For me, this is the ultimate 80s name, the name I wanted for myself in seventh grade.
Our Baby Name of the Day is Amanda.
Of course, Amanda isn’t actually a creation of the Reagan years.
Back in the 400s, the future Saint Amandus was Bishop of Bordeaux. Amandus comes from the Latin “to be loved.” Amanda would be the feminine form, but there’s no record of it being used as a feminine name at that point.
There’s another Saint Amandus from France in the 600s, but again – no girls.
There’s an oft-repeated claim that Amanda first appears in the early 1200s in Warwickshire, England. This seems to come from researcher P.H. Reaney. I can’t find the original record, but it seems likely. Am- names had a good run, from Amabel, the forerunner of Annabelle, to Amice, Amy, Amelot, Amance, and more.
There’s a poetic reference from the thirteenth century. Guido Cavalcanti refers to Amanda of Toulouse – though it isn’t clear if the name was a poetic invention or a one in use at the time.
By the 1600s, the Latin word inspired the use of Amanda anew. Playwright Colley Cibber used it for a character in his 1696 “Love’s Last Shift.” His Amanda is virtuous and clever, too. She retains those traits in the sequel, written later that year.
Fast-forward to the nineteenth century, and Amanda was established. By the late 1800s, she appeared in the US Top 100.
The name faded in the first half of the twentieth century, though it didn’t disappear – Noel Coward’s heroine in his 1930 Private Lives answered to the name. It was also the name of Tennessee Williams’ troubled, match-making mama in 1944’s The Glass Menagerie.
Then Jane Russell wore the name in 1955 movie Foxfire, the same year that Amanda Blake – born Beverly Louise Neil – first appeared as the legendary Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke.
Amanda’s spark was lit, jumping from #416 in 1955 to #346 in 1956. The name climbed steadily through the 1960s, breaking into the US Top 100 in 1971.
Then along came Barry Manilow’s recording of “Mandy.” Fun fact: Mandy was originally titled Brandy – only another song titled Brandy had recently topped the charts. The song became a #1 hit in the US.
And the name? By 1975, Amanda ranked #14 in the US. From 1976 through 1995, she was a Top Ten favorite, peaking at #2 in 1980.
Other 1980s references include:
- Boston’s chart-topping single by the name.
- Dynasty’s Amanda Carrington.
- In 1987, Leah Thompson played Amanda Jones in the John Hughes flick Some Kind of Wonderful.
Melrose Place was a 1990s staple, but it featured 80s television favorite Heather Locklear as legendary advertising exec Amanda Woodward.
Tons of women were given the name, and you’ve heard of plenty of them, especially actresses – from Seyfriend to Plummer to Moore. Athletes, too, like Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Amanda Beard come to mind.
By 2013, Amanda had fallen to a frosty #298. And nickname Mandy was out of the Top 1000 entirely.
And yet, I think there’s a case to consider Amanda timeless – with her great meaning, long history of use, and similarity to stylish choices like Amelia, why wouldn’t Amanda wear well in 2014?
What do you think of Amanda – is she a classic with literary ties, or a dated name due for a long rest?
My sister is Amanda, called Mandy. Born in 1975. Named for Amanda Blake that played Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke. I love the name very much, it is one of my confirmation names and a top baby name contender!
My young sister is an Amanda. Born in 1986. So Top 3. My name has never been in the Top Thousand.
I like it a lot actually. I think of all the ’80s names, it’s one of the good ones. I was bitter as a kid though that either hers needed to be Artemesia, or mine needed to be Jennifer, but this was terribly, terribly unfair.
I really like Amanda, but I didn’t grow up with any. Although I wasn’t really a fan of it when it was first released, I’ve come to love the song by Boston. 😀 I find it has a little more gravitas than the also-popular Amy, but is still very feminine.
Amanda will be one of those names that comes back into vogue for sure, probably once it’s a granny name. It has the same appeal as many of the granny names that are now in revival, like Charlotte and Emily. I wonder whether Amandine will ever get popular in the US – it had a bit of a boost in France in recent history.
Yes, and John Malkovitch has a daughter named Amandine!
I was Amanda M as well!! I was born right in the middle of the 80’s so I can relate. I have grown to like my name, and I can see how it could wear well in 2014, however, I think it still feels far too popular to the current generation having babies so I don’t see it coming back into more common use for another generation.
I don’t see our name coming back any time soon either. It’s still a better name than those -ayden names or Nevaeh or Addison, or Mackenzie (or any variation of those) or any of the trendy/respelled, or over the top crazy names out there.
My real first name is Amanda (I got my nickname from my middle name Lynn) and I’ve never been a fan of it at all. It was #3 in my birth year 1986, so I always felt it was too common and trendy and I always had at least 1 or 2 other Amanda’s in my class (at one time, there were 4, including me). Every time someone called my name, the other girls would answer too. Confusing. lol The teachers referred to us as Amanda M. (me), Amanda S., Amanda O., and so on, or we used nicknames.
I was born in 1973, so Amanda was just catching on – actually, about to catch fire! Still, there was only one Amanda in my class – I think in my school, actually.
By the 80s, yes – everywhere! And now the photographer we regularly use for family pics is an Amanda – but then again, she’s the only one that comes to mind immediately.
Jessica was the same. I knew one in high school, and I know one my age and have met tons my age, but it wasn’t everywhere until a few more years.
Funny how that works – how a name can be so popular, and yet you don’t know anyone with that name …
I knew a ton of Jessica’s. I lost count of how many. Same with Jennifer, Nicole, Ashley, and Christina/Kristina (and one Krystyna).
Kimberly was popular too, though like you mentioned, it’s funny I didn’t know too many with that name given its popularity, except my maternal grandmother’s late friend’s granddaughter (her half-sister/cousin, one of my closest friends in Elementary school was named Rachel) and maybe a classmate or two here and there. I used to call myself Kimberly when I was like 7 until I was 9 or 10 years old because of the Power Ranger and because I didn’t hear it as much as my own name. lol