Famous bearers include the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) and the American musician Bob Dylan (1941-), real name Robert Zimmerman, who took his stage surname from the poet's given name. Due to those two bearers, use of the name has spread outside of Wales in the last half of the 20th century. It received a further boost in popularity in the 1990s due to a character on the television series Beverly Hills 90210.
Because Elijah was a popular figure in medieval tales, and because his name was borne by a few early saints (who are usually known by the Latin form Elias), the name came into general use during the Middle Ages. In medieval England it was usually spelled Elis. It died out there by the 16th century, but it was revived by the Puritans in the form Elijah after the Protestant Reformation. The name became popular during the 1990s and 2000s, especially in America where it broke into the top ten in 2016.
After the Protestant Reformation it was occasionally used as a given name in the English-speaking world, and it became somewhat common in America due to the fame of the revolutionary Ethan Allen (1738-1789). It only became popular towards the end of the 20th century. It is the name of the main character in Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome (1911), about a man in love with his wife's cousin.
This name was popular throughout the English-speaking world in the early 20th century. It staged a comeback in the early 21st century, returning to the American top ten in 2017.
This name has been used in England since the 13th century, though it became more common in Scotland where it was borne by several kings. In the 17th century the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne, becoming the first ruler of all Britain, and the name grew much more popular. In American name statistics (recorded since 1880) this name has never been out of the top 20, making it arguably the era's most consistently popular name. It was the top ranked name for boys in the United States from 1940 to 1952.
Famous bearers include the English explorer Captain James Cook (1728-1779), the Scottish inventor James Watt (1736-1819), and the Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941). This name has also been borne by six American presidents. A notable fictional bearer is the British spy James Bond, created by author Ian Fleming.
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.
Due to the saint's renown, the name became common in the Christian world (in various spellings). As an English name, Luke has been in use since the 12th century alongside the Latin form Lucas. Both forms became popular throughout the English-speaking world towards the end of the 20th century. A famous fictional bearer was the hero Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars movies, beginning in 1977.
It has been used as a Christian given name in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Nathan Hale (1755-1776), an American spy executed by the British during the American Revolution.
In England and elsewhere in Europe during the Middle Ages this name was used in honour of the saint. However, it was not generally given in Ireland before the 17th century because it was considered too sacred for everyday use. It has since become very common there.
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 the United States this name steadily grew in popularity through the 1950s and 60s. It shot up the charts after the release of the 1970 movie Ryan's Daughter. Within a few years it was in the top 20 names, where it would stay for over three decades. Famous bearers include the Canadian actors Ryan Reynolds (1976-) and Ryan Gosling (1980-).
Very rare as an American given name before 1980, it increased in popularity in the 1980s and 90s. It got a boost in 2004 after the debut of the television series Lost, which featured a character by this name.
This name was brought to public attention after actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt gave it to their daughter in 2006.
In the New Testament Simon is the name of several characters, including the man who carried the cross for Jesus. Most importantly however it was borne by the leading apostle Simon, also known as Peter (a name given to him by Jesus).
Because of the apostle, this name has been common in the Christian world. In England it was popular during the Middle Ages, though it became more rare after the Protestant Reformation.