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Nancy is a traditionally feminine name meaning "favor," or "grace." It has Hebrew and French roots and was introduced to England in the 1200s as a nickname for Anne or Ancy (the latter itself being a nickname for Annis, a Medieval English version of Agnes). Some say the name Nancy actually began as a contraction of "mine Ancy."

However it began, it has long been popular in the United States since at least the 1800s. It dropped off a bit in the early 20th century and rose to its peak from 1934 to 1955 — more than 20 years in which Nancy was in the top 10 names for American girls. It declined in popularity from there, reaching its least popular year on record in 2016, when Nancy was the 900th most popular girls' name in the U.S. Surprisingly, it's on the rise again ever since, climbing more than 50 slots by 2018. It's a similar trend we've seen with other "Grandma names" from the early- to mid-20th century; Mabel, Agnes, Edna, Etta, Ingrid, Lucy, Esme, and Iris are all regaining their popularity generations later, while mid- to late-20th century names (Debbie, Linda, Karen, Susan) are still awaiting their resurgence.

Other girls' names meaning "grace" include Amara, Anita, Anne, Carissa, Ivanka, Gianna, Jean, Roseanne, Shauna, Sheena, and of course Grace. Or, if you like Nancy but want to branch out, stick with "N" names like Nan, Nanette, Nina, Noreena (which also means "grace"), Natalie, Natasha, Nia, Nala, Nylah, Naomi, or Noelle.

Famous Nancys (Nancies?) in history and pop culture include Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Reagan, Nancy Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Nancy Cartwright, Nancy Astor, Nancy Mitford, Nan Golden, Nancy Kerrigan, and Nancy Lopez.

Nancy in quotes:

"Let's just do what is right for the American people. And those of us who are involved in politics and government know that our responsibility is to the American people, that we have a responsibility to find our common ground, to seek it and to find it." — Nancy Pelosi

"There's a big, wonderful world out there for you. It belongs to you. It's exciting and stimulating and rewarding. Don't cheat yourselves out of this promise." — Nancy Reagan

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