Top 113 Timeless '50s Names For Your Baby

Cora Lydon
Dec 12, 2023 By Cora Lydon
Originally Published on Oct 15, 2020
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Baby girl wearing blue flower headband sitting next to lavender flowers
Age: 0-99
Read time: 8.7 Min

While the 1950s remained a decade for traditional baby name choices, there were also some new kids on the block.

Popular names of the decades drew inspiration from the music and movie culture so in amongst solid name choices like Debra, Thomas and Jane there were also Audrey, Grace and Vivian. These new popular names added a touch of glamour to austere 1950s Britain.

It was the decade that brought us rock n roll, the teenager and beamed the Queen's Coronation into homes across the country (and with an audience of 20 million outnumbered radio listeners for the first time).

Rationing was still in place until 1954 and streets still bore the scars of the previous decade's war efforts. Vacant bomb sites stood next to garden allotments and temporary prefabs and military bases dotted the landscape.

But you could pick up a loaf of bread, pint of milk and half a dozen eggs and still have change from 20 pence, though dinner might have more likely been spam fritters followed by tinned fruit with evaporated milk.

It was also a decade where TV was king: with just five million TV owners at the start of the decade, 1959 drew to a close with a TV audience of 55 million.

This emerging technology was responsible for beaming '50s celebrities and icons into our homes and so introducing a new generation of Avas, Rexs and Sophias to the world.

The '50s are generally referred to as 'The Golden Age' of television for a very good reason.

When it came to names popular in the 1950s it was a mix of the traditional (think James, Thomas, Nancy and Mary) with some new adventurous names based on popular culture. Ava (Gardner), Rex (Harrison), Grace (Kelly) and of course Elvis were all huge 1950s stars and so influenced baby name trends, popular for that decade.

When it comes to popular '50s baby names we've rounded up a selection of favourites – and we're sure there's one that will make the top of your list. Not feeling suitably inspired? Why not check out these baby name ideas from the 1930s and 1940s.

close up of a smiling baby and his father brushing its hair Fuessen,

Popular Names Of The 1950s

Popular names from the 1950s focused on tradition, this was after all a time when many babies were given family names. Of course if you're looking for more inspiration for popular names you only need to take a look at the people you know now aged in their 60s.

Baby Boy Names From The '50s

1950s boy names still tended to err on the side of the traditional and James was up there as the top baby name of the decade. Other popular baby name choices included the sturdy sounding Richard, which was often shortened to Dick and there were still more Michaels than there were Elvis's!

The baby names below all feature on lists of the top '50s boy names.

1. Charles (German, French origin). Means "free man".

2. Daniel (Hebrew origin). Means "God is my judge".

3. David (Hebrew origin). Means "beloved".

4. Edward (English origin). Means "wealthy guardian".

5. Gary (English origin). Means "spearman".

6. George (Greek origin). Means "farmer".

7. James (English origin). Means "supplanter".

8. John (Hebrew origin). Means "God is gracious".

9. Joseph (Hebrew origin). Means "Jehovah increases".

10. Mark (Latin origin). Means "warlike".

11. Michael (Hebrew origin). Means "who is like God?".

12. Paul (Latin origin). Means "small".

13. Peter (Greek origin), Means "rock".

14. Richard (German origin). Means "dominant ruler".

15. Robert (German, English origin). Means "bright fame".

16. Scott (English origin). Means :"from Scotland".

17. Steven (English origin). Means "garland, crown". Variation of the name Stephen.

18. Thomas (Aramaic origin). Means "twin".

19. Timothy (Greek origin). Means "honouring God".

20. William (English origin). Taken from the German name Wilhelm, meaning "resolute protection".

1950s Girl Names

Of the popular 1950 girl names it's clear that a traditional name was still preferred: Mary was one of the most popular choices for baby names of the decade. But with the introduction of the Barbie doll in 1959 there was also an influx of Barbara's making their debut.

Many of these '50s girl names continue to be era-defining but just with all baby names we suspect it's only a matter of time before they find their way back in to fashion.

21. Barbara (Latin origin). Means "foreign woman".

22. Brenda (Scottish origin). Means "blade of a sword".

23. Carol (English origin). Means "free man".

24. Cynthia (Greek origin). Means "moon goddess".

25. Deborah (Hebrew origin). Means "bee". Variations of the name include Debra

26. Diane (French origin). Means "divine".

27. Donna (Italian origin). Means "lady".

28. Elizabeth (Hebrew origin). Means "pledged to God".

29. Judy (Hebrew origin). Means "he will be praised:. Diminutive of the name Judith.

30. Karen (Danish origin). Means "pure".

31. Kathleen (Irish English origin). Means "pure". Variation of the name Caitlin.

32. Linda (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian origin). Means "pretty".

33. Margaret (Greek origin). Means "pearl".

34. Mary (Hebrew, Egyptian origin). Means "drop of the sea" or "beloved".

35. Pamela (English origin). Means "all honey".

36. Patricia (Latin origin). Means "noble" or "patrician".

37. Patti (English origin). Means "patrician". Diminutive form of the name Patricia.

38. Sandra (Italian, Greek origin). Means "defending men".

39. Sharon (Hebrew origin). Means "a plain".

40. Susan (English origin). Means "lily". Variation of the Hebrew name Susannah.

Classic Baby Names Of The 1950s For Girls

Baby name choices move on every decade but there are some endearing classics that we think have stood the test of time.

41. Beverly (English origin). Means "dweller near the beaver stream".

42. Cheryl (modern origin). Means "darling". Variation of the French name Cherie.

43. Dawn (English origin). Means "daybreak".

44. Gail (Hebrew origin). Means "my father rejoices".

45. Gloria (Latin origin). Means "glory".

46. Jane (English origin). Means God is gracious".

47. Janet (English origin). Means "God's gracious gift".

48. Jill (English origin). Means "youthful".

49. Josephine (French origin). Means "Jehovah increases".

50. Katherine (Greek origin). Means "pure".

51. Rosemary (Latin origin). Means "dew of the sea".

52. Yvonne (French origin). Means "yew wood".

Classic Baby Names Of The 1950s For Boys

In amongst our top baby name choices are these classic baby names that are long overdue a comeback.

53. Alan (Irish origin). Means "handsome" or "cheerful".

54. Carl (German origin). Means "free man".

55. Christopher (Greek origin). Means "bearer of Christ".

56. Craig (Scottish origin). Means "from the rocks".

57. Douglas (Scottish origin), Means "black water".

58. Gerald (English, Irish, German origin). Means "ruler with the spear".

59. Henry (German origin). Means "estate ruler".

60. Jerry (English, Irish, German origin), Means "ruler with the spear". Diminutive of Gerald, Jerome and Jeremiah.

61. Joe (Hebrew origin). Means "Jehovah increases". Diminutive of the name Joseph.

62. Keith (Scottish origin). Means "wood".

63. Philip (Greek origin). Means "lover of horses".

64. Ralph (English origin), Means "wolf counsel".

65. Terry (Latin origin). Clan name of unknown meaning. Diminutive of the name Terence.

66. Walter (German origin). Means "army ruler".

67. Warren (French, English origin). Means "park keeper".

68. Wayne (English origin). Means "maker of wagons".

Popular Baby Names From The 1950s That Still Feel Fresh For Girls

While many of the popular names in the 1950s have that distinctive '50s vibe to them there are others that have a fresh feel to them and will just at home in the classrooms of the coming years as they were back then.

69. Betty (Hebrew origin). Means "pledged to God". Diminutive of the name Elizabeth.

70. Bonnie (Scottish origin). Means "beautiful" or "cheerful".

71. June (Latin origin). Named for the goddess Juno and the month.

72. Lillian (English, Latin origin). Means "lily".

73. Marjorie (Scottish origin). Means "pearl".

74. Nancy (Hebrew, French origin). Means "grace".

75. Peggy (Greek origin). Means "pearl". Diminutive form of the name Margaret.

76. Rebecca (Hebrew origin). Means "servant of God".

77. Rosa (Latin origin). Means "a rose".

78. Ruby (Latin origin). Means "deep red precious stone".

79. Virginia (Latin origin). Means "virginal" or "pure".

80. Vivian (Latin origin). Means "life".

Popular Baby Names From The 1950s That Still Feel Fresh For Boys

If you opt for a baby name from the list below you can be sure that the name will be just as relevant now as it was 70 years ago.

81. Billy (English origin). Means "resolute protection".

82. Frank (German origin). Means "Frenchman" or "free man". Diminutive of Franklin and Francis.

83. Freddie (German origin). Means "peaceful ruler".

84. Jimmy (English origin). Means "supplanter". Diminutive of the name James.

85. Lee (English origin). Means "pasture" or "meadow".

86. Leo (Latin origin). Means "lion".

87. Patrick (Latin origin). Means "noble" or "patrician".

88. Robin (English origin). Means "bright fame".

89. Russell (French origin). Means "redheaded".

90. Stanley (English origin). Means "near the stony clearing".

91. Theodore (Greek origin). Means "gift of God".

92. Virginia (Latin origin). Means "virginal" or "pure".

93. Vivian (Latin origin). Means "life".

94. Wesley (English origin). Means "western meadow".

Celebrity-Inspired Baby Names From The 1950s For Girls

With television seeping more and more into our front rooms parents-to-be were also being exposed to new and exciting baby names drawn from the stars of the era.

On the big screen women like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Sophia Gardner all inspired many of the popular 1950s names, while on the television Lucille Ball influenced another popular baby name.

95. Audrey (English origin). Means "noble strength".

96. Ava (Hebrew, Latin, German origin). Means "life", "water" or "island".

97. Ella (German, English origin). Means "completely" or "fairy maiden".

98. Enid (Welsh origin). Means "life" or "spirit".

99. Grace (Latin origin). Means "grace".

100. Janis (English origin). Means "God is gracious". Variation of Janice and Jane.

101. Lucille (French origin). Means "light".

102. Marilyn (English origin). Means "drop of the sea" or "beloved".

103. Sophia (Greek origin). Means "wisdom".

Celebrity-Inspired Baby Names From The 1950s For Boys

Music had another significant  impact on popular baby names of the decades from Johnny Cash and Perry Como through to Ella Fitzgerald and Sam Cooke. Other celebrities included the poet Dylan Thomas and writers Enid Blyton and Ian Fleming – all offering popular baby names choices.

104. Will (English origin). Means "resolute protection". Diminutive of the name William.

105. Cary (Irish, English origin). Means "dark" or "free man".

106. Dylan (Welsh origin). Means "son of the sea".

107. Ian (Scottish origin). Means "the Lord is gracious".

108. Johnny (Hebrew origin). Means "God is gracious". Diminutive of the name John.

109. Marlon (English origin). Associated with Marlon Brando, meaning unknown.

110. Perry (English origin). Means "dweller near a pear tree".

111. Presley (English origin). Means "priest's meadow".

112. Rex (Latin origin). Means "king".

113. Sam (English origin). Means "told by God". Diminutive of Samuel and Samantha.

Second Image Editorial credit: WagnerWehlingPhotography /

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Cora Lydon

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Literature

Cora Lydon picture

Cora LydonBachelor of Arts specializing in Literature

With a passion for inspiring her children, Cora is a journalist with a Bachelor's degree in Literature from the University of Suffolk. She is also a children's book author living in Suffolk. She enjoys seeking out creative activities and places for her family to explore, often resulting in messy crafts at the dining table.

Read full bio >