As an English name, Abigail first became common after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans. The biblical Abigail refers to herself as a servant, and beginning in the 17th century the name became a slang term for a servant, especially after the release of the play The Scornful Lady (1616), which featured a character named Abigail. The name went out of fashion at that point, but it was revived in the 20th century.
In England, this Latin form has been used alongside the vernacular forms Ann and Anne since the late Middle Ages. Anna is currently the most common of these spellings in all English-speaking countries (since the 1970s), however the biblical form Hannah is presently more popular than all three.
The name was borne by several Russian royals, including an 18th-century empress of Russia. It is also the name of the main character in Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina (1877), about a married aristocrat who begins an ultimately tragic relationship with Count Vronsky.
As a given name, it was used on the American sitcom Murphy Brown (1988-1998) for both the mother and son of the main character. By 1998 it was more popular as a name for girls in the United States, perhaps further inspired by a character from the movie Jerry Maguire (1996).
Due to the popularity of the saint, the name became common in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was commonly spelled Cecily — the Latinate form Cecilia came into use in the 18th century.
This name was fairly common in France, England and the United States in the early 20th century. It became quite popular in France and England at the end of the 20th century, just when it was at a low point in the United States. It quickly climbed the American charts and entered the top ten in 2014.
As an English name, Chloe has been in use since the Protestant Reformation. It started getting more popular in the 1980s in the United Kingdom and then the United States. It was the most popular name for girls in England and Wales from 1997 to 2002. This is one of the few English-language names that is often written with a diaeresis, as Chloë.
The popularity of the name Eleanor in England during the Middle Ages was due to the fame of Eleanor of Aquitaine, as well as two queens of the following century: Eleanor of Provence, the wife of Henry III, and Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I. More recently, it was borne by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), the wife of American president Franklin Roosevelt.
Among Christians, this name was originally more common in Eastern Europe. It was borne in the 12th century by Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, a daughter of King Andrew II who used her wealth to help the poor. In medieval England it was occasionally used in honour of the saint, though the form Isabel (from Occitan and Spanish) was more common. It has been very popular in England since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. In American name statistics (as recorded since 1880) it has never ranked lower than 30, making it the most consistently popular name for girls in the United States.
Besides Elizabeth I, this name has been borne (in various spellings) by many other European royals, including a ruling empress of Russia in the 18th century. Famous modern bearers include the British queen Elizabeth II (1926-) and actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011).
Already growing in popularity due to Australian model Elle Macpherson (1964-), this name received a boost in the United States after the release of the 2001 movie Legally Blonde featuring the main character Elle Woods. In the United Kingdom the name was already fairly common at the time the movie came out, and it actually started declining there shortly afterwards. A famous bearer is American actress Elle Fanning (1998-).
This name was moderately popular through most of the 20th century, and became very popular around the turn of the 21st century. It was the highest ranked name for girls in the United States from 1996 to 2007, attaining similar levels in other English-speaking countries around the same time.
Famous bearers include the British author Emily Brontë (1818-1848), known for the novel Wuthering Heights, and the American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).
After the Norman Conquest this name became common in England. It was revived in the 18th century, perhaps in part due to Matthew Prior's 1709 poem Henry and Emma . It was also used by Jane Austen for the central character, the matchmaker Emma Woodhouse, in her novel Emma (1816).
In the United States, it was third in rank in 1880 (behind only the ubiquitous Mary and Anna). It declined steadily over the next century, beginning another rise in the 1980s and eventually becoming the most popular name for girls in 2008. At this time it also experienced similar levels of popularity elsewhere, including the United Kingdom (where it began rising a decade earlier), Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Famous bearers include the actresses Emma Thompson (1959-), Emma Stone (1988-) and Emma Watson (1990-).
Despite this potentially negative association, the name was occasionally used by Christians during the Middle Ages. In the English-speaking world both Eve and the Latin form Eva were revived in the 19th century, with the latter being more common.
This name was very popular in the English-speaking world at the end of the 19th century. Though it declined in use over the next 100 years, it staged a successful comeback at the end of the 20th century. The American sitcom Will and Grace (1998-2006) may have helped, though the name was already strongly rising when it premiered. It was the top name for girls in England and Wales in 2006.
As an English name, Hannah was not regularly used until after the Protestant Reformation, unlike the vernacular forms Anne and Ann and the Latin form Anna, which were used from the late Middle Ages. In the last half of the 20th century Hannah surged in popularity and neared the top of the name rankings for both the United States and the United Kingdom.
In the United States this form was much less common than Isabel until the early 1990s, when it began rapidly rising in popularity. It reached a peak in 2009 and 2010, when it was the most popular name for girls in America, an astounding rise over only 20 years.
A famous bearer is the Italian actress Isabella Rossellini (1952-).
Famous bearers include the uncrowned English queen Lady Jane Grey (1536-1554), who ruled for only nine days, British novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817), who wrote Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, British primatologist Jane Goodall (1934-), and American actress Jane Fonda (1937-). This is also the name of the central character in Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre (1847), which tells of Jane's sad childhood and her relationship with Edward Rochester.
The name was borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel. The saint was initially venerated in Syria, and returning crusaders introduced the name to Western Europe. It has been common in England since the 12th century in many different spellings, with Katherine and Catherine becoming standard in the later Middle Ages. To this day both spellings are regularly used in the English-speaking world. In the United States the spelling Katherine has been more popular since 1973.
Famous bearers of the name include Catherine of Siena, a 14th-century mystic, and Catherine de' Medici, a 16th-century French queen. It was also borne by three of Henry VIII's wives, including Katherine of Aragon, and by two empresses of Russia, including Catherine the Great.
A famous bearer of the surname was James Madison (1751-1836), one of the authors of the American constitution who later served as president (and after whom Madison Avenue was named).
This name was common in Sweden and Denmark in the 1970s . It rose in popularity in the English-speaking world in the 1990s, entering the top ten for girls in the United States in 2009. It was also popular in many other countries at that time. Famous bearers include American actress Mia Farrow (1945-) and American soccer player Mia Hamm (1972-), birth names María and Mariel respectively.
Olivia has been used in the English-speaking world since the 18th century, though it did not become overly popular until the last half of the 20th century. Its rise in popularity in the 1970s may have been inspired by a character on the television series The Waltons (1972-1982)  or the singer Olivia Newton-John (1948-). In 1989 it was borne by a young character on The Cosby Show, which likely accelerated its growth. It reached the top rank in England and Wales by 2008 and in the United States by 2019.
A famous bearer was the British-American actress Olivia de Havilland (1916-1920).
This name is borne by a Jewish woman in Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe (1819), as well as the title character (who is deceased and unseen) in Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca (1938).
Before 1980, this was an uncommon masculine name in America. During the 1980s and 90s this name steadily increased in popularity for both boys and girls, and from 2003 onwards it has been more common for girls in the United States. Elsewhere in the English-speaking world, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, it has remained largely masculine.
In England, Sarah came into use after the Protestant Reformation. It was consistently popular in the 20th century throughout the English-speaking world, reaching the top of the charts for England and Wales in the 1970s and 80s.
Notable bearers include Sarah Churchill (1660-1744), an influential British duchess and a close friend of Queen Anne, and the French actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923).
This name was common among continental European royalty during the Middle Ages, and it was popularized in Britain by the German House of Hanover when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century. It was the name of characters in the novels Tom Jones (1749) by Henry Fielding and The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) by Oliver Goldsmith.
In the United States this name was only moderately common until the 1990s when it began rising in popularity, eventually becoming the most popular for girls from 2011 to 2013. A famous bearer is the Italian actress Sophia Loren (1934-).