Jennifer: Meaning, Popularity, Origin of Baby Name Jennifer


Pronunciation: JEH-nə-fer (key)

Origin of the name Jennifer:

Cornish derivation of Guinevere, which is from the Welsh Gwenhwyfar (fair lady). Until the 20th century, Jennifer was largely a regional name. Now, however, it has become one of the most popular names in the English-speaking world.

From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.

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US Popularity of Jennifer Over Time

Sister & Brother Names

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Comments and insights on the name Jennifer: | Edit

This is my best friend's name and when we were little, while all the other girls with the same name as her were going by Jenn, Jen, or Jenny, she just went by Jennifer which made her a little more unique because all the other 'Jennifers' we knew didn't go by their full name.

For more stories about women with the name "Jennifer," please visit The Jennifer Project blog: You can share your story there, too! Thanks! -- Jennifer K

When you are a 'Jennifer' you will always be known by your first and last name, never just 'Jennifer'.

This isn't so true anymore, maybe if you were growing up ten or twenty years ago.

My father claims that just before I was born (NYC, 1968), there was a television commercial for Reingold beer that showed a young couple rowing in Central Park, drinking a Rheingold and trying to come up with a name for their new baby. The name they agree upon is Jennifer. My father believes this is the reason for the sudden spike in baby girls named "Jennifer" in the New York area in 1968. Has anyone else heard this story?

I was born in May of 1973, my mother told me that the movie "Love Story" with Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neal had come out in Dec 1970 - and that is why so many girls of that era are named Jennifer. Pretty popular, tissue box movie...women loved it. - Jennifer C

My mother got my name from "Love Story" too! - Jennifer H

There was also a popular song by Donovan, "Jennifer Juniper", which came out in 1967, not too long before "Love Story".

I was born in 1972. My parents thought that I was going to be a boy so did not have a girl's name picked out. A day or so after I was born my dad saw a Gerber commercial with a little girl named Jenny Rebecca, so I was named Jennifer Rebecca. I have always known lots of other Jennifers around my age.

I was born as Jennifer in 1966 and have generally been the oldest Jennifer in the crowd. Most seem to be a few years younger coinciding with the popularity of Love Story. My parents feel they THOUGHT they were being unique... I have a sister Jessica who is also a few years older than the "explosion" of Jessicas in the '80's. Oh well for uniqueness.

My dad wanted to name me Barbara Jean- thank GOD my mom won that battle! I go by Jenn (was called Jenny growing up- gag!) but Jennifer's fine too- seems like a mouthful for most people though.

There were two Jennifers on my block growing up and I got to be "Big Jen" because I was the oldest. When I was a sophomore in high school one of the neighborhood kids was a freshman. Excited to see someone she knew on her first day she screamed across the quad at me: "Hi Big Jen!" My sophomore cool self just about died of embarrassment.

I was born in 1969 and the musical Camelot had been very popular that decade. My mother wanted to name me Guinevere but decided Jennifer was more modern. I went by Jenni in high school and now mostly by Jen. I like having a flexible name.

I was born in 1990 and I've always known AT LEAST 3 other Jennifers all of whom went by Jen, Jenn, or Jenny. Don't get me wrong I love being "Jen" but its kind of annoying when everyone else is too, and its really hard to outgrow Jenny which starts to sound really juvenile in college.

Personal experiences with the name Jennifer: | Edit

When I went to the public library growing up, if I forgot my card, I could tell the librarian that I was the seventh Jennifer on their computer screen with my last name.

Every Jennifer I met growing up was nasty, so it really put me off the name. (Sorry to all you nice ones out there!)

I've met only one nasty Jennifer, and I've met plenty of Jennifers!

In my grade school class of 24 kids, 5 were named Jennifer. For our kids, it will probably be a name that sounds like someone's mom.

I was born in 1964 and was named Jennifer. My mother loved the name but my father hated it and never called me by my name. All through school (elementary and high school) there were always a lot of Jennifers in my classes. Even after going out into the working world, there has always been AT LEAST one other Jennifer in my office. One office I worked in there were three of us so we had to go by Jenny, Jen and Jenn. When I had my daughter I named her Alexandra since we loved the name and didn't hear it too often. There has hardly been any other Alexandras in her schools but there have been several Alexanders.

I was born in 1981, and while the name was still popular, there were never any other Jennifers in my classes- I think I made it to college before finding another and even then, there weren't many of us. Ironically, at my last job, there were 3 Jennifers and we all sat w/in 8 feet of one another. One was Jennifer, one Jen, and one Jenn (me). Got a little crazy when someone would call out for us- we'd all turn and look.

I was named Jennifer in 1984 and when I was a senior in high school there were 6 other people that shared my name. In one class. Including the teacher!

Directly following the above note, my daughter is named Jennifer (born 2001). The irony with her name began with the fact that I wanted her to have a mainstream name. I detest parents that feel they must give their child a name that makes them stand out and be original. First, children want nothing more than to fit in. Second, a child should stand out based upon character, not their name. The irony here is that in her school, there were no other Jennifers in the second grade, and I have yet to meet one at all in the primary school. So the names like Tenley and Caitlan are common place and Jennifer is the unique one.

My sister is called Jennifer, she prefers Jen. Sometimes our family call her Jennifart- Ha!

My mother's name is Jennifer. She absolutely haaaaatttttessss her name but I think it is a cute, sweet name. I like the nickname Jen, too. When she was little she went by Jenny. I think that is so cute! Every Jen I've known has been extremely sweet and very pretty. <3

-My mother's name is Jennifer, she doesn't mind her name, but she doesn't really like how common it is for her age group. she does wish that she had been named Guinevere, since Jennifer is derived from it. for a while she went by Jennifer Lee, which was her middle name, sometimes Jenny Lee, which I really like. in all of my years of school I have never met a fellow student named Jennifer, but I have met plenty of teachers and mothers named Jennifer. So this name would be good if you wanted an uncommon name with the age group, but not a truly bizarre uncommon name that no one has. it also has a lot of nicknames. my mom is a leader in the La Leche League and in her group there are 3 other leaders named Jennifer, one goes by Jenn, one goes by Jenni, one goes by Jennifer and my mother got the short end of the stick and goes by JJ ( her middle initial is J, after she got married she legally changed her middle name to her maiden name Jaffee)

Nicknames for Jennifer: | Edit

Yen Yen

Meanings and history of the name Jennifer: | Edit

Jennifer joined the USA top 1000 names in 1938. It rose until in 1970 it was the #1 name in USA, it held that place until 1985 and has been in decline ever since. In 2006 it was the 51st most popular name in America.

White; fair-skinned; smooth (Cornish, Welsh).

Famous real-life people named Jennifer: | Edit

Jenn McAllister- American internet personality (
Jennifer Aniston - American actress
Jennifer Lopez - American singer/actress
Jennifer Love Hewitt - American actress
Jennifer Lawrence - American actress
Jennifer Hudson - American singer
Jennifer Garner - American actress
Jennifer Connelly - American actress
Jennifer Beals - American actress
Jennifer Morrison - American actress
Jennifer Grey - American Actress
Jennifer Hawkins- Miss universe 2004 and Miss Australia 2004, model, T.V Presenter and coreographer
Jennifer Dannielle duggar Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

Jennifer in song, story & screen: | Edit

Jennifer Shepard, late Director on NCIS
Jennifer Cavilleri, female lead role in "Love Story"
Jenny, Forrest's lifelong love interest, in the movie "Forrest Gump"
"Jenny Brown" 1964 song by the Smothers Brothers
"Jenny Take a Ride" 1965 song Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
"Jenny Rebecca" -song covered by Barbra Streisand, Olivia Newton-John and others
Jennifer Joy (and Zachary Zugg), song from "Free to Be You and Me"
"867-5309 (Jenny)",Tommy Tutone's catchy 1980s hit song
"Jennifer Juniper", 1968 hit song by Donovan. It was written about Jenny Boyd, sister of model and Beatle wife Pattie Boyd, who herself was the inspiration for Eric Clapton's song "Layla".
"Jennifer Eccles", song by The Holllies (released about the same time as Donovan's hit in '68 but less well known)
"Waltz for Jennifer", 2003 song by FFH (CCM group)
"Jenny from the Block", Jennifer Lopez' signature song
"27 Jennifers", song by Mike Doughty (beginning: "I went to school with 27 Jennifers / Sixteen Jens, ten Jennys and then there was her...")
"Jennifer Fever -- Older Men, Younger Women", 1988 book by Barbara Gordon on the menace of pretty young women. Referred to collectively here as "Jennifers", they are the ones for whom older men leave their wives, the "Janets."
"Portrait of Jennie", 1948 tearjerker/fantasy with Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten
"Jennifer's Rabbit", song by Tom Paxton
Jennifer Walters, real name of She-Hulk in Marvel comics
Jennifer Schecter, The L Word main character, played by Mia Kirshner
Jennifer Jareau "jj", Criminal Minds character played by A.J Cook

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