ It carries the connotations of ‘beloved,’ ‘sea of bitterness,’ and ‘rebelliousness.’

78. Marjorie

Inspired by the name of the herb marjoram, Marjorie is the Medieval spelling variant of Margery or Margaret. The name has Greek roots and it means ‘pearl.’

79. Marlene

Marlene is another feminine name borne out of creativity. It is the combination of two feminine names, Maria and Magdalene. The name could mean ‘of Magdala’ or ‘wished-for child.’

80. Marsha

Marsha comes from Marcia, the feminine form of Marcus. It is taken from the Roman praenomen derived from the Roman god Mars, which means ‘man.’

81. Martha

A name as old as time, Martha is an Aramaic name that is also found in the Bible. It means ‘the lady’ or ‘the mistress.’

82. Mary

A popular Biblical name with its roots in Hebrew, Mary can mean ‘sea of bitterness,’ ‘wished-for child,’ or ‘rebelliousness.’

83. Maureen

Maureen is an Irish name and is the anglicized spelling of Máirín or Mary, carrying connotations such as ‘sea of bitterness’ or ‘wished-for child.’

84. Mildred

Mildred is a formidable feminine name that has its roots in Old English. It was brought to England through the Norman conquest. It means ‘gentle strength.’

85. Nancy

Nancy is a name that has changed over the centuries. Initially used as a medieval diminutive of Annis, and later on as a diminutive of Ann, Nancy is now considered to be an independent name denoting ‘favor’ or ‘grace.’

86. Norma

This name was invented by Felice Romani for the main character in his opera, Norma. It is taken from the Latin word ‘norma,’ meaning ‘rule.’ In some cases, Norma is also perceived as a feminine form of Norman.

87. Pamela

Names were often invented during the earlier ages and Pamela was poet Philip Sidney’s creation for his work Arcadia. It is taken from Greek elements that mean ‘all sweetness.’

1940s names, Pamela

Image: Momjunction Design Team

88. Patricia

Did you know that Patricia was not in use as an actual name till the 18th century in Scotland? Patricia is the feminine version of Patrick. With Latin roots, the name means ‘nobleman.’

89. Patsy

Patsy means ‘nobleman’ and can be used as a feminine or a masculine given name since it is a variant of Patty, a diminutive of Patricia and Patrick.

90. Paula

A popular name in European countries, Paula is the female form of Paul and it comes from the Roman family name Paulus, which means ‘small’ or ‘humble’ in Latin.

91. Peggy

Peggy is assumed to be a medieval variant of Meggy, coming from the name Margaret, which means ‘pearl.’

92. Phyllis

Phyllis is a name found in Greek mythology, which carries the connotation of ‘foliage.’

93. Rebecca

An all-time favorite, Rebecca is a Hebrew name with Semitic roots. It could mean ‘join,’ ‘tie,’ or ‘snare.’

94. Rita

Rita is often used as a shortened spelling of Margherita. With connections to Margaret, Rita shares the meaning ‘pearl.’ In Latvian, Rita can also mean ‘morning.’ The name is also found as an Arabic, Persian, and Indian name. Its Sanskrit meaning is ‘true custom,’ ‘enlightened rite,’ or ‘righteous rule.’ In Persian, Rita means ‘black pearl.’

95. Roberta

You may have guessed the masculine form of this name. With roots in German, Roberta means ‘bright fame.’

96. Rose

Who does not love a floral name for a baby girl? However, Rose comes from the German name Hrodohaidis, meaning ‘famous type.’

97. Rosemary

A fragrant name made up by combining two feminine names, Rose and Mary. The meaning could have been derived from the herb that derived its name from the Latin term ‘ros marinus,’ meaning ‘dew of the sea.’

98. Ruby

You can consider choosing a precious stone’s name for your gem. Ruby has Latin roots and comes from the word ‘ruber,’ meaning ‘red.’

99. Ruth

Ruth can be used as a feminine and a masculine name depending on the region. In Limburgish, Ruth is used as a boy’s name and means ‘famous spear.’ While in languages such as German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and more, it comes from the Hebrew word for ‘friend.’

100. Sally

A diminutive of Sarah, Sally is also used as an independent name. With Hebrew roots, the name carries connotations such as ‘lady,’ ‘princess,’ or ‘noblewoman.’

1940s Boy Names

Masculine names during the 1940s exude strength and resilience. Shortened names also made a mark during the era. Explore some simple yet charming names for your son.

101. Alan

The exact origin of this name remains a mystery. However, Alan was first used in Brittany as early as the 6th century. In Breton, the name carries the connotations of ‘handsome’ or ‘little rock.’

102. Albert

A mighty name for a little warrior, Albert comes from the Germanic name Adalbert and means ‘noble and bright.’

103. Alfred

Alfred is made up of two Old English elements and means ‘elf counsel.’ One of the famous bearers of the name was British poet, Lord Alfred Tennyson.

104. Allen

Allen is a spelling variant of Alan or it is taken from a surname with the same spelling. It could mean ‘handsome’ or ‘little rock.’

105. Alvin

This name came into existence centuries ago but in different Old English forms such as Ælfwine, Æðelwine, or Ealdwine. Alvin could mean ‘elf friend,’ ‘noble friend,’ or ‘old friend,’ respectively. In Scandinavia, the name comes from Alfvin, an Old Norse cognate of Ælfwine.

106. Andrew

Andrew is a popular masculine name with Greek roots. It comes from the word ‘andreios,’ meaning ‘manly.’

107. Anthony

This name has been set in history by the Roman general Marcus Antonius, known as Mark Antony in English. Anthony comes from the Roman family name Antonius and it could mean ‘flower.’

108. Arthur

The exact meaning of the name remains vague, but based on its Celtic origins, it could carry the connotations of ‘bear man’ or ‘bear king.’

109. Barry

An Irish and English name, Barry is the anglicized form of Barra. Barry could either be a shortened form of Finbar or Bairrfhionn, meaning ‘white top,’ ‘blessed head,’ or ‘fair-headed.’

110. Bernard

Bernard came to the shores of England through the Norman conquest. It has Germanic roots and possibly means ‘brave bear.’

111. Bill

You may know a lot of Bills today, but this name was rarely used before the 19th century. Bill is the shortened form of William, a Germanic name that means ‘will-helmet.’

112. Billy

Billy also comes from the Germanic masculine name William. However, it is commonly seen as a diminutive and means ‘will-helmet.’

113. Bob

Short forms were a hit during the 40s and Bob is one of them. Bob is the contracted version of Robert, a Germanic name that means ‘bright fame.’

114. Bobby

Bobby was one of the well-loved names during the 1940s. Being a diminutive of Bob and Robert, it holds the same meaning.

115. Brian

The meaning of Brian remains ambiguous. However, it originated from the Celtic word ‘brixs, meaning  ‘hill,’ or ‘high,’ or ‘brigā,’ meaning ‘power.’

116. Bruce

Bruce comes from a Scottish locative last name with Norman origins. The name was used to refer to someone from the town of Brix in France. It has been popularized by several actors and comic characters, such as Bruce Lee and Bruce Wayne or Batman.

117. Carl

Carl is the German and Scandinavian spelling of Karl, which is a variant of Charles. With roots in German, the name means ‘army.’

118. Charles

Charles is the French and English equivalent of the masculine name Carolus. However, it is deep-rooted in German and means ‘man’ or ‘army.’

119. Clarence

A name with a touch of royalty, Clarence comes from the Latin title Clarensis. Clarence was often bestowed on the members of the British royal family. It began to be used as a given name during the 19th century.

120. Clifford

Many masculine names first existed as surnames and Clifford is one of them. It has Old English roots and comes from a place name that means ‘ford by a cliff.’

1940s names, Clifford

Image: Momjunction Design Team

121. Clyde

Names inspired by nature carry a powerful and magnetic aura about them. Clyde comes from the river Clyde in Scotland, and became popular in America during the 19th century.

122. Craig

Craig comes from a Scottish habitational surname meaning ‘crag,’ ‘rocks,’ or ‘outcrop.’ The name was often used for someone who lived near a crag.

123. Curtis

With roots in Old French, Curtis was originally used as a surname that means ‘courteous.’

124. Dale

Dale is seen as a gender-neutral name. It comes from an English habitational surname for someone who lives near a dale or valley.

125. Daniel

One of the most widely known Biblical names for boys. Daniel is a Hebrew name meaning ‘God is my judge.’

126. Danny

This English and Dutch name is a diminutive of Daniel. Its roots can be traced back to Hebrew and the name means ‘God is my judge.’

127. David

David is a Hebrew name that means ‘uncle’ or ‘beloved.’ According to the Bible, he was one of the greatest kings of Israel.

128. Dennis

Dennis is the English, German, and Dutch spelling of Denis. The origin of the name comes from the Greek name Dionysos, which means ‘of Zeus.’

129. Don

A contracted form of Donald, Don has Scottish Gaelic roots and carries the meaning of ‘ruler of the world.’

130. Donald

Donald comes from the Scottish Gaelic appellation Dòmhnall and means ‘ruler of the world.’

131. Douglas

Originating as a Scottish surname, Douglas comes from the name of a town in Lanarkshire. The name has Gaelic roots and means ‘dark water.’

132. Earl

Earl is used as a royal title and it comes from the Old English word ‘eorl,’ meaning ‘nobleman’ or ‘warrior.’

133. Eddie

For names that start with ‘Ed,’ Eddie is a common diminutive. Eddie could either be derived from Edmund or Edward and its meaning will depend on the original name.

134. Edward

When you think of classic English names for boys, Edward always comes to mind. It is an Old English name that means ‘rich guard.’

135. Edwin

Edwin is also an Old English name that shares its root with Edward. Edwin means ‘rich friend,’ and was the name of the 7th-century Northumbrian king. The name resurrected in popularity during the 19th century.

136. Ernest

An Old High German appellation, Ernest means ‘earnest’ or ‘serious.’

137. Eugene

Eugene comes from the Greek name Eugenios, taking its meaning from the word ‘eugenes,’ which means ‘well-born.’

138. Floyd

Floyd is a spelling variant of Lloyd. With roots in the Welsh word ‘llwyd,’ Floyd means ‘grey.’

139. Francis

Francis is used as a masculine and a feminine given name. It is the English spelling of the Late Latin name Franciscus. This name is used for someone who is a ‘Frenchman.’

140. Frank

The Franks were a Germanic tribe who settled in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. This Old German name was used as a reference to this tribe.

141. Fred

Fred is not only a shortened form of Frederick, it can also be a diminutive of names that have the same element. The name carries German roots and means ‘peaceful ruler.’

142. Frederick

A trendy option for boys in Germany. Frederick has Old German roots and means ‘peaceful ruler.’

143. Gary

Initially used as an English surname that was taken from a Norman last name, Gary started as a shortened form of German names that begin with ‘Ger.’ However, it means ‘spear.’

144. Gene

Gene comes from Eugene, a Greek name meaning ‘well-born.’

145. George

Many may not be aware that George actually comes from the Greek name Georgios and implies someone who is a ‘farmer’ or an ‘earthworker.’

146. Gerald

Gerald is a Germanic name that means ‘power of the spear.’ It was brought to England by the Normans.

147. Glenn

This English name was initially used as a Scottish surname. The meaning is derived from the Gaelic word ‘gleann,’ meaning ‘valley.’

148. Gordon

Gordon is used in the English and Scottish-speaking communities. Originally a Scottish last name based on a place in Berwickshire, the name is derived from Brythonic elements and means ‘spacious fort.’

149. Gregory

Do not confuse the origins of Gregory with George. Gregory also carries Greek roots but comes from the name Gregorios, meaning ‘watchful’ or ‘alert.’

150. Harold

Harold is derived from the Old English name Hereweald and possibly means ‘powerful army’ or ‘mighty army.’

151. Harry

A name well-loved in the fictional and real world, Harry is the medieval spelling of Henry, a Germanic name that means ‘home ruler.’

152. Harvey

This name was borne by a Breton hermit who is considered to be the patron saint of the blind. Harvey is derived from the Breton name Haerviu, which means ‘battleworthy.’

153. Henry

Henry is a name with Germanic roots meaning ‘home ruler.’ One famous individual with the name is British actor, Henry Cavill.

154. Herbert

Composed of two German elements, Herbert means ‘bright army.’ According to history, the name was borne by two Merovingian Frankish kings. The name was first brought to England by the Normans.

155. Howard

Howard comes from an English surname with German, Anglo-Scandinavian, Old Norse, or Middle English origins and could mean ‘brave spirit,’ ‘battle guard,’ or ‘ewe herder.’

156. Jack

This name could either be a medieval diminutive of John or influenced by the French name Jacques. During the Middle Ages, Jack was used to denote ‘man.’

157. James

James is the English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus or the Hebrew Ya’aqov, or simply Jacob. James is also found in the New Testament of the Bible as the name of two apostles. The name means ‘supplanter’ or ‘holder of the heel.’

158. Jeffrey

Jeffrey comes from the given name Geoffrey. In the US, Jeffrey is more frequently seen than Geoffrey, however, it is the opposite in Britain. The name could mean ‘peaceful territory’ or ‘peaceful foreigner.’

159. Jerome

A name once borne by Saint Jerome, also known as the ‘Doctor of the Church,’ Jerome carries Greek roots and means ‘sacred name.’

160. Jerry

A versatile appellation that can be used by both genders, Jerry is a diminutive of personal names such as Jeremy, Jerome, Gerald, and Geraldine. The meaning of the name can be taken accordingly.

161. Jesse

Jesse rose to popularity after the Protestant Reformation. The name carries Hebrew roots and means ‘gift.’ In the Bible, it was the name of King David’s father.

1940s names, Jesse

Image: Momjunction Design Team

162. Jim

Jim is the medieval spelling of James or Jacob. It has its roots in Hebrew and means ‘supplanter’ or ‘may God protect.’

163. Jimmy

Jimmy is also a diminutive of James, a Hebrew name that means ‘may God protect’ or ‘supplanter.’

164. Joe

Joe is the shortened spelling of Joseph. The name has Hebrew roots and carries a lovely connotation of ‘He will add.’

165. John

Originating from the Hebrew name Yochanan, John is also a popular Biblical name and means ‘Yahweh is gracious.’ The name can be found in both the Old and the New Testaments.

166. Johnny

A diminutive of John, Johnny also has Hebrew roots and means ‘God is gracious.’

167. Joseph

Biblical names were extremely popular during the 40s and Joseph is one of them. It has its roots in Hebrew and means ‘he will add.’ According to the Bible, Joseph is the husband of Mary, the mortal father of Jesus Christ.

168. Keith

Keith was originally used as a locative Scottish surname. Derived from a place name in East Lothian, Keith possibly has Celtic roots and means ‘wood.’

169. Kenneth

Kenneth is actually the anglicized form of Coinneach and Cináed. The name could mean ‘handsome,’ ‘beautiful,’ ‘to be born by fire,’ ‘fiery respect,’ or ‘come into being through fire.’

170. Larry

Larry comes from the Roman name Laurence. The name could either mean ‘from Laurentum’ or ‘laurel.’

171. Lawrence

Lawrence is a spelling alternative to Laurence, a name derived from a Roman cognomen. It could carry connotations of someone who is ‘from Laurentum’ or a ‘laurel.’

172. Lee

When people hear the name Lee, they may think of Asian last names. However, Lee is an Old English surname derived from the word ‘leah,’ meaning ‘clearing.’ Lee can be used for both boys and girls.

173. Leon

Leon is an independent Greek name that means ‘lion.’ During the Middle Ages, Leon was a popular choice among the Jews.

174. Leonard

Leonard is similar to Leon, however, they have different origins. Leonard is an Old German name that means ‘brave lion.’

175. Leroy

The name was initially used as a French nickname, ‘le roi,’ which means ‘the king.’ In America, it is a popular choice for African American children.

176. Lewis

Lewis and Louis sound very similar. That is because Lewis is the medieval English form of Louis. It has its roots in German and means ‘famous in battle.’

177. Lloyd

Taken from the Welsh word ‘llwyd,’ Lloyd means ‘grey.’ It is the name of the famous composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

178. Louis

Louis is the Latinized spelling of Ludwig, a Germanic name that carries the connotation of ‘famous in battle.’ Louis is a name marked by royalty throughout history.

179. Mark

Mark comes from the Roman praenomen Marcus, a name connected to the Roman god of war, Mars. An important name in the Christian world, Saint Mark is recognized as the author of the second gospel in the New Testament.

180. Martin

Taken from the Roman name Martinus or Martis, which are derived from the name of the Roman god Mars, Martin might mean ‘male.’ An important individual who bore the name was Martin Luther King Jr.

181. Marvin

The origin of Marvin can be attributed to the Welsh name Merfyn or the Old English name Mærwine. According to these roots, Marvin could mean ‘wishing sea’ or ‘famous friend,’ respectively.

182. Melvin

The name comes from a Scottish surname that is a variant of Melville. Melvin existed as a place name that translated to ‘bad town.’

183. Michael

A Biblical Hebrew name, Michael means ‘who is like God?’ In the Bible, Michael is identified as an archangel.

184. Mike

This popular masculine name is the shortened spelling of Michael. It has its roots in Hebrew and means ‘who is like God?’

185. Norman

Norman emerged as an old Germanic byname used to refer to the Scandinavians. It means ‘northman.’

186. Patrick

Patrick is derived from the Latin name Patricius, which means ‘nobleman.’ Saint Patrick is popularly known as the patron saint of Ireland.

187. Paul

Another important name in the Christian community, Paul comes from the Roman family name Paulus, which means ‘small’ or ‘humble.’ The name Paul can be found in the New Testament of the Bible and he is considered to be an influential individual to the early Christian church.

188. Peter

Peter is also a Biblical name, however, it differs in terms of origin. It is a Greek name and means ‘stone.’

189. Philip

Created by combining two Greek elements, Philip comes from the Greek name Philippos, which means ‘friend of horses.’ Philip was the father of Alexander the Great. In the Bible, it is the name of two saints.

 190. Ralph

A shortened form of the Old Norse name Ráðúlfr, Ralph means ‘wolf counsel,’ and was brought to England by the Normans.

191. Ray

Although Ray is a shortened form of Raymond, Ray is commonly found as an independent name. As an English term, it means ‘beam of light,’ but taken from its roots, Ray means ‘protective counsel.’

192. Raymond

Raymond comes from the Germanic name Raginmund and means ‘protective advice’ or ‘protective counsel.’ Raymond is another name introduced by the Normans.

193. Richard

Richard is an Old Germanic name that means ‘brave ruler.’ Richard was the name of numerous kings throughout history.

194. Robert

Replacing the Old English cognate Hreodbeorht, Robert is of Germanic origin and means ‘bright fame.’

195. Rodney

Initially used as an English surname, Rodney comes from a place name, meaning ‘Hroda’s island.’ According to history, it was first used as a given name by British admiral Lord Rodney.

196. Roger

A common name in England during the Middle Ages, Roger was introduced by the Normans. It is a Germanic name that means ‘famous spear.’

1940s names, Roger

Image: Momjunction Design Team

197. Ronald

Ronald is the Scottish form of Ragnvaldr, an Old Norse name that means ‘ruler’s advice.’ It was brought to Britain by Scandinavian settlers and invaders.

198. Ronnie

Used as both a feminine and a masculine name, Ronnie is either a diminutive of Ronald or Veronica. It would take on the meaning of the name it was derived from.

199. Roy

Roy is the anglicized spelling of Ruadh, a Scottish and Irish byname that means ‘red.’ Sometimes it is also connected to the French word ‘roi,’ meaning ‘king.’

 200. Russell

Originating from an English surname with Norman roots, Russell means ‘little red one.’

201. Steve

Steve is the shortened form of Steven or Stephen. The name has Greek roots and could either mean ‘crown’ or ‘wreath.’

Discover More Names

When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.

Going through these 1940s names can feel like going through an old chest filled with beautiful memories. They are timeless appellations that reflect the beauty and history of the past. From the darling Cheryl to the friendly Philip, our list is bursting with names that carry nostalgic and meaningful names. While some names may have lost their popularity in recent years, most still reign in our hearts. So, immerse yourself in the wonders of the 40s to find the most evergreen name for your baby.


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  1. Popular names of the period 1940s.
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Benidamika holds a masters degree in Counseling Psychology from Assam Don Bosco University and another masters degree in English Literature from North Eastern Hill University. At MomJunction, Benidamika writes on human psychology and relationships. Her academic experience in counseling psychology helps her guide readers with useful and well-researched information. The former school teacher is a poet, with her work published...read full bio