Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

The name Jennifer comes from Guinevere, who in Arthurian legend was King Arthur's famous love and queen. So its roots are primarily in Celtic, Cornish, Welsh and English usage; the Welsh spelling is Gwenhwyfar. It's said to mean "fair one," "fair and yielding," or "white wave." Other traditionally feminine names meaning "fair" include Alba, Bela, Candace, Christabel, Effie, Fiona, Fianna, Glenda, Gwendolyn, Ingrid, Ivory, Jenna, Neva, Nola, and Whitney. Other Arthurian names for girls are Avalon, Anna, Blanche, Caelia, Elaine, Enid, Evaine, Helaine, Isolde, Morgan, and Olwen.

Jennifer started skyrocketing in popularity in the U.S. in the 1940s, reaching #10 in 1966 and #1 in 1970. It remained at #1 for more than a decade, only dropping to #3 in 1985, #4 in 1986-7, and then showing a steady decline ever since. In 2018, Jennifer was down to #345 for girls' names in the U.S. If you love that 1970s-name flair but don't want to go for the entire decade's #1 pick, you could name your baby the other top names of the '70s: Michelle, Amy, Kimberly, Lisa, Melissa, Angela, Heather, Stephanie, Nicole, or Jessica.

Famous Jennifers are pretty concentrated in the modern era, considering the name barely existed before 1950. Notable artists include Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Morrison, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jennifer Tilly, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Coolidge, Jennifer Connelly, and Jennifer Pappas. One of the earliest recorded Jennifers is a character in George Bernard Shaw's 1906 play "The Doctor's Dilemma," and the nickname Jenny is most notable as Robin Wright's character in the film "Forrest Gump."

Jennifer in quotes:

"There are no regrets in life, just lessons." — Jennifer Aniston

"You get what you give. What you put into things is what you get out of them." — Jennifer Lopez

Search by a specific category

Or search by baby name