Are Old Names Making a Comeback in 2023?

Are Old Names Making a Comeback in 2023?

Are Old Names Making a Comeback in 2023?

These days there is so much pressure surrounding choosing a baby name, especially because your little one will have it for the rest of their life. Not only can choosing a name be daunting, but it can also be super fun.

Trending baby names are always changing, and are dependent on things like current trends, influencer baby names and so much more. 

However, there has been an increase over the last few years of older names making a comeback, and now they are becoming more popular than ever. 

Here’s what Director at early years experts Millie & Ralph, Charlotte Arscott says: “It's so great to see Vintage names making a comeback. With owning a retail business based solely on babies and personalised baby items it's really fascinating to see older names such as Evelyn & Otis becoming popular again.

Whether this is to honour a grandparent, current trends such as a favourite character from a television series or whether it is simply just nostalgia, it is really fascinating to be able to have this kind of insight."

The experts at Millie & Ralph have researched and listed some of the most popular vintage names we’re going to see making a comeback in 2023.

Top Girl Names:

  • Evelyn 
  • Originally used as a surname, Evelyn derived from Aveline, a feminine Norman French diminutive of the name Ava. The meaning of the name Evelyn means desired child, an island in the water, little bird, strength and wished for. 

    Famous people with the name Evenly include Evelyn Nesbit - an American Model, Evelyn Keyes - a Film Actress in 1939 & Evelyn West - a burlesque legend of the forties, fifties and sixties. 

    We know very well that not all parents are fond of the ‘vintage’ names making a comeback, so some of the modern-day alternatives you could use are Evie, Eleanor and Ava.

    Evelyn name popularity

  • Paisley 
  • The name Paisley originates in Scotland and means ‘church or cemetery’. This name was first recorded in 1157 as ‘Passeleth’, to ‘Paisley’ in 2023. Throughout 2019 the name Paisley had a big boom in popularity, however, ending 2022 and coming into 2023 has settled. 

    Not only has Paisley become more popular as a first name, but once upon a time, it was heavily used as a second name. A few people you may know with Paisley in their name include Brad Paisley - American Country Singer, Chris Paisley - English Professional Golfer, and Eileen Paisley, Northern Ireland Politician. 

    If you are looking for a modern-day alternative to the name Paisley, the alternatives we would recommend are Daisy, Maisie and Hayley.

    Paisley name popularity

  • Cora 
  • Originating in Greece, the name Cora means ‘maiden’ or ‘daughter’ and was found in classical Greek mythology referring to Persephone. Cora is a lovely, vintage name that has been recently rejuvenated, we can see this being a popular one for 2023. 

    Cora Sue Collins, American Actress in 1927, Cora Witherspoon, an American Actress whose career spanned nearly half a century in the early 1930s, and Cora Sandel a Norwegian writer and painter during the 20th century all share Cora as their first name. A name that really does go back some time, and is now making its way back into the modern day.

    Some modern-day alternatives for Cora include Nora, Corinne, and Coralie - all beautiful names for 2023 babies. 

    Cora name popularity

  • Marjorie
  • The name Marjorie was originally derived from the name Margaret, which means Pearl. The best thing about this name is that you can spell it in so many ways, including Margery and Marjory, making it a bit more unique to you.

    In 2021 the name Marjorie was used 189 times, making it 1232nd on the popular girl's name list, and taking a dip since 2013, we believe this one could be on the comeback list for 2023. 

    If you aren’t too keen on the older names, there are modern-day versions for Marjorie, like Marianne, Mariya and Margarita.

    Marjorie name popularity


  • Ethel 
  • Ethel is a beautiful girl's name of Old English origin, meaning ‘noble’. The shortened form of Etheldreda, and was first used as a name in the 1840s. If your little girl is strong, resilient and intelligent, then this will no doubt be a fitting name. 

    In recent years, the name Ethel has shown to be increasingly popular. Although it took a big dip in popularity in 1994 it soon shot back up between 2014 and 2018. 

    Ethel Merman and Ethel Barrymore, both actors between 1930 and 1959 are two famous people with the name Ethel - when it was a much more common name. 

    Modern-day name alternatives for Ethel include Ethelyn, Ada and Adele. 

    Ethel name popularity

    Top Boy Names:

  • Leonard
  • Leonard is a name of German origin, meaning ‘lion’s strength’, which has been used as a first name and last. The name can also be shortened to Len or Lenny, which is a cute nickname for baby!

    Famous people with the name Leonard include Leonard Cohen, a musician, poet and novelist during the 1950s and 1960s, and Leonard (Lenny) Kravitz American Singer-Songwriter. The popularity of the name really shot up in 2011 and its popularity has been steady ever since. 

    Other names you might choose if you’re going for a more modern twist on the name are Lennox, Lenny or Leo. 

    Leonard name popularity

  • Gilbert
  • Originating in Germany, the name Gilbert means ‘bright promise’, and also uses the nickname ‘Gil’. 

    Alfred Carlton Gilbert was an American inventor, athlete, magician, toy maker and businessman, born in 1884. The name Gilbert is commonly used for both first and second names. Although it’s taken a decline in popularity since the 1900s, we see it rising in the next few years. 

    Alternatives you might like to use for the name Gilbert include Albert, Wilber and Robert, these are more modern-day options if you aren’t keen on the older names. 

    Gilbert name popularity

  • Percival 
  • The classic name Percival is of French and Welsh origins, translating to ‘pierce the vale’, and was mentioned as one of King Arthur’s legendary knights. In the 1800s the name slowly declined, up until 2009 when it shot right back up and has been increasing ever since. 

    Percival Lowell, the most famous person named Percival was a well-known businessman, author and mathematician throughout the 1900s. 

    If you aren’t fond of the name Percival, then it can also be shortened to Percy, which is also seen as more of a modern-day alternative as well. 

    Percival name popularity

  • Francis
  • The name Francis is a lovely little gender-neutral name meaning ‘freeman’. The older name has really stood the test of time and remains a very popular name still today - more so for boys than girls. 

    Famous people you might know called Francis are Francis Bacon, a figurative English philosopher, author and pioneer of the scientific method, and Frank (Francis) Sinatra, an American singer and actor. 

    If you want something a little more modern for your baby boy, then Franky and Frannie are both perfect alternatives. 

    Francis name popularity

  • Otis
  • The name Otis is of English origin and means ‘Son of Ode’, and in its Old German origins, the name Otis means ‘wealth’. Since 2004 the trend has risen, with the name Otis becoming more and more used each year. 

    American singer and songwriter, Otis Redding, was regarded as one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music in soul, rhythm and blues. Throughout the ’60s the name Otis was extremely popular and now remains popular due to the singer. 

    If you want to find a name a little more modern but that still sounds like Otis, then Tyce is a great alternative for a little boy. 

    Otis name popularity


    Millie & Ralph gathered their data from global English-speaking countries, which is shown in the graphs above. The data and information we used within our article were from a variety of sources including and

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